Finding Confidence In Our Lives

American philosopher and psychologist William James once said that, “Most people live in a restricted circle of potential.” Although he made this observation over a century ago, it still holds true today. When it comes to fulfilling our potential, it’s often not a lack of resources, opportunity or intelligence, but a lack of self-confidence. We often become our own worst enemy when we continually doubt ourselves and listen to the self-defeating voices in our head.

Many of us mistakenly believe that confidence is something certain lucky people are born with and the rest of us are just futilely trying to find it. But confidence is simply the outcomes of our own thoughts and actions. It’s the belief in our ability to succeed at a task. For example:

  • Our belief that we can give a speech in front of an audience
  • Our belief that we can exit an unhealthy relationship and find one more fulfilling
  • Our belief that we can change career paths or start a business

You get the picture. Our brain tells us a lot – some of it’s true, but a lot of it isn’t. It’s those untrue, self-defeating thoughts that hold us back from taking the steps necessary for meaningful change. On the flipside, self-confidence gives us the courage to break out of our comfort zone and face fears head-on.

The Benefits of Self-Confidence

There’s no doubt about it – having confidence in ourselves feels good! However, there are many other benefits that confidence brings to our lives. Here’s a look at a few:

  • More resilience: Resilience is the ability to cope with and recover from setbacks. Higher levels of self-confidence enhance your resiliency and help you bounce back from life’s challenges.
  • Healthier relationships: When you have confidence in yourself, it helps you better understand and care for others. It also helps you identify relationships that aren’t healthy and gives you the strength to move on.
  • Better performance: Many of us waste our time worrying that we’re not good enough. Self-confidence doesn’t mean you’re not going to make mistakes or even fail, but it will help you devote your energy to what matters instead of self-deprecating thoughts. And that translates to better performance no matter what task is in front of you.
  • Willingness to try new things: Whether you want to sign up for a class, learn a new skill or tackle that half marathon, self-confidence makes you more willing to try new things and put yourself out there.

We can all relate to the ebb and flow of confidence throughout our lives. Even if you’ve spent years doubting your abilities and feeling like you can’t take the steps to break out of self-defeating beliefs, it’s never too late to change course. Working with a coach, like Leah M Joppy and Associates, can put you on the right path towards greater self-confidence. You’ll learn why you’re stuck in a pattern of negative thoughts, how you can break the cycle, tools you can use to bring lasting change and so much more.

Contact us today at 301-670-0051 or email and let’s squash those negative thoughts and enhance your life through strengthened confidence!


The Role Of Confidence In The Workplace

According to a survey by the job site Indeed, 94% of employees said that confidence is vital to complete daily tasks at work and believe it’s a major contributor to overall career growth. In addition, 98% of those surveyed said they perform better when they feel more confident. These numbers aren’t exactly surprising, but they do highlight the importance that self-confidence plays in the workplace. As we mentioned in our last article, the good news is that confidence isn’t something you’re born with, but something we can all build, practice and reinforce!

We all want to feel confident at work, but often, it feels like there are forces beyond our control. Maybe you’re new to a job or career path and are terrified of making mistakes. Perhaps you feel like you’re underqualified in a leadership role and don’t have what it takes to build a successful team. Or maybe you’ve always been really hard on yourself and constantly question whether you have what it takes to succeed. Whatever the case, these self-defeating thoughts aren’t doing you any favors and can hold you back from promotions, management roles and more. Self-confidence in the workplace has so many positives, including better communication skills, increased ability to handle feedback and conflict, greater happiness and a decrease in comparing yourself to others.

So, what does confidence in the workplace look like? Not everyone expresses self-confidence in the same way, but there are some common traits that confident people possess. Here’s a few:

  • They don’t seek validation from others
  • They don’t worry about things outside of their control
  • They aren’t afraid to ask for help
  • They’re decisive and assertive
  • They recognize when they make a mistake
  • Their verbal cues match their non-verbal cues (they’re genuine and sincere!)
  • They appear confident through their eye contact, dress, body language, etc.

How many do you see in yourself?

Think of the times you’ve let self-doubt seep into your mind. Remember the worry, the sleepless nights, the doubts that you really deserve that promotion you’ve been working for. If you feel like your lack of self-confidence is holding you back in your career, Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help you squash those self-defeating patterns. We’ll work together to look at your goals and aspirations, where self-confidence plays a role, what’s holding you back and tools that you can use to make positive changes.

Call us at 301-670-0051 or email and let’s start the journey towards greater self-confidence together.

Burnout For Individuals

We all have days when we feel overwhelmed, unappreciated or helpless. Sometimes just getting out of bed and facing the workday can feel like an impossible task. However, if you feel like this most of the time, you might be dealing with more than you think. You could be suffering from burnout, a gradual process with subtle signs and symptoms that worsen over time.

We hear the term “burnout” all the time, but most of us think it’s just another name for stress and all of the challenges that come with it. But there is a distinct difference. Stress is having too much on your plate (too many responsibilities, work to handle, etc.), but burnout is the opposite. With burnout, you may feel like you don’t have enough, as in not enough energy or not enough motivation. It feels like you’ve run out of gas and completing even small tasks can seem like an impossible feat. Burnout has become a chronic issue in the workplace, so much so that in 2019, the World Health Organization classified it as an “occupational phenomenon.” And this was before the pandemic.

When we’re going through the day-to-day of life, often we don’t feel like we have time to step back and assess our overall mental health. We just keep pushing through to get it all done. But burnout is sneaky. What starts as a few “bad days” or weeks can result in something far more serious. Burnout can affect every aspect of a person’s life from emotional to physical and behavioral. Below, we’ve broken down the signs and symptoms of each:

Emotional Symptoms

  • Feeling hopeless and trapped
  • Experiencing loss of motivation
  • Having an increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Feeling like a failure and experiencing self-doubt and lack of accomplishment

Physical Symptoms

  • Feeling drained and tired the majority of the time
  • Experiencing frequent headaches and muscle aches
  • Dealing with changes in appetite and sleep habits

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Taking frustrations out on others
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities and isolating from other people
  • Using food, drugs or alcohol to cope
  • Continually procrastinating or taking longer than usual to get things done

Burnout not only leads to issues in the workplace, but spills over into every area of life, including home and social life. But when you’re in the midst of burnout, taking the first step towards a solution can feel almost impossible. That’s where working with a coach, like Leah M Joppy and Associates, can be a vital source of healing. We get to know you and the root causes of what’s leading to burnout. We can then help you build habits that lead to improved sleep and relaxation, help you find your motivation again and build that essential work/life balance that’s missing in so many of our lives.

Don’t put yourself on the backburner and let burnout sneak up and take control of your life. Contact Leah M Joppy and Associates at 301-670-0051 or email to learn how we can help.


Burnout For Organizations

Burnout. It’s something no one wants to feel and it’s an issue that no organization wants to experience. But increased levels of employee burnout are becoming more common across every industry and not just the ones we think of most, like healthcare and teaching. Many organizations think of burnout as an “individual problem,” solvable by an employee just taking the afternoon off or practicing some breathing techniques. Wrong! It affects your organization at every level and has a negative impact by decreasing morale and increasing turnover.

According to the World Health Organization, burnout is a syndrome resulting from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It’s characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings or negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy (World Health Organization, 2019). It’s incredibly costly for organizations. Consider these statistics: according to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey of nearly 1,500 U.S. workers, 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress in the month before the survey. Nearly 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or energy (26%) and lack of effort at work (19%). Meanwhile, 36% reported cognitive weariness, 32% reported emotional exhaustion, and 44% reported physical fatigue—a 38% increase since 2019.

It’s important to train managers to recognize the signs of burnout in team members and have a comprehensive plan in place to address underlying issues. Symptoms of burnout include:

  • Decreased engagement and enthusiasm in work
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Decreased productivity
  • Isolation
  • Higher sensitivity to feedback

Employee burnout is one the most pressing challenges that organizations face today. Leaders need to know the prominent signs (as we outlined above) and how to work with team members on solutions that have a lasting impact. It’s no small task, but in the end, it’s a win-win for everyone. Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help your organization face any workforce burnout issues head-on before they become major problems. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email and let’s discuss your needs.

Controlling Stress By Practicing Mindfulness

We are all dealing with different stressors in our lives right now. Work responsibilities, balancing career and family, health concerns – the list seems to go on and on. Now that we’ve started a New Year, many of us are looking for ways to reduce anxiety and feel a sense of calm and balance in our day-to-day lives. You’ve probably heard the term “mindfulness” thrown around and wondered if it really works or is just another buzzword or fad. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness reduces activity in the part of your brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is central to switching on your stress response, so by practicing mindfulness, you’re reducing your background level of stress. And who doesn’t need a little of that right now?

So, what exactly is mindfulness and how can it help during times of difficulty, as well as everyday life? Jon Kabat-Zinn, psychologist and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.” In short, to be mindful is to be purposeful about where you direct your attention. Instead of letting your thoughts run wild, you take a step back and become intentional about where you put your focus.

Here a few of the benefits of practicing mindfulness:

  • Physical and Emotional Health: According to research, practicing mindfulness regularly can help manage anxiety. It also complements medical and psychological treatments and can help reduce pain and symptoms of conditions such as depression, high blood pressure and addiction.
  • Emotional and Cognitive Regulation: A regular mindfulness practice has been shown to increase focus and help with memory and problem-solving abilities. It can also improve the brain’s capacity for decision-making.
  • Happiness and Joy: By practicing mindfulness, you’ll find it easier to take a few deep breaths and respond in a more patient and thoughtful way to challenging situations or people. You’ll begin to slow down during particularly difficult parts of your day and not react to problems hastily. It also helps you tune in to pleasant experiences that are around you, even during times of stress.

Mindfulness takes practice, but the effort is well worth the reward! In our next article, we’ll take a look at some simple ways to start a mindfulness practice. Leah M Joppy and Associates has conducted many seminars focusing on strategies we can all use to get through life’s challenges. We can tailor a seminar that focuses on mindfulness practices, stress reduction and more. How can we help you? Call us at 301-670-0051 or email to learn more.

How Can I Begin A Mindfulness Routine?

Mindfulness is such a popular topic these days, but promising new research has shown how practicing mindfulness can be a powerful and effective treatment for anxiety. In a new clinical trial from Georgetown University Medical Center, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) was shown to be as effective as escitalopram (Lexapro), a commonly used antidepressant, in treating anxiety disorders in some people. Mindfulness is an effective method to bring people back to the present through breath and body awareness. It can help better regulate the body’s response to stressful, negative thoughts and rewire how a person relates to anxiety. The big question many have is: how do I get started?

Here are a few simple ways to begin a mindfulness routine:

  • Pay attention to your breath: Noticing your breath is a vital starting point for any mindfulness practice. Set a timer for three minutes and turn your attention to the physical sensation of your breath (don’t manipulate or control your breathing, just focus on your normal breath). When you find yourself getting distracted, as we all do, redirect and refocus.
  • Do a body scan: Body scanning is placing your attention on one body part at a time (for example, the soles of your feet) and then pausing to explore any sensations or feelings in that area. Then, shift your attention to another part of your body. Pause there and move on to another area. For a full body scan, you may want to start at your head and work your way down to your feet.
  • Listen to the world around you: Mindfulness also involves turning your attention outward in addition to inward. Set a timer for five minutes and tune into the sounds around you (traffic noise, birds singing, etc). Close your eyes and hear what’s coming and going. Listen to the tone and volume.
  • Take a mindfulness walk: As you walk, pay attention to the sensations of your body. How do your feet feel? Notice how your arms swing as you walk. Become more aware of your surroundings and notice the sights, sounds and smells. It’s really about opening up your senses and not walking on auto-pilot.

Distraction is normal during mindfulness, so don’t beat yourself up if you find your mind wandering during your practice. Refocusing your mind when you get distracted is the equivalent of what mindfulness practitioners call “mental pushups”. Don’t give up – with time, your ability to focus will get stronger.

Like exercise, meditation takes practice. Many of us may feel like we can’t block off a chunk of time in our already busy schedules, but even just five to ten minutes of mindfulness a day can make an enormous impact on our well-being. Are you interested in learning more about mindfulness and how it can benefit you? Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email to learn more.

Psychological Safety

Did you ever have an experience in the workplace that didn’t sit right with you? If so, did you feel comfortable speaking up? Perhaps you had an idea about how to improve something within your organization. Did you feel confident sharing it or did you think “why bother” and keep it to yourself? Turns out, the level of psychological safety within your office often dictates the answer to these questions and the overall culture of an organization.

As I mentioned in past articles, I have recently completed a certification from Cornell University on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The course, taught by Professor Nishii, tackles the issue of employee engagement and its three components. So far, we’ve examined psychological availability and psychological meaningfulness. This month, we’ll look at the third component: psychological safety.

What Is Psychological Safety?

Organizational psychologist William Kahn, author of the 1990 study “Physical Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work”, defined psychological safety as “being able to employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences to self-image, status and career”. Harvard Business School professor, Amy Edmondson, brought the idea to the masses and described it as, “a climate where people feel safe enough to take interpersonal risks by speaking up and sharing concerns, questions or ideas.” The ultimate goal is a feeling of belonging and feeling heard. And it’s something every organization should prioritize.

Why Is Psychological Safety Important?

There are few things more frustrating for team members than having an idea, suggestion or question, but not feeling able to share it or feel like anyone is listening. It not only leads to disengagement, but lowered morale, productivity and ultimately, higher turnover. On the flipside, high levels of psychological safety have shown to improve decision-making and team dynamics. When people aren’t constantly concerned about saying “the wrong thing”, organizations see greater innovation and creativity.

According to Dr. Timothy Clark in his book “The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation”, the stages are as follows:

  • Stage 1 – Inclusion Safety: a feeling of connecting and belonging
  • Stage 2 – Learner Safety: feeling safe to learn, ask questions and experiment
  • Stage 3 – Contributor Safety: feeling safe to make a valuable contribution using your skills and gifts
  • Stage 4 – Challenger Safety: feeling safe enough to challenge the status quo when you see an opportunity for change or improvement

How would you rate the level of psychological safety within your organization? Do team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas, questions and concerns or is there room for improvement? That’s where Leah M Joppy and Associates can step in and help. We can look at your current practices and help you craft new and innovative ways to communicate, problem-solve and engage with team members. This is particularly valuable for those who work from home and may feel more isolated and less engaged with day-to-day office life.

Let’s help create engagement in your organization via high levels of psychological safety. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at today.

Ideas for Improving Psychological Safety

Imagine a work environment where every team member feels comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas.

  • An environment where people feel like they can learn from their mistakes and not humiliated.
  • An environment where disagreements and open discussions are encouraged and not seen as a threat.

Perhaps you already work in an office like this and you probably feel grateful for it! However, if you’re like many, it could feel like a dream that will never come true. That’s because many organizations have difficulty developing and maintaining a strong sense of psychological safety for their team members. As we discussed in our last article, psychological safety is about being able to act and engage in a team without fear of negative consequences. It’s one of the strongest proven predictors of team effectiveness.

It takes great leadership and management to create psychological safety. But if you feel like it’s lacking in your organization, what are a few first steps you can take to improve it? Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Practice accountability and lead by example: Leaders set the tone for an organization and are responsible for the psychological safety of the workplace. Leaders should be approachable, be open to opinions that differ from their own and be willing to acknowledge their own mistakes (just to name a few).
  • Enhance communication skills: For example, ask team members directly for their thoughts and opinions. Encourage people to share by asking questions. Actively ask quieter individuals for their input. Also, practice active listening by leaving your phone on your desk during meetings and improving eye contact.
  • Hone conflict resolution skills: No one likes to deal with conflict, but when you’re leading a team, it’s inevitable. If a team member humiliates or undermines others or prevents team members from speaking up, leaders have to be ready to intervene. Just one or two negative people can really put a damper on overall company culture.
  • Foster open conversations with team members: It’s vital to pay attention to how your team operates. Do some people dominate during meetings? Are some more quiet and seem reluctant to participate? Make an effort to enable equal speaking time for everyone. A calm environment and perhaps some ice breakers are just a few ways to put everyone at ease. Team outings or even virtual hangouts can also provide an opportunity for team members to let their guard down and get to know each other better.

Saying you encourage your team to speak up and be candid is one thing, but creating a culture of trust is another. It takes care, consistency and a commitment to learning new behaviors, but the payoff is worth it! Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone.  Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help with fresh ideas and strategies to help you increase psychological safety within your organization. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at and let’s start 2023 off on a productive note!

Psychological Meaningfulness

Most of us spend the majority of our week at the office, yet how many of us find our job to be meaningful? It can feel like a pipe dream to find work that makes us feel fulfilled and motivated. And the numbers back this up: according to a study by Bates College and Gallup, over 80% of college-educated Americans aspire to meaningful work, yet less than 50% actually attain it. This isn’t good news for organizations, as a lack of employee engagement and perceived meaninglessness leads to decreased productivity, lower morale and greater turnover

I just recently completed a certification from Cornell University on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The course, taught by Professor Nishii, takes a deep dive into the issue of employee engagement and it’s three components. We examined psychological availability last month and this month we’re taking a look at the second component: psychological meaningfulness.

What Is Psychological Meaningfulness?

What do we mean by the term “psychological meaningfulness”? Organizational psychologist William Kahn, author of the 1990 study “Physical Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work”, defined it as “employees perceiving their role/task as meaningful, both to the organization and within the context of wider society, to justify their “full self” being deployed.” Team members feel motivated within their positions due to challenge, opportunities for autonomy and strong goals. They feel like they’re a part of something larger than themselves.

What Psychological Meaningfulness Looks Like – and Steps to Avoid

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to meaningful work. It differs from person to person and often changes as people age, go through periods of personal change and have various life experiences. But we can agree that once a sense of meaningfulness is found, it brings about a greater sense of pride and achievement, a feeling of fulfillment and a satisfaction in finding work that is absorbing and interesting. And while there’s no magic formula for creating meaningful positions, there are definite steps that organizations don’t want to take. Here are 6 of the most common mistakes:

  • Failing to recognize and appreciate team members’ contributions
  • Creating a disconnect between organization and personal values
  • Treating team members unfairly
  • Overriding team members’ judgment and making them feel disempowered
  • Creating a disconnect between team members
  • Putting team members in situations where they feel unsafe

Most organizations don’t know where to begin when it comes to helping their employees find more meaning in their positions and increase overall engagement. The typical “office perks” are often surface level and don’t delve into the root issues. That’s where Leah M Joppy and Associates can help. A fresh approach and perspective, combined with experience tackling all different types of employee disengagement issues is just what you need to start next year off on a positive note! Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at today.

Job Crafting: Redesigning Work

What makes a job meaningful? Helping others? Salary or other perks? Flexibility? A sense of autonomy? The answers are as varied as the team members in your organization. What we do know is that perceiving a job as meaningful can be the difference between employees staying and contributing their best work – or moving on to greener pastures. Our last article looked at why meaningful work matters, but what steps can organizations take to make it happen? Let’s take a look at one example: job crafting. It’s not a new idea, but one that’s getting more attention since the pandemic and resulting changes in the workplace.

What is job crafting? It’s about taking proactive steps and actions to redesign what team members do at work, essentially changing the tasks, relationships and perceptions of jobs. The main idea is that employees can stay in the same role, but get more meaning out of their jobs by simply changing what they do and the “whole point” behind it. Job crafting is creating positions that align with employees’ strengths, passions and motives.

Here’s an example: A marketing analyst spends her days examining data, researching and looking at trends. While she’s great at her job, she would really like to branch out and add some creative projects to her routine. So, she requests a meeting with the social media marketing manager at her organization to learn more about what he does and how she can incorporate her expertise to help on the creative side. Her boss works with her to help add more of these types of projects into her job.

Job crafting is broken down into three key types:

  • Task Crafting: Changing responsibilities. This is altering the type, scope, sequence or number of tasks that make up a job to improve it in some way. For example, a long-time team member could offer to mentor new employees. The marketing analyst example above also uses task crafting.
  • Relationship Crafting: Changing interactions. This is altering the people that employees typically interact with in a job. For example, leaders and team members can form new interdepartmental task forces.
  • Cognitive Crafting: Changing mindset. This is altering the way team members interpret the tasks they’re responsible for and focusing on how their efforts help the big picture of an organization. For example, call center workers can receive first-hand accounts of the people they’re helping and how their job impacts the lives of others.

It’s no surprise that job crafting has a multitude of benefits for organizations, including happier, more engaged employees, less turnover and enhanced performance. Whether you’re interested in learning more about job crafting or other methods to help team members find more meaning in their roles, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at and let’s start tackling any employee unengagement issues now!