Wednesday 20 February 2019

The art of positive self-talk

Self-depreciation is the default setting for most of us. We see only the negatives or areas for improvement, rather than our many qualities and skills.

Ironically, when we see this same behaviour in others, we criticise them for it: "If only she didn’t put herself down so much", we say, or "why can’t he see what a great catch he is".

The fact is, most of us are humble people. Bragging and blowing our own trumpet does not come easily. And that’s fine – arrogance is not a good quality – however, what we could all do with is some positive self-talk. It’s time to reassure ourselves of our own abilities and recognise the progress we’re making.

Positive self-talk makes us feel good about ourselves and can push us to perform even better – fulfilling our true potential. It’s the optimistic voice on our shoulder that fosters our self-belief and drives us to do bigger, better things with our lives.

On the flip side, negative self-talk, brings us down. It dampens our enthusiasm and stifles our performance. It doesn’t rejoice in our successes, rather focuses on what we didn’t do, or where we could have improved.

All of us could benefit from more positive self-talk in our lives. When it comes to how to do it, this article from Psychology Today suggests that using the third person in self-talk can help you step back and think more objectively about our responses and emotions. It can also help you reduce stress and anxiety.

All too often, our inner voice is predominately negative. We tend to remember the negative comments from our childhood and school days. The problem with negative comments is that they can become self-fulfilling. We replay them over and over to the point that we believe them to be true.

The sad truth is that we are often much harder on ourselves than we would ever be on other people. It takes a lot of positive self-talk to override our negative conditioning, but it can be done. Look at this article from Psychcentral for some examples of the things positive people tell themselves.

As a bare minimum, we should aim not to say anything to ourselves that we wouldn’t say to other people. Let’s afford ourselves the same respect and self-restraint that we would direct towards others.

Positive self-talk will not stop us from messing up from time to time. We all make mistakes. Positive self-talk is not about brushing over the negative or challenging events that happen in our life, it is about looking at what happens to us with a constructive eye, and with a realistic perspective. It’s about recognising the truth in situations and looking at how we can learn from our mistakes to help us grow in to better human beings. To expect perfection in yourself - or anyone else - is unrealistic. So let’s try to be kind to ourselves - always!

Wednesday 6 February 2019

How to identify your bad habits at work and sort them out

Have you ever wondered why it’s so easy to find fault in others yet we seldom take the time to review our own working practices? Nobody is perfect, that’s true. It is only by recognising and acknowledging our own failings at work that we can start to do something about addressing them.

We’re not talking about the big things either – like the kind of development issues that should feature on your annual training plans for example – we’re looking at the annoying little habits that have crept into your work routines. The behaviours that are likely infuriating your co-workers and stopping you from achieving your full potential.

We take a look at some of the most common bad habits at work – and what we can do to nip them in the bud.

(Not) ready for anything
Do you pride yourself on getting through each working day by the seat of your pants? Do you consider yourself an expert at winging it in team meetings? Being unprepared is unavoidable at times – but managers and co-workers can easily see through colleagues who do not take the time to organise themselves. They don’t think you’re too busy, they take it as a sign that you don’t value what you are doing. Our top tip is to plan as much time into your diary to prepare as you will spend at the meeting itself. If you find time management an issue, there are lots of resources you can use to help you. Read these tips from Psychology Today, which  are designed for home-workers but apply equally to people who are office based.

Too late!
There’s always that one co-worker who never arrives on time! We’re all busy people – so if this is you, perhaps it’s time to think about two things: 1) the impact your tardiness has on your team mates (why are you so special that everyone must wait for you?) and 2) what is it that makes you late? This article from Psychology Today suggests that often it is through the fear of wasting time – unfortunately, the impression that constant lateness makes is the exact opposite: that you couldn’t care less about the meeting – or your job and colleagues.


Loose lips

It’s great to get to know your colleagues and co-workers on a social level, it really helps to develop a collaborative and constructive team environment. However, if you find your chitter chatter usually involves talking about the people that you work with, then you need to do something about it. Although fun at the time, gossiping can make you look untrustworthy, not only that it also wastes a lot of valuable time, which others can resent. Try to make all your chatter constructive and work-related, keep away from the personal stuff – that’s best left for the pub!

Dream on

Every team needs a dreamer – they’re the ones who keep others motivated by reminding us all of what is possible and the dizzy heights we can all aspire to. Daydreamers are the ideas people, they are creative and help us to solve problems. However, daydreaming can also be a sign of someone who isn’t fully committed to their job, or their employer. If you like to let your mind wonder, do it constructively – and set yourself a timer, so that your full day isn’t ‘wasted’ looking up to the stars while the everyday toil gets neglected.

These are just a few of the most common bad habits people display at work. What would you add? We’d welcome your comments!