21 November 2009

The Little Engine That Could...

Have you ever heard of negative and positive self talk? I just recently read an article on it and was surprised when I really paid attention to the messages I was sending myself that some of them were negative.

I know so many people who are great at what they do, but when I hear them talk about themselves they are very negative and keep telling me how they can't do it. When I look at them however, I see someone who really knows their job and I know they could do it if only they would forget about what they can’t do and concentrate on what they can do. I know that is easier said than done because low self esteem may be the roadblock. I found this link to the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale which has some questions we can ask ourselves to see where we are on the self esteem scale.

I wrote an article awhile back called Just Say Yes and in it I wrote that when I was in my 40s I decided to say Yes to things that I really wanted to do, but was letting fear stop me from trying. When someone asked me to speak or do something at work, I would say "Oh, I could never do that!" But when I turned 40 I told myself that I would regret not doing it if I didn't try and what was the worst thing that could happen anyway? So I started to say Yes and it was a real confidence booster. I started telling myself more positive messages and it empowered me to try. It also helps that I have had three really great bosses in the last decade who have encouraged me and helped me to see that I really could do it. They could see something in me, that I couldn't.

The next time a new challenge or opportunity comes up at work, pay attention to what you tell yourself -- are you being positive or negative? The little messages we send ourselves each day can have an impact on what we think about ourselves and how we perform in our jobs. If you keep telling yourself you can't do it, then of course you won't be able to, but if you say I don't know if I can, but I am going to try anyway, or I know I can do that because it was what I was trained for and then go ahead and do it, it will open all kinds of doors for you. (Or it also may be that you have negative people around you who do not help you to see the best that you can be, perhaps you need to have a heart to heart with your friends or find new ones).

Don’t let self doubt take over. Once you start doubting yourself, it is hard to bring yourself back up. Think about your strengths, not your weaknesses. I think everyone feels insecure at one time or another, but I find you can't let insecurity get the best of you. This is the time you need a lot of positive self talk. Ask your network of assistants for their opinion and feedback and then believe them!

I recently was at a friend’s place and her husband has an elaborate train set. He has the village all set up with the tracks running in and around it.  As I was looking at them, I was reminded of the story about the little engine that could. What a great story of encouragement to keep trying and not give up. Let’s take a lesson from that little engine...”I think I can, I think I can.” Now that’s positive self talk...

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