What Do You Say to Yourself at Work?

Kindness Organizational leadership Respect


Key Point: My last blog talked about love at work. People have often struggled with the “love” word when paired with the office. But work is life and love has a very real and desirable place in the real world. When we love someone, we don’t dwell on his or her mistakes. We help them learn from the consequences. And when they succeed, we feel great (abundant) about congratulating them. We encourage them when they’re struggling, and like that great phrase captured in Ken Blanchard’s classic The One Minute Manager; “we try to catch them doing things right.” When we feel loved, appreciated and cared for, we try harder, take more risks, work more collaboratively, and perform better. It would be ideal if ALL our managers and leaders treated us with love and respect. But before asking that of others, I feel that it’s important to ask it of us. I believe the more we love ourselves, the easier it is to express genuine love to others. In our heads and private thoughts, we may beat ourselves up way more than we should; something we would never do to someone we loved.

The question is how do we operationalize more self-love through self-talk? I’ve taken suggestions from Peter Bregman, a behavioral consultant and regular contributor to Harvard’s blog to give us some guidance. The character move below paraphrases his advice:

Character Move:

  1. Start by noticing your voice in your head. What do you hear when you catch yourself thinking about yourself? Do you sound like the leader you wish everyone would be? Or do you sound like that manager you once had (or still might have) that you dislike? Just paying attention will begin to change the way you speak to yourself.
  2. And changing the way you speak to yourself will change the way you feel about yourself. Act the way. Don’t reward negative behavior with attention by lingering on your failures. Instead, distract yourself by immediately getting busy doing something else. Learn but move forward ASAP!
  3. When you succeed, on the other hand, is a great time to pay attention. Take a minute to congratulate yourself. Let your good work reflect on you. Think about what you did that led to the success so you have a better chance of repeating it. Laugh with yourself. Enjoy yourself.
  4. At first, it might feel awkward. But feelings follow actions. Once you get the hang of it, you gain more confidence in yourself. You’ll start to take more pleasure in yourself. And if you’re not there already, you might just fall in love with yourself.
  5. At that point, what you find won’t look like arrogance. Arrogance is thinking you’re better than everyone else, which is often a protective mechanism born from insecurity when you don’t feel good about yourself. When you love yourself, you won’t need to feel better than anyone else, you’ll simply feel good about yourself. (This is where self-respect and abundance shake hands).
  6. Loving yourself won’t just influence the way you talk to yourself. Over time, it will influence the way you talk to the people around you. Which will positively impact your colleagues, your department, your organization, and everyone who comes into contact with your organization. In other words, if you stick with it, this little mental exercise will expand beyond just your head, and the whole world around you will start to feel the benefit.

Talk love to yourself in The Triangle ,