YOU ARE what you THINK
We all know the expression ‘You are what you think’ and nowhere is this more relevant than when you are in the workplace.
We all know how the way we think about a certain situation or meeting can often dictate the outcome! Walk in thinking you will walk away with that new client or next big contract and more often than not it will happen.
On the other hand, when you think you are going to FAIL, you have already started to lay the path to, yep you guessed it: FAILURE.
Look, I am not being negative. I just want to wake you up to how our thoughts have the ability to affect all areas of our life.
Think small - Act small
I recently worked with a client who was convinced she was unworthy at work and not deserving of the position she had worked so hard to achieve. Her workplace self-esteem was pretty low.
Every day was literally spent with her feeling like her high heels did not deserve to be under the meeting room table or even the coffee table come to think of it. You can imagine that over time these thoughts turn into some form of reality.
The reality is that thoughts very quickly turn to your outer behaviors and eventually affect how others view you in the office. This can then impact how you are treated, even down to the respect you are shown (or lack of it) from colleagues.
My client found that her lack of confidence in herself was inadvertently giving out signals to her colleagues and peers they could not put their confidence in her. Just from her thoughts alone, she had created a train of low self-esteem and others were jumping on for the ride. Choo, Choo!!
Cognitive (lack of) Confidence
“Whether you think you can, whether you think you can’t, you are right.”
When your confidence in the workplace comes into question, it can have a huge effect on your FOCUS and your output at work.
You prepped for a big presentation at work for a couple of weeks but at the last minute, your boss decides Janet’s (Geoff is on vacation) presentation feels more relevant for the client pitch and your hard work is binned - in the metaphorical sense!
Your confidence takes a knock. You walk into the office each morning with niggling doubt.
You have another presentation to prepare for a new client, but you just cannot FOCUS as your thoughts are telling you, well, you are crap at your job.
Think LOUD. Think PROUD.
Fear not beautiful people, I am here to reassure you all is not lost. You can find your focus again and, more importantly, you can find your confidence again. Cognitive Confidence.
In the short term there a few tricks you can bring into your workday to start to put the building blocks in place. Building blocks to focus and confidence.
Our brains are creatures of habit and will do whatever you have taught them to do. If you have taught your brain you are unable to negotiate or you are poor at workplace confrontation - guess what? Right again! - your brain will believe that is the case.
Boost Brain Beliefs
Your beliefs and your thoughts will always determine how the rest of your day is going to flow.
For Example; You wake up and stub your toe on the bed or stand on one of your kids' toys (usually lego), then you burn yourself on the oven at breakfast and all of a sudden you are convinced the rest of your day is going to go the same way!
I always say to my clients no matter how they are feeling before they enter their office, drop it at the office door and put on their cloak of professionalism.
Building confidence again takes time, but confidence can be built upon. I want to share a few tips I give my clients to help them move on and not only improve their careers but negotiate for their worth too.
1. Cut the negative self-talk. NOW.
It is unhelpful and does not give you anything but low self-esteem. Catch your thoughts and if something comes into your mind which is going to cause you to feel bad. STOP. THINK. IGNORE
2. Build your Strengths
We live in a world where our weaknesses are constantly brought to our attention. We all know what we are good at. In the workplace you may know you are great at presenting, speaking up in meetings or being able to read data and make it readable. Whatever your strengths, note them. Build upon them. Believe in them.
As humans, we LOVE to learn and feel like our brains are being widened. Attend seminars, look at colleagues and learn from them. Never stop learning and improving. Pick something specific to your job. No point learning mandarin when you are working for a German-based company - Get my point?
4. Have fun
I know. Fun at work? Taking yourself too seriously can actually have a negative effect on your self-esteem and create a perfectionist nature. Laugh at setbacks and mistakes (within reason). Your colleagues will appreciate it too.
Boosting confidence is not rocket science (thankfully) and is the key way to stay focused at work and not to believe your negative thoughts and self-talk.
So next time you step on that piece of lego or spill hot coffee down your silk shirt, just think the rest of your day can only get better…