Believe in Your Potential
It’s easy to get caught up in negative self-talk. It’s also human nature to take your success for granted and even doubt yourself when times are tough in life or at work. That’s why finding ways to actively and consistently believe in your potential are so important. A great way to do this is to create a practice around identifying and examining your past accomplishments. Why? Because that will help you to see how your talents, gifts and hard-earned skills have all played a role in your unique achievements and leadership. Every good habit and discipline you’ve used to create past success has empowered you to get to where you are today. So set aside some time to think about the talents, gifts and skills that are behind your successes. This eye-opening exercise will confirm just how great you are and help combat any self-defeating or doubting mindset. With a renewed belief in yourself and your potential, you’ll find you’re able to accelerate your impact and generate even greater, future success.
Here’s the exercise:
1. Identify what you’re doing right. There’s a body of scientific research that says we have about 60,000 thoughts a day, 80% of which are negative ones. Wow! Now that’s a lot of negativity to combat, but you can start doing it by proactively putting a brief outline of your professional journey down on paper and then noticing what talents, gifts and skills have enabled those successes. Look for recurring words or themes that reflect the unique, positive and empowering aspects of your personality or key character traits. These are your core strengths and a big part of what’s helped move you from “Point A to Point B” in your career. They’ve contributed to your success in terms of growing important professional relationships and results.
2. Leverage your strengths. Since childhood, one of my gifts has been the ability to establish and maintain good relationships. So at some point, after realizing that this strength played a role in a number of past successes with people, including bosses, over the years, I discovered I could leverage this gift. I started taking my relationships with others and my boss much more seriously versus just for granted. Moreover, I began to proactively practice good habits and disciplines around effective communication, which is at the heart of securing solid relationships. Specifically, managing up became one of my best skills and now looking back at my professional journey, my ability to effectively and strategically manage my communication with my boss has led to a number of professional opportunities and achievements. What strengths can you leverage?
3. Minimize your flaws. In uncovering and capitalizing on your strengths, you’ll also come to know your weaknesses. When you do, accept the fact that weaknesses are normal, everyone has them, and that knowing what they are is an important part of this process. That said, as a leader, your goal is to minimize them not because they’re “bad” per se but because you don’t want them impacting others. Since minimizing flaws can be a challenge, I suggest creating some personal rules to follow when you’re staring them in the face. For example, if you tend to be hot-headed when things don’t go your way, create a “Cool Down Rule.” This would require you to find a way to step out of a situation for five minutes to grab a drink of water, do some deep breathing, or get the space you need to cool off that temper. Another example might be that if you struggle with clutter in your office and it’s impacting your efficiency, start a daily discipline around cleaning up your desk before you leave for the day. You can’t always hide such flaws, but you can create new habits and corrective actions that address them and enable you to become more effective overall.
What are some helpful “rules” that you’ve disciplined yourself to follow?