I met with a manager yesterday and she relentlessly told me all the things her department “should” be doing. Frustration and anger were oozing out of her. I had to wonder how all these “shoulds” were manifesting themselves when she spoke to her employees:
You should get here on time.
You should have proofread more carefully.
You should have done more research.
And “should” turned inward is also a big problem:
I should eat less sugar.
I should clean the office.
I should save more money.
Some ways we can change our self-talk which will in turn change how we speak to others are:
I eat healthy foods most of the time.
I organize my office a little bit every day.
I cut out the afternoon Starbucks to save money.
Talking in positive, concrete actions is helpful self-talk. And once we are kind to ourselves, we can be kind to others. For example:
Would a change in your morning routine be helpful?
Would an additional proofreader make sense?
Have you considered doing more research?
Your self-talk is ALWAYS on and ALWAYS with you. I hope yours is an encouraging voice, “You got this.” “Way to go.” “I’m on fire!”
Tell yourself kind and supportive things. Over and over again. If you aren’t nice to you, how do you think you come across to others?
Usually my blogs focus on the workplace, yet this time I’m going to stray. At the beginning of the summer, I received an email from a young man named Morgan, and he wrote:
“For my sister’s 20th birthday my mom made her something called The Book of Wise Women, and 13 years later I know my sister still has and loves it. Basically she asked 20 women who made an impact on her life to write her a letter, talking about what it was like for them being 20, what they can expect in their 20s, and something they know now that they wish they had known then. Oh, and a picture of her at 20, or a picture of them and my sister if at all possible. She bound all the letters into a book and it was really beautiful.”
Isn’t this the coolest thing ever? In the months ahead, I will share excerpts from a letter I wrote to my daughter’s friend Lauren.
Let me encourage you to do this for a young woman in your life. And do it for the young men too. They may not shriek as loud, but they will benefit and love it too.
What would you say to a young person?
Years ago at a presentations skills program I attended, my mentor, Glenna Salsbury, instructed us to do the “What If Tomorrow It Is Gone” exercise. The exercise is rather simple: “What if you woke up tomorrow and everything you failed to be grateful for today was gone?” Think about this for a few moments.
Answers can range from the people you love, to your material possessions, to the foods you enjoy, to the outdoors and nature, to your spirit guides, and to the practicalities we take for granted such as clean water and heat. It can also include the special people who maybe you aren’t particularly close to, but who you enjoy, like the smiley clerk at CVS or the UPS driver who always waves. Don’t forget your wonderful pets and your friends’ pets too!
I have been doing this exercise for years. When I am with a troubled group, I think about all the people in the group who contributed and added value to the day. When I feel sick, I think about the parts of my body that are well. It’s a great exercise to fall asleep to or to take a walk with.
And it works in a group very well. You can do it for hours. Do you love the Thanksgiving souffle? How about the eggs that went into it? And the chickens that produced the eggs? And the farm that raised the chickens, and the truck driver who transported the eggs, and the grocery store that sold the eggs, and the cook who shared the recipe?
As I said, this exercise is endless. Have fun with it and remember that you can never be too grateful.
This Thanksgiving, as I coordinate flights, find a fresh tablecloth, and prepare for a few days of non-work, I turn my thoughts to you. I am grateful for my readers – to those of you who have passed through my life and have honored me by reading my blog, and to those of you who are still an active part of my life. Thank you all for being a part of the circle that is my life.