Did you know that the average person thinks 80,000 thoughts a day, and of those, 80 percent are negative thoughts? 90 percent of those 80,000 thoughts is your brain running on auto-pilot — you’ve ruminated on these ideas before.
How often do you call yourself stupid, tell yourself to get your act together or let negative assumptions have control of your day and mind? The saying goes that “You are your own worst enemy,” and it’s true — your inner voice is a bitter, jaded bully that wears a giant crown built out of your Imposter Syndrome shame and paper clips. Instead of having the Midas touch, you’ve got the imposter itch, and you can’t help but scratch, can you?
You tell yourself you’re a bleeping fraud and wonder how anyone could ever respect you. Business can be cut throat, but don’t throw yourself under the bus to get through the day. Don’t be one of those bosses that arrives to work and gives Arthur Hobbs and Mr. Burns a run for their money.
Then, you will get called the worst boss ever because when you bully yourself, your negativity leaks into the workplace and your confidence tanks. Reclaim your power and stop the negative self-talk in its tracks.
Take Care of Yourself Like Someone You’re Helping
As a leader, you set the tone for the organization. In his book 12 Rules for Life, Jordan Peterson says, “Fire your inner bully boss, and hire the part of you that takes care of yourself like someone you’re responsible for helping.” You create your own heaven and hell, so create positive feedback loops instead of negative ones.
That sense of danger can help you think analytically, but you get stuck and self-deprecate when caught up in the hamster wheel of your own broken-record, bullying mind. Imagine someone else in your spot and show yourself some proactive compassion.
Actually Help Someone Else
Volunteering improves life satisfaction, boosts overall well-being and calms depression according to a 2013 study at the University of Exeter Medical School. In fact, many organizations now allow employees to take separate paid time off in order to volunteer for a good cause because of the benefit to employee health and improved performance once employees return.
It feels good to give to others. Pay it forward. When you do something good for someone else, you get out of your head and ego. Use this time to pay forward the social impact aspect of your organization’s mission, or start with something as simple as buying a stranger’s coffee.
Name Your Troll
Wonder why 80 percent of your thoughts are negative? Your inner critic is sly, slipping in and out of your brain like a ratchet DJ remixing your synapses, and you know the original is usually better than the remix. So, name your critic for what it is — a troll — and make it something ridiculous or bland to separate it from your voice and identity.
Your critic is not your true voice — it’s one you internalized based on outside learning and influences, such as others’ standards, expectations and criticisms. The haters aren’t the creators, so try on a name like “Sir Blah Du Blah Blah” or “Alvin” for the chatter-happy egotistical cartoon chipmunk. Get a laugh out of hearing your inner Dave voice scream “ALVINNN!” over the negative chatter.
When it comes down to it, you’re trolling yourself. So, picture a troll. Address it as a troll, nothing more and nothing less.
Talk back and challenge the troll! Put it in perspective by asking yourself if your thoughts are factual or simply an interpretation. Consider the worst case scenario to eliminate that “The sky is falling!” influence. Imagine the best thing that could happen. Make an action plan. Remind yourself of your successes, even the small ones.
Schedule Time for the Meaningful
Some leaders limit their meetings to 30 minutes to focus on the essential and prevent the negative or extraneous from taking control. Keep business meetings to 20 percent of your week. While that sounds like you’re flushing your company down the toilet, what you’re really doing is freeing up your time to be more present for what matters.
You’re free to have more one-on-ones with your employees and form a connection. You’re accessible and personable. This also means that you must schedule time for what matters each day outside of the professional sphere. You focus so much on filling the day with routine and must-dos, only to miss out on inspiration and meaning. Reclaim mindfulness.
Don’t let overwhelm takeover your mind and leadership style. Dispel the shadows, stand up for yourself and say “NO” to your troll.
Empower your true voice instead, and shift into the 10X way of thinking.