Excerpted from https://www.calm.com/business/blog/how-self-talk-affects-your-workday?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_2537886&utm_medium=email&utm_source=lifecycle&utm_content=nonsub_lamarod_b2b
Words are powerful. That’s particularly true at work: the language we use can make someone’s day—or send it spiraling into a downslope.
If we’re giving a colleague feedback, we choose our words with great care, acutely aware of the fine line between constructive feedback and harsh criticism (and how easy it is to step over it without even meaning to). But what about the feedback we give ourselves? Why are we so eager to call out our own perceived shortcomings? And why do we talk to ourselves in a way we’d never dream of speaking to someone else?
Listening to your inner voice
We all have an inner voice. As you read these words right now, you’re hearing them “spoken” in your “mind’s ear.” At other times, you talk to yourself inside your head—reacting to what happens, reacting to other people’s words, reminding yourself of your to-dos, or reminiscing about the past.
“She said that. Why did she say that? Must remember to pick up milk. What time can I finish today? I finished at 4:30 pm yesterday. Anyway, what did she mean when she said that?” This internal monologue runs through your head all day. And precisely because it’s ever-present, you may have stopped noticing it at all.
That’s OK if your inner voice is just giving you a nudge to swing by the store. But when it becomes your harshest critic, it’s time to make a change.
Why self-talk matters
Your self-talk influences your perceptions, which in turn shapes your reality. It’s like having a “mini-you” perched on your shoulder, whispering in your ear all day. Even if you don’t notice the words unfolding in your mind, they can change how you see yourself, your day-to-day work, your company, your colleagues, and the whole story of your working life and career.
If self-talk turns negative, it can undermine your self-esteem and your estimation of others. Over time, that affects your work performance, team relationships, and influence at work. Even worse, this negative self-talk easily becomes a self-reinforcing habit: you criticize yourself because you’re feeling down, and you feel down because you’re constantly criticizing yourself.
Ask yourself if any of these statements sound familiar:
- I am easily disappointed with myself.
- There is a part of me that puts me down.
- I can’t accept failures and setbacks without feeling inadequate.
They’re all taken from a self-assessment scale developed for a study of the forms that self-criticism can take. If these resonate, you might want to think about whether negative self-talk is an issue for you. If it is, this post suggests some ways to think about that.
Read the full article and learn more about:
· Where self-criticism comes from, and why it doesn’t work
· Constructive criticism, and how it helps
· Noticing your self-talk
· How positive self-talk can help
· Four ways to tune up your self-talk