"I'm never going to be able to do this job; I'm just not smart enough."
"Why does my boss want me to present at the trade show? I'm a terrible public speaker, and I'll just embarrass the company."
"I wish I could stick up for myself at work; in every meeting, I let the others walk over my ideas. I'm never going to get ahead."
Many of us have negative thoughts like these, sometimes on a regular basis. When we have these thoughts, our confidence, mood and outlook become negative too.
The problem with these negative thoughts is that they can be self-fulfilling. Inside our heads, we talk ourselves into believing that we're not good enough. And, because of this, these thoughts drag down our personal lives, our relationships, and our careers.
This is why consciously doing the opposite - using positive affirmations - can be helpful. In this article, we'll explore how you can use affirmations to drive positive change, both in your career, and in your life in general.
Why Use Affirmations?
Affirmations are positive, specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualize, and believe in, what you're affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life and career.
While there's limited research into the effectiveness of using affirmations in a general setting, there is evidence that the use of positive affirmations can successfully treat people with low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health conditions.
For instance, in a study by researchers at Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, people who used positive affirmations for two weeks experienced higher self-esteem than at the beginning of the study.
So try looking at positive affirmations this way - many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our body's physical health and condition. Affirmations are like exercises for our mind and outlook; these positive mental repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that, over time, we begin to think, and act, in a new way.
-Affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts.
-To use affirmations, first analyze the thoughts or behaviors you'd like to change in your own life and career.
-Next, come up with positive, credible, present tense statements that are the opposite of these thoughts. Repeat your affirmations several times a day, especially when you find yourself slipping into a negative thinking pattern, or engaging in a negative behavior.
-Remember that affirmations are most effective when used alongside other strategies, such as visualization and goal setting.
Before you know it the positive thoughts will become a habit. Then when you have a negative thought, you will notice it and catch yourself much easier. At this point an awareness has been established and you can then make a choice to encourage the positive thoughts and to the negative thoughts say, "Thank you for sharing" and carry on!
Lisa Rezac is Vice President of Instruction for the Western region for the Leaders Institute http://www.leadersinstitute.com. She is based in Seattle, Washington, but she also teaches in Portland, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego and other Western cities.