I recently spoke at a Ladies in Seattle Tech (LiST) meet up. The theme of the evening was Career Advice for My 22 Year Old Self. Naturally, as a Recovering Perfectionist, my advice was "Don't be so hard on yourself."
Everyday we experience thousands of thoughts. Some are so tiny we hardly even notice them. Like the steps we take to get to work. Turn right here, stop now, oh man that's a good song, I better crank it up!
The thoughts that hold us back from being the people that we are supposed to be are our negative ones. Thoughts like:
- I don't know enough to deserve a raise.
- I'm not smart enough.
- I don't have any good ideas.
- I'm a fraud.
I've had many of these types of thoughts over the years. The were hindering my ability to grow and play bigger. So I hired a coach and he had me do this exercise where I wrote down all of my thoughts over a 2 week time period. I realized most of my thoughts were the same everyday. I was stuck in a negative thought loop and I needed out.
We categorized my thoughts into themes and I rewrote them into positive stories to tell myself. My new stories looked like this:
- I know my stuff and I deserve a raise.
- I'm smart and I'm a leader in my field.
- I have great ideas and i contribute to my team.
- I'm learning new skills things and building my skills.
A much better way to think about my life and change my path. With these new stories I arm myself with positive thoughts and change my mindset. Now when my fearful, old, negative thoughts pop in my head, I tell myself my new story and shut it down immediately.
It's an ongoing process I work at everyday but I'm thankful I have the tools to work through what used to seem like hopeless situations. If I cannot use a story to change an obsessive negative thought that's bothering me, I know it is time for me to get creative and start making something. Whether it is writing, cooking, coding, or painting, sharing with the world is enough to calm my inner dialog.
I hope this has been helpful and you will start writing your own stories for success. If you have any questions or stories you'd like to share, I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.