Here’s one of the Simple Career Coaching Tips I share with my clients: Instead of talking to yourself in the first person (I’m stressed about this interview), switch to the second or third person. (You’re stressed, He’s / She’s stressed, even [use your own name] is stressed.)
This was based on research reported in the Harvard Business Review*. When people used non-first person pronouns, they were better able to:
- Control their feelings and behaviors
- Feel calmer before delivering a speech
- Feel more satisfied with themselves after delivering the speech
I tried it myself and was surprised how quickly it worked.
When having an overwhelming day, my usual mantra is:
- Oh no, how am I going to get all this done?
- How could I have let things pile up?
- Why can’t I work faster? (Sound familiar to any of you?!)
So I tried this tip, and instead said: Freda, you have a lot of things that need to get done today. There’s a lot in front of you – what will you do first?
Three things happened right away for me:
- I found it easier to strategize.
- The emotional angst just melted away.
- I realized I was being kinder to myself – not so self-critical, but rather supported!
Try it yourself! And feel free to let me know how it works!
*Pronouns matter when psyching yourself up, by Ozlem Ayduk and Ethan Kross in Harvard Business Review, February 6, 2015.