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Article: How Do You Talk to Yourself? Related Resources

How Do You Talk to Yourself?
by Sharon Teitelbaum

The Relentless Boss Syndrome

Have you ever worked for a manager who responded to every piece of work you did by giving you a new assignment? Who never said things like:

Thank you. I know you worked long and hard on this. I appreciate all the effort that went into this. Great work! On time and under budget! I know you were here til the wee hours of the morning. Take the afternoon off!

A constant diet of "Now do this," without generous helpings of "Thank you" is not sustainable. Without acknowledgement, eventually, we stop working hard.

Not getting credit is de-motivating!

Are you a Relentless Boss to yourself?

How do you treat yourself? Do you regularly appreciate and celebrate your accomplishments? Or do you just step over them to get on with the next job? I'll bet you could use a tune-up when it comes to patting yourself on the back. My new clients often discover they have a habit of saying to themselves, "Faster! Now do this! Faster! Now do this!" What do you say to yourself?

Most of us are poor at acknowledging ourselves. We distrust it. We fear that it leads directly to "resting on our laurels." But it's really just the opposite. "Thank you" is a critical part of the cycle. It's only after we really GET the "thank you" we are fully ready for the next task.

My clients often report that one benefit they get from coaching is this: I ask them to send me a list of what they've done since our last call. They are surprised to see how much they got done. Their feeling had been that they didn't do enough! Once they see the list, they say, "I really did a lot this week."

Getting credit is very motivating! Especially if the credit is from you.

If you find yourself feeling tired and stopped when it comes to a task that you really do believe in, stop and ask yourself: Are there accomplishments I haven't acknowledged? If so, give yourself a pat on the back. Really.

Coaching Tips for Acknowledging Yourself

Here are some practical, easy ways you can acknowledge yourself.

1. Keep a success journal. Every night write down what you accomplished or completed that day.

2. When people ask, "How are you?" say something like, "Great. I recently . . . (lost 3 pounds, finished my taxes, joined a dating service . . . )"

3. Buy some pre-stamped postcards. When you finish a major job, send yourself a signed card in the mail that reads, "Congratulations on getting the yard cleaned up. Great work!"

4. When you reach a milestone, celebrate it with other people.

5. Start a file called "Reward Ideas." Collect ideas for large and small ways to celebrate your accomplishments. Then use them! Some starter ideas: Walk or run with a friend Have a glass of wine with dinner Go to a sports event Take yourself to a movie matinee Buy yourself a new toy Take a relaxing bath with music, candles, & bubbles Make a donation to your Hawaii fund 6. Find a buddy who also wants to get better at this. Have a weekly phone call where you each rave about what you did that week. No other conversation is allowed during this call.

7. Keep an "I DID" list at home and at work. This is the counterpart to your "To Do" list.

8. Take a friend, colleague, or family member out to lunch to mark an accomplishment. Tell them what the occasion is.

9. Make a list of your 25 proudest accomplishments, from any part of your life. Post it where you will see it daily.

10. Acknowledge yourself for finding your way to this list.


Copyright 1999, Sharon Teitelbaum, all rights reserved.

Sharon Teitelbaum,, a Master Certified Work-Life and Career Coach, works with high achievers, people at mid-career, and professionals seeking greater career satisfaction and work-life balance. She coaches by phone and in person in Boston. Her newsletter, Strategies For Change, offers practical tips for work-life success. Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: Restoring Work-Life Balance is Sharon's most recent book. Sharon also also delivers keynotes & workshops on work-life issues. Clients include Children's Hospital Boston, Merrill Lynch, Arnold Worldwide, professional organizations and alumni groups. She's been featured in national publications including The New York Times,, and Working Mother Magazine. Married for 30 years, she is the mother of two amazing young women.



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