Leadership is about results. The story you tell yourself either supports or sabotages your performance.
Let me unpack this idea for you.
Psychology research suggests that we cannot consistently perform at a level that is different than the story we tell ourselves about how we will perform.
If you say to yourself, “I’m not a good writer and it takes me forever to write something good,” then you won’t produce quality writing – at any speed. The story you tell yourself is subconsciously sabotaging your performance.
The same is true for these stories you might be telling yourself:
- “I don’t like giving presentations and I’m not good at it.”
- “I’m not good with spreadsheets.”
- “I’m always nervous when my boss checks out my work.”
- “I never have enough time to work on projects the way I want to.”
Drill this into your head and heart: We generally live up to the stories we tell ourselves. Changing our performance, therefore, requires changing the story we tell ourselves.
Try these new stories:
- “I have something exciting and useful to share, and will get my point across in just a few sentences.”
- “I’m looking forward to showing my boss the work I’ve done.”
- “I have a lot to learn about spreadsheets, but am making good progress.”
- “This presentation is going to be great and the audience will enjoy it.”
Bonus level! Tell good stories about what you expect from others – children, youth, neighbors, colleagues, even politicians – and they’re more likely to succeed as well.
Write this out on a sheet of paper, and stick it up where you will see it every day: I will only tell myself good stories about my contributions today.