Now, I’d like to add one more: Create an honest self-assessment.
Begin by developing a document for your eyes only. No one else will ever see it, so make a list of your strengths (how well you deal with people, perhaps, or your ability to solve problems) and your weaknesses (your dislike for conflict or disdain for details). Then, add either a piece of positive evidence or a potential solution after each one. Some examples might look like this:
- “I keep my promises and am excellent at maintaining long-term relationships, as evidenced by my 10-year relationship with our firm’s top client.”
- “I am independent and can get myself out of most jams. Many people have contributed to my success, for which I am thankful. At the same time, I need to recognize and admire the nature of my accomplishments.”
- “When meeting new clients, I get nervous and need to recognize this is a natural and normal reaction. (They’re probably nervous, too!) I will go into these situations with some prepared conversation items and questions, and I will concentrate on being interested in what clients are saying.”
- “Although I am typically calm and relaxed in social situations, I sometimes make a social blunder, say the wrong thing or use a word incorrectly. But so does everyone else. Going forward, I’ll just make a joke and say, ‘Am I having a senior moment already?’ ”
Remember that nobody is either all right or all wrong. (Even Gandhi probably had a bad habit or two.) But with an honest assessment and a frequent review of what you do well, what you don’t and what actions you can take, you’ll be on your way to destroying that pathological critic.
The psychology of self-persuasion is all about consistency. You never want to get too high when you hear “yes” or too low when you get a “no.”