Word-Of-the-Week #705: Credit

February 8, 2018 by  

Creditwhat you take when you have done something that deserves praise.

How good are you at accepting praise for a job well done? Do you have a tendency to deny or play down your achievements? Does it make you feel uncomfortable to get credit when you deserve it?

This week we follow up on the Bryan Falchuk, Inc. “Don’t let negative self-talk hold you back.”  He writes, “How can you possibly be successful if you see yourself as mediocre or worse? The answer is obviously that you can’t. However, you can change the situation. 

 Here is the exercise I give people I work with. I call it… 

Stop the “But”

Say something good about yourself or something you did. As soon as you feel the word “but” forming in your mind, stop yourself. Just say the good part without moving onto anything to downplay it, take away from it, or negate it. Just allow the good. 

Here are a few examples from people I work with. 

The first is from working with a woman who was so caught in her not being smart enough for the job she wanted, she thought they made a mistake or there was something wrong with the company when they offered her the job. 

So I asked her about how she did in college. She said, “I got good grades, but…” 

I jumped in there and cut her off by saying, “Stop. You got good grades. Leave it there.” 

But she could not do it, and responded with, “No, that does not matter. It was so long ago. And what I studied is not relevant to what I want to do. So who cares?” 

The point is just to allow the good thing about you to sit unchallenged. Of course that good thing may not be relevant in every situation, so why bother naming specific reasons for it to be invalid in any one context? Good grades are also not relevant to whether she is good at basketball, can fly a plane, or any number of other unrelated things. So choosing one to focus on to discredit the good is no more rational than just letting the good be as it.

Another person was having trouble getting along with his boss, and was broadening that out to a general issue with people, and then catastrophizing that he was unemployable, and his career was doomed. 

So I asked him, “Do you have friends?”  He said, “Of course I do. But–“ 

I cut him off right there. “You have friends. People who were not born into knowing you actively choose to be connected to you. Are they close friends or just acquaintances?” 

“Good friends. In my circle of friends, I am kind of the go-to person when people are really struggling with problems in their job. They all turn to me.” 

I said, “Ah ha! So people are specifically turning to you for advice about career issues. People have made a decision based on the kind of person you are to do this. And they want your advice about what you think you are afraid you are not good at. Doesn’t that seem disconnected?” 

Through this exercise (which we repeated a few times) he stopped seeing himself as doomed because of his inability to be a relatable person, but rather realized there are people he does get along with well and others that may take more work. And then we focused on doing that work so he could improve, which he has. 

This is something I have people do daily to start to counter-act the years of negative self-talk they have been engaging in throughout their lives, let alone their careers.

If you want to be successful, you have to allow for the possibility that you are actually good at things and capable of success. You cannot discredit every little attempt to credit you with a win and expect to have hope that you can achieve what you aspire to in your career.

This week’s focus is on taking credit. What are your three top attributes at work? How many things are you good at doing in your personal life? Now, how would it feel to say “Thank you. I appreciate that.” when someone gives you credit for a job well done?

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