It’s easy to focus on breaking bad habits. By looking at the negative, you get to beat yourself up and feel like you’re doing something productive at the same time. But, of course, negative self-talk is incredibly demotivating.
Better to think about developing good habits, instead. For example, these could make a big difference in your career, setting you up to grab that promotion or get attention from a hiring manager when you need it most.
1. Talk to yourself nicely.
“…most of our confidence comes from external factors—people telling us we’re awesome,” writes Alyse Kalish at The Muse. “Well, why not tell yourself you’re awesome? You know what you like to hear, and you know your biggest pain points. Plus, it costs you nothing to try.”
Kalish notes that psychologists have found that using “you” is better at lifting your mood than “I.” So go ahead, tell yourself, “You can do it!”
2. Say thank you.
Whether verbally or in note form, saying thank you can go a long way toward building relationships and creating a positive impression. Most of us were raised to do it, but in a busy life, it’s easy to forget how far these two little words go. Take the time to show someone that you respect them and appreciate their efforts on your behalf.
3. Trust your gut … but verify.
Ever get a bad feeling, and then find out you were right? Most of us have run into this in our lives and careers. Maybe you had a bad feeling about that hiring manager at a job interview, and she turned out to be the boss from hell. Maybe you couldn’t shake the feeling that layoffs were on the way, and then you got your pink slip the next week.
The challenge is to listen to your intuition, but not be guided by fear. Cultivate the habit of respecting your gut instincts, but then looking for corroborating evidence. For example, if you think layoffs are in the wind, start paying attention to office gossip and industry news. You might find proof that your hunch was correct, and you won’t have to worry that you started looking elsewhere because you had a random attack of nerves.
4. Do things that scare you.
When you look back on your career, chances are the best moves you’ve made will be the ones that scared you, at least a little bit. Taking calculated risks is part of any successful career strategy. While it’s never a good idea to throw all caution to the wind, the occasional leap of faith is key if you want to get to the top of your field.
5. Always be thinking about your next move.
You’re probably sick of hearing that you should always keep your resume up-to-date … but you should always keep your resume up-to-date. (Sorry.) In today’s market, there’s no such thing as job security. Be loyal to yourself and your career, and don’t get too comfy. You never know when the next big opportunity might present itself. Be ready.
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