These seven things act as dampers on your energy, positivity and capability. When you nix them, you’ll find yourself more confident, motivated and approachable—and those are valuable personal brand traits.
1. Complaining. Sure, venting can make you feel good for a moment, but it does nothing to help you resolve the issue you’re moaning about, and it doesn’t move anyone forward. It just anchors you in the negative, which will work against you. Rather than complain, acknowledge the situation or problem and take action to make things better. When you complain, you’re making yourself a victim. When you act with positive intention, you become a superhero. And group complaining is even worse. When you see Debbie Downer at the coffee station trying to recruit people to be part of her grumbler get-together, steer clear.
2. Gossip. A close cousin of complaining is gossiping. It’s part of every office culture regardless of how positive the workplace is, and it’s unproductive. It can also sabotage your career. You don’t want your brand to be Office Gossip. Spend more time praising and promoting others so you have little time to engage in unproductive rumor mills. Just as you need to detour around Debbie Downer, get out of the way of Gossiping Greg too. It takes two or more to gossip, so Debbie and Greg are always on the prowl for buddies.
3. Regret. Regret is an ugly state of mind, especially if you dwell endlessly on multiple past mistakes. It sounds like this: “I wish I had said…” “If only I were better at…” “If I hadn’t done that…” When you lament the past, you turn your attention away from the present and the future—where you’re able to shine. Think of past failures or dubious decisions as valuable learning and use those lessons to be an even better version of yourself today.
4. Negative self-talk. When you notice that you’re beating yourself up, break up the fight immediately. Often, people have the same negative self-talk tune playing in their head … and the more they hear it, the more they believe it. Reverse the negative self-talk by replacing it with a positive tune. Instead of “I’m so bad at seeing the big picture” think “I’m amazing at remembering important details.”
5. Comparing yourself to others. Sometimes the negative self–talk is rooted in an addiction to comparing yourself to others. You’ll always be able to find someone who’s a more confident public speaker, someone who has a bigger office, someone who went to a more renowned university. But when you compare yourself to others, you live in lack, focusing on what’s missing. Instead, turn your attention to your greatest gifts. When you say Stephanie is amazing at public speaking, add a line of self-talk that says, “And I am amazing at building creative, compelling PowerPoint presentations.” Acknowledge the gifts of someone else while reminding yourself of your superpowers.
6. Needing others’ validation. Seeking to impress others—from your boss to your assistant—and hear their accolades is normal. We’re human. We like the sound of people touting our success and acknowledging our contributions. We should welcome it and accept their praise with appreciation and humility. But when we need other people’s praise, we start to do things for the wrong reason. When it comes to validation, bask in it, but don’t spend your time seeking it out. Be in the habit of easily finding your validation inside yourself.
7. Blame. Whether it’s directed at yourself or others, blame keeps you focused on the problem, not the solution. There’s little value that comes from assigning blame; it doesn’t help move things forward. It can negatively impact or even destroy relationships with people at work. And when you blame yourself, you chip away at your self-confidence. Banish blame and build a personal brand of bliss. Become known as the leader who forgives and forges forward.