Feb
06

Fire your Inner Slave Driver!

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The problem is, you can’t really fire your boss when you work for yourself! But what if you’re letting o your Inner Critic or even worse, your Inner Slave Driver, take the wheel? You could be making things much harder than they have to be.

Without realizing it, you may be de-motivating yourself by the way you talk to yourself when you are working on a project or a goal. Which one gives you more energy for getting things done and for getting your work out there:

“Oh well, I only got part of it done! So much more to do…why didn’t I get this done yesterday? versus
“Way to go! You rock!” (High five!) Look how much you got done.

This habit is Motivation by Self-Flagellation, and it’s probably well ingrained by now, starting back in school and maybe at home too. How do you know you have it?

Start noticing how you talk to yourself. Do you acknowledge or praise yourself ever?. When you check something off your list as done, do you just go on to the next thing. Do you focus not on what you have done, but on how much more there still is to do? Or maybe you appreciate that you did get it done. Still why did it take so long? And is it really good enough or do you need to make some improvements? Do you know enough to put this out there? Or maybe you should go get more training? Oy!

These are signs that you’ve been conditioned to drive yourself by being hard on yourself. It can show up as being perfectionistic, hesitation to put your work out there, overwork and burn-out.

I’d like to propose a new habit called Motivation by Celebration. It’s a simple habit change, or brain hack. It takes awareness and practice, but it can totally shift your mindset about work and even about yourself. And the effectiveness of this habit is proven in positive psychology research.

To start, just become aware of your inner self talk around goals and getting things done. Awareness is the first step—you can’t change it if you don’t know it’s there. I look forward to sharing more with you in the next few blog posts about how to change the old habit and create a new one. For today, what is one thing you appreciate and can celebrate about you? I’ll give you one—you read this blog post! Now apply it and let me know how it goes.

Comments

  1. It’s so good when you have a positive outlet. Life never gets you down. Thanks for this motivational shove.
    Francene Stanley recently posted..How vocalizing relieves your pain.My Profile

  2. Dorit Sasson says:

    I must say that I need more inner-drive and pep talk when I try sabotaging myself or getting in my way. Great tips!!

  3. Amy Bovaird says:

    Ellen,
    What a motivating read! I am a bit of a slave driver but I do celebrate writing done as well. I’m getting better at doing it and now that I’ve read your piece, I will be deliberate about. Thanks!
    Amy
    Amy Bovaird recently posted..Committing Beautiful Moments to MemoryMy Profile

    • Amy, I am so glad you enjoyed this piece. I’m currently offering a 21 day Retrain Your Brain challenge to support people in overcoming this slave driver tendency and it’s been quite fun. Most of us are incredibly hard on ourselves.

  4. I am intentionally working on this! Not being so critical of myself, celebrating the successes instead of bemoaning the things I consider failures, and simply appreciating who I am. Great post!!!!
    Carrie Ann Tripp (@CarrieAnnTripp) recently posted..Divine Devouring FireMy Profile

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