A common response to this question is an immediate switch to talking about weaknesses or a narrative of negative judgement. How does it make you feel?
Why does this happen?
In short, it isn’t surprising. Research has shown that this is quite natural, and we are wired to be more sensitive to negative rather than positive information.
According to Dr. Hansen, PHD, the amygdala, the region of the brain that helps regulate emotion and encode memories “uses about two-thirds of its neurons to look for bad news”. In effect, the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences. When it comes to work specifically…
- How many times have you had good week but there is that one conversation, event or email that dominates your thinking?
- How often has this stuck with you over the weekend?
- Have some experiences in the past become part of your internal narrative?
The thing is, on one level you know that these things shouldn’t bother you, but they do. You can then fall into the habit of judging yourself harshly and your inner critic is on a roll.
Essentially your brain is just trying to keep you safe, be kind to yourself. But in the world of work this is at best irritating and at its worst completely debilitating.
How can you overcome negativity bias?
It is possible to overcome, but it takes time, conscious effort, and concentration whereas negativity bias happens quickly, with little or no effort.
Daniel Kaheman’s Thinking, fast and slow is a great read in this area.
Time is often the biggest barrier! However, answering this question and going through the process below regularly, can help you overcome negative bias and reframe your internal narrative. Overriding negativity takes repetition, reflection and acknowledgement.
At your BEST
Being at your best is when you are thriving, on top form, working effectively and not being self-conscious. You feel good, you are in flow.
Try and think of time when you have felt the above, even if it isn’t recently. It may be one day, an interaction, a project, or a period of time. For each example consider the following questions?
- What was the situation?
- What strengths, talents, and capabilities were you using?
- Were you working in alignment with your values?
- Did it have something to do with the environment?
- Who else was involved?
Try and create as detailed a picture as possible.
- What themes emerge?
- How are you feeling now?
As mentioned above, this requires you to take time and space to focus on you. Having a greater understanding of you at your best will enable you to consider your current circumstances and examine future possibilities from a different perspective. You will gain clarity and confidence articulating your capabilities.
You have unique gifts and strengths that you bring to your work.
Do you know what they are?
Understanding, owning, and celebrating your uniqueness is the foundation to achieving sustainable change.
If this has been helpful and you would like to explore further, then book a FREE Career Conversation with me at https://tinaneve.as.me/CareerConversation