February 3, 2014 | Barb Carr

Career Development: A Pep Talk on Paper Can Help Your Career by George Burk

A pep talk on paper can help career –write goals improve confidence

We’ve all had times in our life when we’ve been down on ourselves, frustrated by events, people, work, our career path.  Some good news: a recent study has shown you can change your personal and professional paradigms and regain that old self-confidence that has been absent—and make a favorable impression on others—when you take time to write your aspirations, ambitions and goals.

“Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action(s) you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, destiny.”  Alfred Montapert

Write two-three paragraphs that outline your goals and that will help you to feel more empowered, confident and energetic, Gavin Kilduff, an assistant professor of management and organization at New York University said his research showed.  When you write your aspirations and goals, you see them in front of you and they become real.  This process can be especially important before you join a new group or speak at an event.

Adam Galinsky, a psychologist and professor at Columbia Business School said his experiments showed that individuals who used an exercise as this to energize themselves showed greater initiative at initial group discussions and appeared more competent as teammates.

Both men found that once a person projects self-confidence to the group and its members perceive you well, ‘see’ you as real and genuine, the effects can be long-term. Specifically, they said that individuals who initially acted more confidently with the group established patterns of positive, assertive communications that continued and became self re-reinforcement attitudes and behaviors.  No one I know wants to admit they’re not confident. Confidence is critically important to effectively communicate your aspirations and goals.

“It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power.” Robert T. Kiosaki

As a burn survivor, I know from first-hand experience the importance and role that self-confidence played and play s in my survival.  I learned early on that if I were to become a survivor, not a victim, I had to re-learn how to practice positive self-talk.

To write your goals and aspirations is but the first step. After this is done, the next step is to make a commitment to yourself that you’ll seek to achieve them. Share your aspirations and goals with family and friends.  Share what you hope to achieve and ask for their feedback and support. This is a process…it’s continuous…when one goal’s achieved move to another and create bigger goals. Practice positive self-talk.

If you don’t have time to write down your ambitions before you meet a group, mentally review your achievements and your goals.  That’s real-time reinforcement and may give your confidence a “shot in the arm,” and not look like you’re timid, disorganized or disinterested. Its great mental hygiene and positive reinforcement.

“A man without ambition is worse than dough that has no yeast to rise it.” Henry Ward Beecher

A few other tips from the above mentioned persons and this writer:

Be prepared. Yes, that sounds simple enough. But you may be surprised (perhaps you’re not) how many people aren’t prepared to appear before a group.  Self-confidence comes from the knowledge you did your homework. That empowers you to come into a group like you own it. And…you DO own it! If you don’t believe you do, you set yourself up to fail.   Regardless, if you’re networking/ searching for a new position, conducting a weekly meeting or staff training, make certain you have done your homework so you’re up-to-date on the latest news, concepts and prepared to dialogue the issues saliently and thoroughly. If you don’t, your audience will soon realize that you don’t know your material. If you lose them, it’s almost impossible to regain their attention, interest and their confidence in you.

“Give me six hours to shop down a tree and I will spend four hours sharpening the axe.” Abraham Lincoln

Look the role.  Simple tips but important none the less.  Good posture, back straight, make eye contact with as many as possible…hint:  a great tool to make effective eye contact is to discover the color of the person’s eyes. Always dress appropriately; that shows others you’re confident before your first “hello.”  Don’t have anything in your mouth…gum….candy.

Demonstrate your interest. I’ve learned that most people like to talk about themselves, their family, hobbies, and travel.  I do! So…ask questions. The office break room can be a great place to strike-up a conversation with some others you may not see that often. Express an interest in their lives and what they do. The same concept is valuable ice-breaker at professional meetings and seminars— before the event begins, at lunch and at scheduled breaks.

“Snobs talk as if they had begotten their ancestors.” Herbert Ayers

Don’t be a snob.  Be the real you. If the real you IS a snob, good luck! How’s that worked for you? Maybe that’s the reason your ‘friends’ and associates seldom return your calls, emails and texts; don’t invite you back; they seem to never be available.  Positive attracts positives; negative attracts negatives; snobs attract other snobs. Few things in life turn me off than a person who tries to embellish any number of events in their lives. You’ve been to Hawaii once they’ve been there twice and so on.  One upmanship. The examples are endless.  They also try to impress with technical jargon or words that others may not know or understand.  Acronyms unknown to others can alienate those around you.

“Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses or avoids.” Aristotle

Demonstrate class. Be gracious and show respect to others.  When you take the time to actually write a thank-you note to your boss, mentor, friend or another person for their advice, a person who invited you to dine with them; a host or friend who invited to speak at an event; a colleague who took the time to help you with a project; or an unexpected gift. Not an email, text or even a phone call is sufficient.  When you write a note, address it, place a stamp on the envelope and mail it, the effort shows you care. This is a lost art in our culture.  It’s not taught at home any more.  Technology has overtaken our lives. The “drive-through” get it now mind-set.

When you’re seen as a positive communicator, it enhances your credibility with friends, co-workers and hosts and establishes a level of confidence and professionalism in the minds of your friends and those you’ve met along the way.

All it takes is 5-10 minutes to sit and jot down your aspirations, goals and accomplishments. The benefits can be (and are) long-term. This is the power of positive self-talk; the power of positive thinking. Self-confidence is sequential, inside-out and it’s critical to our personal hygiene—our well-being and our careers.  This can also be accomplished by Mind-Mapping. Think pictures/visualization. Want more information on this? Let me know.

So now! Where are you going? How will you get there?  How will know you’ve ‘arrived’?  Who will be on your team?

This article was reprinted with permission from the author, Captain George Burk, USAF (Ret), Plane crash, burn survivor, motivational speaker, author, writer. Visit his website at www.georgeburk.com or contact Captain Burk at gburk@georgeburk.com.

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