By September 24, 2007 4 Comments Read More →

Learn to Endorse Yourself

LearnToEndorseYourself

Do you frequently convince yourself that what you do doesn’t count?   If you spend more time worrying about what you didn’t get done or if you don’t value your results, then you need to learn to endorse yourself.   It’s very easy to fall into a habit of beating yourself up.  The key is to learn how to lift yourself up.

When folks on my team start to feel down on themselves, I tell them to stop focusing on the results and start focusing on their activity.  By paying attention to their actions, they feel better about progress, until they are closer to producing results again.  A variation off this is to have them focus on their learning and growth.   I’ll summarize it by saying, count what counts. This helps get over some of the hurdles of some projects that have some slow progress.

In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns shares an approach for improving your self-endorsement.

Key Take Aways
Here are my key take aways:

  • Don’t dismiss your accomplishments.  Don’t  convince yourself that what you do doesn’t count..
  • Focus on your accomplishments.  Focus on what you’ve got done over what you haven’t gotten to
  • Learn to be self-endorsing. Talk back to your negative , self-defeating thoughts.

Don’t Convince Yourself That What You Do Doesn’t count
Burns says that you have to believe that what you do counts, otherwise it turns into a self-defeating habit:

“If you have this bad habit, you will naturally feel that you never do anything worthwhile. It won’t make any difference if you’re a Nobel laureate or a gardener – life will seam empty because your sour attitude will take the joy out of all your endeavors and defeat you before you even begin. No wonder you feel unmotivated! “

Focus on What You’ve Done Over What You Haven’t Gotten To
Burns says that you should focus on your accomplishments over focusing on your backlog:

“Another simple technique is to make a written or mental list of the things you do each day. Then give yourself a mental credit for each of them, however small. This will help you focus on what you have done instead of what you haven’t gotten around to doing. It sounds simplistic, but it works. “

Self-Endorsement
Burns suggests a two step process for reversing the destructive tendency and for improving your self-endorsement.

  1. Identify the self-downing thoughts that cause you to feel this way in the first place.
  2. Talk back to these thoughts and replace them with ones that are more objective and self-endorsing.

Example Self-Endorsement
Burns includes an example of self-endorsement:

Self-downing Statement Self-endorsing Statement
Anybody could wash these dishes. If it’s a routine, boring job, I deserve extra credit for doing it.
There was no point in washing these dishes. They’ll just get dirty again. That’s just the point. They’ll be clean when we need them.
I could have done a better job straightening up. Nothing in the Universe is perect, but I did make the room look a hell of a lot better.
It was just luck the way my speech turned out. It wasn’t a matter of luck. I prepared well and delivered my talk effectively. I did a darn good job.
I waxed the car, but it still doesn’t look as good as my neighbor’s new car. The car looks a hell of a lot better than it did. I’ll enjoy driving it around.


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Photo by Pinqu1963

4 Comments on "Learn to Endorse Yourself"

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  1. Sharmila II says:

    J.D., I really appreciated this blog and your other one which I stumbled across tonight ;) great timing even as an older post!
    This one as well as the other one which talks of positive patterns over negative was so helpful!
    I found that much of what you shared resonated with me:
    for example:

    * Don’t dismiss your accomplishments. Don’t convince yourself that what you do doesn’t count..
    * Focus on your accomplishments. Focus on what you’ve got done over what you haven’t gotten to
    * Learn to be self-endorsing.

    “If you have this bad habit, you will naturally feel that you never do anything worthwhile. It won’t make any difference if you’re a Nobel laureate or a gardener – life will seam empty because your sour attitude will take the joy out of all your endeavors and defeat you before you even begin. No wonder you feel unmotivated! “

    Into 2010~ This is right where I am :)
    thank you for encouraging me at the foundational level!
    many blessings to you!
    ~Jen

  2. JD says:

    @ Jen

    Dr. Burns is among the best when it comes to patterns and practices for feeling good. His book is full of gems of insight.

    The more I pay attention to endorsing myself, the more I realize how quick I am to focus on the gaps between where I am and where I want to be. It’s a balancing act though.

  3. Alice says:

    Thanks so much for listing the distorted thinking patterns, and listing some promising techniques I haven’t run across before. I’ll give these a try.

    One think I notice is that an essential component of Dr. Burns’ method is not mentioned. This is the 3-column technique where you write what occurred, your automatic thoughts, distortions, and rational responses. The main point is that you need to write these things, not just think about them, for the method to be successful.

    The writing is what makes Dr. Burns’ philosophies succeed where others fail.

  4. JD says:

    @ Alice — You’re right — writing it down is key. It changes our focus and it forces us to organize our thoughts versus stream of conscious. That makes all the difference in the world.

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