As homeworkers, we often have no one else to talk to so we are more likely to listen to our mind chatter, our self-talk. Life Coach & NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) Master Practitioner Faith Hill, a homeworker herself, explains why it is imperative to master our self-talk to maintain a productive and positive mindset when working from home.
The way you talk to yourself has a huge impact on your mindset and therefore, on how successful you feel.
That voice in your head always has something to say whether it be good or bad. Plus, when working alone, this voice seems to increase in volume for many of us.
Some call it the ‘monkey mind’ as it chatters away, unruly like a monkey in the jungle. Being able to manage the voice — your self-talk — takes time and effort but once mastered, it works wonders for positivity and productivity levels.
Rewiring your brain for a positive mindset
A key teaching in NLP is that: the brain believes what you tell it the most.
Read that again: the brain believes what you tell it the most.
This means that if you regularly tell yourself you are not good at working from home (you think this because you spend time on social media, do the laundry in the middle of the day etc), your brain believes that you are not good at working from home.
If you repeatedly tell yourself how good you are at something, for example, multi-tasking, your brain will believe you are good at multi-tasking. This gives you kudos and helps your confidence and productivity to grow.
Be aware of your self-talk language
Awareness is the first step to helping create a positive mindset when working from home. By become aware of the language you use, you can start to control it. It’s about being able to notice when the voice is getting unruly and picking up on what it is saying.
When the messages you tell yourself are negative, your mindset will be negative.
For example, if whilst brushing your teeth in the morning your self-talk says: ‘Today is going to be a nightmare.’ This sets you up for a bad day from the beginning.
With awareness, how about adjusting this to: ‘Whatever today throws at me, I can handle it with ease because I am organised and good at what I do.’
By becoming aware of our internal messages, we can make positive adjustments.
Many of my clients use ‘I should’ in their self-talk;
‘I should spend more time at my desk.’
‘I should stop doing the housework when I’m supposed to be working.’
‘I should split my time equally between my clients.’
Do you use phrases like this a lot too?
If you switch should to could, you are no longer bullying yourself and you start creating a choice. The brain loves to have choices. For example;
‘I should spend more time at my desk’ becomes: ‘I could spend more time at my desk.’
Notice the choice created here: I could spend more time at my desk, OR I could not spend more time at my desk.
‘I should stop doing the housework when I’m supposed to be working’ becomes: ‘I could stop doing the housework when I’m supposed to be working’.
Everything becomes a choice with ‘could’.
Challenge your self-talk for a positive mindset
Maintaining a positive mindset when working from home is not always easy because the voice in your head will gabble on for hours if left to its own devices and you don’t keep it in check.
How often do you find yourself at your desk staring into space, with a story or scenario running through your head? And with that story or scenario comes feelings, perhaps of anxiety, stress, lack of confidence, fear.
To create a more positive mindset, you can challenge your negative self-talk, or challenge the stories you tell yourself.
I have four questions for you to ask yourself to challenge your self-talk. They will enable your mind to look at things differently:
- Is there any actual evidence for what I’m thinking?
- Is there a more positive way of looking at this?
- Am I really keeping everything in perspective?
- Can I do anything to change what I’m feeling bad about?
I find it valuable to have these questions written down at hand so I can refer to them when my mind is in overdrive and it is stopping me moving forward.
Be kind to your self when working alone
Is what you say to yourself actually unsupportive, negative, demeaning?
Do you hear yourself saying things like:
“I’m terribly disorganised.”
“What on earth was I thinking?”
“I’ll never be able to succeed.”
“I am stuck in this <insert any terrible situation> forever and I’m just going to have to live with it.”
When you become aware of the nature of your self-talk, you can stop and ask yourself: “Would I speak to a friend like that?”
The truth is, it’s highly unlikely you would, even if you have truly honest friendships.
You probably wouldn’t tell a friend they are terribly disorganised; that they’ll never be able to succeed, or that they are stuck in a terrible situation/job/relationship forever.
Next time you find yourself stuck with negative messages, speak to yourself as you would a friend with only kindness, love and support.
Give yourself some praise
Isn’t it nice when someone praises us or our efforts? We like to bask in a shower of “Well done!”, “Congratulations!” and, “You’re amazing!”
Instead of waiting for external gratification or validation from someone else – which doesn’t always come – you could pat yourself on the back when something good happens.
Give yourself permission to congratulate yourself; it can help maintain your positive mindset when working from home. You may have won a new client, finished a project on schedule or saved yourself a lot of money by researching a big purchase beforehand.
Praise yourself even for your small efforts, such as ticking off a longstanding action off your to-do list, having a chuckle with a client on the phone or even just avoiding facebook until after lunch!
As well as practising this throughout the day, this is also a nice practice to do at bedtime. Your mind will naturally scan the day’s happenings before going into sleep mode. As you mindfully review your day, give yourself a ‘well done’ for all your achievements, big or small.
There is no such thing as failure
Did you know that there is no such thing as failure? This is one of the NLP Beliefs of Excellence and a good thing to remind yourself when feeling fear.
You cannot fail at anything: at launching a new client service, at writing a book in a new area of interest, at delivering a presentation or even at finishing an online course.
What you deem as failure is actually the experience providing you with feedback on how you could approach it next time.
If you do not achieve the result you wanted, the situation in hand has given you feedback on how to do it differently next time.
Someone once said to me: “Ah, I failed at my first marriage.” But no, their first marriage gave them feedback for how to live their second marriage!
Working from home is a time for continuous learning — and you learn from feedback.
Faith Hill is a Life Coach and Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). She works from home and runs her private coaching sessions and programs online.
In addition to helping clients redesign their lives away from corporate life, she works with people who have already set up their own business and need support to maintain their success, mindset and motivation.
For more tips and insights around maintaining a positive mindset as well as feeling reassured and less alone when you work from home, subscribe to The Homeworker magazine for a quarterly dose of practical and emotional support.