“It was bad,” she says. “If you’re like me, you hang on to those things.”
What we should do, though, is forgive ourselves and focus on the positive, says Fraser, who is currently working on her new book, Chicken Soup for the Administrative Professional Soul.
“You need to continually build up your self-esteem, and make sure you’re in a positive place. So even if you forget the boss’s name at a Christmas party, your self-esteem stays intact.”
Try these tactics:
1. Say affirmations. Put one on each of 10 index cards, and say them aloud when you need them. “Affirmations are powerful, because our minds don’t know whether it’s just a sentence or really happening,” says Fraser.
Tip: Use “-ing” words. “I am currently speaking with confidence and clarity to everyone I meet.” You may not feel confident in how you communicate, but by saying it aloud, you’ll become confident.
2. Ask, “Who are you?” Do this exercise with a trusted friend or partner. You can spend between 30 seconds and two minutes on it.
Here’s how: Your friend asks, “Who are you?” You give a one-sentence answer. Your friend asks again, “Who are you?” You give a one-sentence answer that sheds even more light on who you are. Keep going until the time is up. “As you start to peel the onion of who you are, you’ll start to treasure that person inside you,” says Fraser. “You aren’t just an Excel spreadsheet. You’re a very talented, special person.”
3. Cancel negative self-talk. When you’ve made a mistake at work, and your negative thoughts take center stage, erase them immediately. Say, “Cancel! Cancel! Cancel!” while doing a karate chop. Then figure out what you’ll do next time. “It helps us forgive ourselves” in a humorous way, says Fraser.
4. Choose words that step up to the plate. “Don’t use wishy-washy words like ‘maybe’ or ‘kinda.’ Those aren’t power words,” says Fraser. And they don’t reflect who you really are. Power words like “I’m confident that …” strengthen your image and your self-esteem.