Pep talks and bribery FTW!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Confession: I like to give myself pep talks in the morning when I'm getting ready for work. Dorky? Extremely. Effective? I think so. In all seriousness, I feel more focused and more energetic and positive on days when I give myself a bit of coaching and encouragement bright and early.

Mind you, this is not me staring at my reflection in the mirror engaging in some kind of solo abusive Glengarry Glenross monologue, and it's no New Age hippy-dippy shit. I'll be brushing my teeth or putting on mascara, and I'm thinking..."Yep...I'm going to kick ass today."

Then I'll think of a couple specific challenging things I've got coming up; i.e. a tough client call that's in my calendar, or a horribly tedious document I need to piece together, and I'll tell myself "The call's going to go really well. I'm going to put notes together beforehand and we'll just go through the list and it'll be over before I know it. I'm going to finish my report by 3:00 and then I'm gonna have coffee with hot chocolate in it while it's being proofed. In nine hours this will all be over and I'll be home watching The City and wondering why I was stressed at all."

Guess what? That's usually exactly what happens. I don't know why, or how, but that 90 seconds of thinking good thoughts in the morning can make all the difference and keep a crazy day from going completely off the rails.

I think thinking positive thoughts has much the same effect as receiving a compliment or encouragement from a friend or coworker. It can be just the boost you need to get through a tricky situation. And the best part is, in nine or 10 or 14 hours, your workday WILL be over. The document that seemed so daunting on Monday is a thing of the past come Thursday. Next week, you probably won't even remember the client meeting that's giving you so much grief today.

When all else fails, bribery is golden. For me, it's hot chocolate in my coffee--that's my big work reward for doing my shitty task du jour. Until the job is done, it's water or regular coffee or green tea (gag) but once the worst item is off my to-do list, get the eff out of the kitchen because mama's coming in and she wants her hot chocolate fix. The exception is Friday afternoons, when beer o'clock rolls around (yes, we have a beer keg at the agency). On Friday afternoons I sometimes reward myself with a nice cold brewski or three just for surviving another week.

So go ahead...give yourself a nerdy pep talk in the morning, stick a smiley Post-It on your bathroom mirror, or write yourself a little note of encouragement on your desk calendar. There is nothing wrong with some positive reinforcement and good vibes, no matter what the source. You're awesome, capable, intelligent, and you're going to kick today's ass, no questions asked. There's a hot chocolate/beer/Diet Coke in the kitchen with your name on it!

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  1. Great post.
    Visualizing a future event in a positive light is something I learned when I used to play sports.

    I don't do the pep talk thing everyday, but I think I will start.

    Taking some time to meditate and refocus is something that could work for you as well.

  2. Love it!

    I do the pep talk thing on occasion, though mostly to calm myself down when I start to freak about something.

    My agency does the beer thing too... we've got a number of alcohol/beer clients and our CEO is an awesome drinker so we've got a full bar on Fridays! If we're lucky we sometimes start at 10am with mimosas ;)


  3. Thanks Anthony! I have thought about meditating but it doesn't feel like something I can find time to do...but I'm sure there are benefits!

    Ginger...I'm jealous...we had mimosas at Christmas time but normally just beer o'clock Fridays at 4!

  4. Wow! Amazing post. I never thought about doing that before, just for everyday things. I would do it right before concerts. But now I am going to start doing pep talks in the morning.


  5. I've noticed that I've been becoming severely irritable and cross with my employer (the only other person in our office.) As I walked up the path to work this morning, I said, "Now, you're going to be good today, right? You're going to be a good boy. Be good, please. Be good."

    What the fuck is wrong with us?

    By the way: it didn't work. I was snipey as all shit. Maybe I should try bribing myself. Or cutting.