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How Do You Talk To Yourself?: The Relentless Boss Syndrome

© 1999, by Sharon Teitelbaum

Have you ever worked for a manager who responded to every piece of work you did by giving you a new assignment? Who never said things like:

Thank you.
I know you worked long and hard on this.
I appreciate all the effort that went into this.
Great work! On time and under budget!
I know you were here til the wee hours of the morning. Take the afternoon off!

A constant diet of "Now do this," without generous helpings of "Thank you" is not sustainable. Without acknowledgement, eventually, we stop working hard.

Not getting credit is de-motivating!

Are you a Relentless Boss to yourself?

How do you treat yourself? Do you regularly appreciate and celebrate your accomplishments? Or do you just step over them to get on with the next job? Iíll bet you could use a tune-up when it comes to patting yourself on the back. My new clients often discover they have a habit of saying to themselves, "Faster! Now do this! Faster! Now do this!" What do you say to yourself?

Most of us are poor at acknowledging ourselves. We distrust it. We fear that it leads directly to "resting on our laurels." But it's really just the opposite. "Thank you" is a critical part of the cycle. It's only after we really GET the "thank you" we are fully ready for the next task.

My clients often report that one benefit they get from coaching is this: I ask them to send me a list of what they've done since our last call. They are surprised to see how much they got done. Their feeling had been that they didn't do enough! Once they see the list, they say, "I really did a lot this week."

Getting credit is very motivating! Especially if the credit is from you.

If you find yourself feeling tired and stopped when it comes to a task that you really do believe in, stop and ask yourself: Are there accomplishments I haven't acknowledged? If so, give yourself a pat on the back. Really.

Coaching Tips for Acknowledging Yourself
Here are some practical, easy ways you can acknowledge yourself.

1. Keep a success journal. Every night write down what you accomplished or completed that day.

2. When people ask, "How are you?" say something like, "Great. I recently . . . (lost 3 pounds, finished my taxes, joined a dating service . . . )."

3. Buy some pre-stamped postcards. When you finish a major job, send yourself a signed card in the mail that reads, "Congratulations on getting the yard cleaned up. Great work!"

4. When you reach a milestone, celebrate it with other people.

5. Start a file called "Reward Ideas." Collect ideas for large and small ways to celebrate your accomplishments. Then use them! Some starter ideas:

Walk or run with a friend
Have a glass of wine with dinner
Go to a sports event
Take yourself to a movie matinee
Buy yourself a new toy
Take a relaxing bath with music, candles, & bubbles
Make a donation to your Hawaii fund

6. Find a buddy who also wants to get better at this. Have a weekly phone call where you each rave about what you did that week. No other conversation is allowed during this call.

7. Keep an "I DID" list at home and at work. This is the counterpart to your "To Do" list.

8. Take a friend, colleague, or family member out to lunch to mark an accomplishment. Tell them what the occasion is.

9. Make a list of your 25 proudest accomplishments, from any part of your life. Post it where you will see it daily.

10. Acknowledge yourself for finding your way to The Entrepreneurial Parent!

Sharon Teitelbaum is a Personal Coach in practice since 1995. She works with women and men at midlife, people in career change, professionals, and individuals seeking life balance. In prior careers, she was a training and education specialist in the corporate world, and a systems analyst and database developer in a research firm and in her own business. Married for 25 years, she is the mother of 2 amazing young women. You can reach Sharon by Phone: 617-926-8393, Fax: 6171-924-4818, Email: [email protected] and at her Website:

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