By the time Rachael O’Meara took her sabbatical from Google, she was feeling pretty down on herself.
While she’d once been a superstar employee, in the past few months her boss had told her in no uncertain terms that she wasn’t meeting expectations.
As she writes in her new book, “Pause: Harnessing the Life-Changing Power of Giving Yourself a Break,” she felt generally like a “miserable failure.”
During O’Meara’s three-month sabbatical — a.k.a her “pause” — she vowed to figure out what she really wanted to do professionally. The first — and perhaps the biggest — hurdle she’d encounter was ditching the negative self-talk.
One strategy she used to catch negative thoughts is incredibly simple:
“Add the word ‘historically’ to any statement about a limiting belief,” she writes in “Pause.” “‘I don’t ask for what I want’ becomes ‘Historically, I don’t ask for what I want.’ This helps shift to a more accurate, present-time belief.'”
What’s more, it helps you develop the confidence to ask for what you want — or to do whatever it is that you’ve historically been afraid of doing.
In “Pause,” O’Meara also shares the five-step strategy she used — and that anyone can use — to stop a cycle of self-doubt. She calls it the “TASER” technique:
“Tune in. When you hear one of your limiting beliefs, tune in. Catching it in the moment is ideal, but even after the fact is helpful.
“Acknowledge what you’ve heard and that these are familiar recordings your mind plays. Your brain is practicing what it knows and expects. … In the spirit of a kind and gentle caregiver watching over yourself, acknowledge what you’ve heard. Avoid beating yourself up about it.
“Shift this false belief to a new belief. This is a more accurate, conscious representation of yourself.
As an example, if your false belief is ‘I am not good enough,’ shift your new belief to the exact opposite. In this case, ‘I am good enough.’
“Express your new belief. … Say your new belief out loud, such as ‘I am enough’ (the opposite of your historical false belief). Express out loud any feelings, such as, ‘I feel fear right now’ or ‘I feel joy.’
“Repeat the process every time you catch a false, outdated belief surfacing.”
Part of what you’re doing here is demonstrating greater self-compassion, treating yourself like you’d treat a friend who was going through a rough time. Psychologists say practicing self-compassion can boost your resilience, or your ability to bounce back from stressful situations.
Ultimately, by changing your thought processes, you’ll start to change your approach to work.
After her pause, O’Meara returned to Google and successfully interviewed for another job, this time on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange team. She also trained as a transformational leadership coach.
Using these techniques, O’Meara writes, “you are clearing out the historical beliefs that no longer serve you.”
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