Reframing negative biasNov 07, 2022
As human beings, we tend to be our own harshest critics. Last week I was on a mentorship call with one of my clients when she said “I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t done more in my business”.
My immediate response: “Why?”
“I just feel like I should be further ahead and I thought you’d be disappointed in the lack of work I’ve done since our last call.”
Me: “But I’m actually proud of all the work you’ve done since our first call…”
So why as humans are we so negatively biased? Why are we so quick to shed light on all of our shortcomings, but slow to give credit to our success?
One of my jobs as a coach or mentor is to reframe the negative bias - which can serve as an unmotivating or discouraging characteristic - and positively frame the success or progress made with my clients. It’s amazing how conditioned we have become to point out what went wrong vs highlight what went right.
Your habits become your actions. If you remain in a negative bias mindset, you will only see the negatives. When you are able to shift to the positive, you start to recognize the empowerment that happens within your organization or even yourself.
Think of some of your recent interactions: How do your clients talk about their progress? How does your team view their work? If negative, is that aspect coming from the top of the organization? If so, time to reframe.
Here’s some strategies I use to help reframe negative bias to positive:
- Simply start by shifting away from what went wrong to what went well.
- Expand the time horizon - we aren’t going to “win” everyday. But, we classically overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year. Use this concept to your advantage.
- Share your own wins with your team or with your clients. Human behavior is contagious. You’ve heard the phrase “you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” - you have the opportunity to influence those around you with your words and actions.
- Be your biggest fan. Time to start championing yourself in this journey. This shit is hard. Give yourself credit when credit is due.
I’ll leave you with this: in a society filled with judgment, disappointment, urgency, and negativity you have the opportunity to motivate yourself and those around you with a positive mindset and view. Respect the human element of those you interact with and see what starts to change.
Interested in learning how to apply this to your clients?