Stop Calling Yourself Names

by Annie

in managing overwhelm, ruthless productivity

No Name Calling Week promotional sticker for 2013It’s No Name Calling Week.

Did you know that?

I just found out, while I was devouring every available editorial calendar template I could find (one of them had all kinds of interesting holidays and commemorative days and weeks listed).

And this one hit me hard.

Because one of the most insidious evil trolls working overtime to ruin your productivity?

Is you.

Well, your inner critic.

I will explain.

The Names We Call Ourselves

“I’m horrible at finance.”

“I SUCK at marketing.”

“I’m a terrible writer.”

These and other condemning declarations regularly come out of the mouths and off the fingers of solopreneurs who are struggling to get their shit done.

When I try to help them examine the root of what’s going on in that area of resistance, this is inevitably what comes out.

Basically: “I SUCK.”


Is unhelpful.

It’s actually harmful.

Here’s why. You’re labeling yourself, and by doing so, you’re putting yourself — the myriad, wonderfully complex totality of you — into a tiny, cramped little box that cannot possibly contain your multitudes.

What happens, over time?

Well, what happens to animals who’ve been caged for years, when the door to the cage is suddenly left open one day?

Often, they stay put in that cage.

You and I are also animals, and the cages we’re in have been built over the course of our lifetimes, by parents, teachers, peers, and ourselves.

I can’t do anything about the hurtful names that have been hurled your way — or mine — in the past. (I wish I could.)

But your contribution to your cage? That, we can fix.

By redefining and reframing, by being as absolutely objective as we possibly can be, by leaving behind every kind of thinking other than rational, logical thought, by swearing off catastrophizing and “always/never” thought habits …

We can not only open the door, but actually dismantle those cages.

Claim and Carve Out the Shame

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

Take a look at my bio for the PJ Productivity Twitter account:

being somewhat lazy by nature, I’ve learned from necessity how to get more crap done from my couch in a day than most peeps in those swank offices do in a week.

At first glance, some folks balk at that “somewhat lazy” thing. “Why are you calling yourself lazy?” they ask, genuinely perplexed. “Lazy people can’t be entrepreneurs or business owners.”

These people are well-intentioned, but they miss the point.

I’ve reclaimed the word “lazy.” It’s not a shaming label, but a simple objective statement.

See, I am lazy. I cannot stand to do more “work” (defined as “the crap I have to do but don’t passionately enjoy”) than absolutely necessary. That’s why I’m so good at helping other folks get their shit together and do things more efficiently — because I’m always looking for the better method, the more efficient workflow, the most streamlined system.

It’s not a shaming label. It’s a fact, and it’s what makes me good at my business of helping other people become more productive, and to find the time they need to do what compels and fascinates them.

How Labeling Yourself Disables Your Productivity

Why does it matter? Have I suddenly gone all touchy-feely pop-psych-o on you?

Nah, it really does have an impact on all the choices you make about how you spend your time.

Think about it: if you’ve told yourself you suck at something, are you likely going to be willing to do it?

Aren’t you more likely to start procrastinating? Telling yourself “it doesn’t really matter”? Finding a crapload of other things that are soooo much more important — like, cleaning out your clutter drawer in the kitchen?

What Names Are You Calling Yourself?

Are you calling yourself names? Are you willing to stop doing that?

Tell me in the comments!


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

alicia-joy May 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm

I couldn’t agree more. Growing up with a Mom who didn’t believe in sleep/TV/games or other “non constructive” habits, I was privy to hearing much negative self talk (yes, I said sleep). If my Mom didn’t accomplish 50 million things in the day, she would call her self a slacker.

Not that I don’t love my Mom to bits, but it did rub off. I started changing that habit some years ago, but every once in a while…it re-appears. And boy does it do a number on my mindset and results.

Great post. Thanks for the reminder.
alicia-joy recently posted..Demolishing the Myth of One True Passion


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