Spring is a time of change and a time of growth. Are you ready to create lasting change at work or in life? Then you won’t want to miss our Change Conqueror virtual workshop in April 15!
In this era of eating at home more, it got me thinking about labels. They are on all our canned goods and help us identify what’s inside the can. Black beans here. Corn there. Have you ever opened a can without a label? It can be very disappointing to get canned vegetables when you were hoping for spaghetti o’s!
Labels also are used to get us to want things. Marketers know we’re drawn to fancy labels, bright colors, and interesting names. Sometimes, nothing changes about a product except the label and it’s enough to entice us to buy that product. New and improved! 33% more! All natural!
But we don’t just give labels to products. Have you thought about the labels we give to people? Or the labels people give to us? When we’re living into our personal brand and showing up at work the way we want to be perceived, it can be positive labels. When we’re under stress, overworked, and experiencing anxiety, we might not show up as our best selves and that makes it more likely that someone else will label us negatively.
Do you know someone who is enthusiastic? When you’re excited about what they’re excited about, it’s easy to label them enthusiastic. But… when we’re tired or not interested in their topic, we start to label them as too much, over the top, just so extra. Their enthusiastic behavior doesn’t change, only our perception of it does. One label is positive, the other is negative.
Perseverance is a trait we tend to celebrate in athletic events, but far less so in a business context. Today’s workplace wants adaptable workers, those that can adjust and change quickly as new information is learned. I think we need a balance of perseverance and adaptability, but when adaptability is valued more, we have a tendency to label perseverance negatively: slow, unable to change, stubborn even.
Has anyone ever been rude to you at work? Yup, me too. Easy to label anyone that is rude as having no manners, a jerk, or worse! But maybe they are under a lot of stress or having a bad day.
We don’t limit our labeling to products and people… we do this for situations too. Think about your environment if you’re lucky enough to be at home during a global pandemic. Are you labeling your situation as much needed family time? Or forced to cancel plans? Quiet downtime or isolation and loneliness?
The more we tell ourselves a negative label, the more we’re going to feel negative toward that person or thing.
Right now, being in confined spaces whether by ourselves or with others has the potential to bring out our negative labeling more (boring, noisy, undisciplined) and we need to work extra hard to show people compassion and use positive labels (a chance to learn something new, energetic, interested in many topics). It’ll create more harmony in your relationships and make all those things that have been annoying you far less annoying!
The more we tell someone they’re a screw up, the more likely they are to screw up. The more we call someone lazy, the less likely they are to do. The negative labels have a way of bringing out the worst in people, where the positive labels help people live into their strengths. It’s as true for our children as it is for our co-workers. If you’ve got someone that you’ve been labeling in a negative light, maybe it’s time to put a “New and Improved” sticker on your mindset and change to a more positive label! Try it for your current circumstances and see how they transform too!
#PositiveAction What label can you change from negative to positive to transform your experience today?