A 10-Minute ‘Hack’ that Makes You a More Confident and Effective Writer

A 10-Minute ‘Hack’ that Makes You a More Confident and Effective Writer

Do you feel confident about your work every day? You can write about why you care about it. Lots of successful people will tell you how important it is to find your Why when you’re working on a big project. Neurological scans suggest it’s possible that values statements help us be more receptive to things like good advice and improving habits, because reflecting on values improves our sense of self-worth. In contrast, when people are operating from self-focused goals, they are more likely to feel confused, anxious, angry, envious, and lonely.” – Kelly McGonigal, The Upside of Stress Crocker’s research, as well as other studies, looks at how “bigger-than-self” goals can help offset toxic stress, including that caused by impostor syndrome. When you’ve spent time thinking about your values, you’re better able to sift through advice and come up with answers that make sense for you and for your business. So even if it sounds a little bit like an infomercial (good calls to action often do, because infomercials need to pay for that expensive air time), you can feel confident that you’re staying in your values lane. Values attract values. Have you ever tried making a values statement? How did it feel?

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A 10-Minute ‘Hack’ that Makes You a More Confident and Effective Writer

Are you producing the volume and quality of work that you want to? Do you feel confident about your work every day? And are you certain that your content resonates deeply with the audience you want to attract?

Most of us have days when we don’t feel 100 percent good about one (or all) of those questions.

What if I told you there was a 10-minute hack that could:

  • Radically improve your productivity,
  • Shrink impostor syndrome, and
  • Make your content more magnetic to the audience you want to attract?

Would you want to know more about it?

If this sounds kind of ShamWow, I sympathize. But there’s a simple, easy mindset intervention that’s well supported by psychological studies. And it’s well worth a few minutes of your time to find out if it will work for you.

According to one scholarly review of the research:

“Timely affirmations have been shown to improve education, health, and relationship outcomes, with benefits that sometimes persist for months and years.”
– Annual Review of Psychology, 2014

That intervention is what’s called a “self-affirmation statement.” It’s important to know that it’s not the same thing as Stuart Smalley’s: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.”

(That kind of affirmation can actually backfire and make problems worse, not better.)

To avoid the confusing term affirmation, I call this exercise a values statement. It’s easy to do, and it can have a big payoff.

How to do it

Find (or just think up) a list of abstract values.

Things like Patriotism, Faith, Family, Justice, Peace, Equality, Freedom, Creativity, Beauty, Connection, Friendship, Delight, Silliness, Serenity, or Joy.

Without wildly overthinking it, pick three or four that are important to you.

You can pick values you aren’t good at yet. For example, Serenity might be an important value for you, but you may currently be a pile of nerves. (Welcome to my world.)

I encourage you to leave aside values that you think you should care about. Don’t choose World Peace if that’s not a value that really drives you every day.

Now: Pick one, and write about it for 10 minutes.

You can write about why you care about it. You can write about how it plays out in your life. You can write about goals you have that would bring more of the value to you.

Just hold that abstract idea in your head for 10 minutes and write down how it’s kicking around in your brain at the moment.

That’s it. Easy.

Now … here’s how it can help.

1. Get traction on unproductive days

One thing I love about values statements is the way they can get me moving when I’m feeling stuck, cranky, or unmotivated.

Lots of successful people will tell you how important it is to find your Why when you’re working on a big project. Then they suggest a pile of time-consuming, energy-intensive tasks to figure that out.

All of that is probably a great idea. But let’s face it … if you’re feeling unmotivated right now, you’re not going to do all of that complicated stuff.

Ten minutes spent writing about any value that matters to you will help you feel energized. It will remind you of what gives your life meaning. And it will help you focus more on that, and less on the…

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