The only problem was that there were five minutes left before I was due to meet with the stakeholders. The pep talk would have to come from me.
So I went to the bathroom, locked the door, and looked in the mirror. It felt silly to talk to my reflection at first. But the more I revved myself up, the more self-assured I became.
“I’ve done the research on this topic, and I’m prepared to share it,” I said. “I’m an effective communicator. People want to hear from me. My ideas matter.”
I’ll admit, the presentation wasn’t without awkward stutters or sweaty palms. But I remained confident through the entirety of the thirty-minute PowerPoint. Looking back, I know I have my positive affirmations to thank.
Positive affirmations, sometimes called mantras, are empowering statements that can provide motivation, encouragement, and reassurance.
There’s scientific evidence that they work. That’s why positive affirmations for work are useful for increasing your productivity.
One research in 2016 found that self-affirmation can both dampen pain and help people to maintain balance during threats—even a high-stakes PowerPoint presentation.((PubMed.gov: Self-affirmation Activates Brain Systems Associated With Self-Related Processing and Reward and Is Reinforced by Future Orientation))
Need a morale boost? Here are 9 of my favorite positive affirmations for work.
1. I Am Courageous to Face My Fears
First in this list of positive affirmations for work is telling yourself that you are courageous to face your fears.
Reaching your goals isn’t exactly a cakewalk. I re-learn that every time I give a high-stakes presentation or have a hard but productive conversation with a client or colleague. But courageously facing these intimidating scenarios propels you toward the career and life you envision and strengthens you in the process.
Don’t quite feel courageous yet? No problem. Take yourself by the hand and give yourself the pep talk you wish someone else would give you. You’ve done hard things before, and you can do hard things now.
2. I Have Drive and Motivation to Pursue My Goals
Perhaps you’re not into the project you’re working on at the moment. Maybe you’ve lost your zest for work altogether. No matter what’s zapping your energy, you can regain the motivation you’ve lost and channel it toward your strategic vision.
To do that, you’ll need to remind yourself that the drive you need to get things done doesn’t come from the outside. It comes from inside of you. Tell yourself that you can muster up the motivation needed to do your job well. (And, if needed, go take a walk and get some fresh air!)
3. I Can Transform Obstacles Into Opportunities to Better Myself
Whether you’re facing rejection, dealing with a new stressor, or on a tight deadline, obstacles at work can quickly drain your morale. But these difficult experiences don’t have to dictate your mood or your motivation, especially if you shift your perspective and remind yourself about the positive things obstacles have to offer.
Anytime you’re feeling discouraged at work, affirm to yourself that your current struggles are opportunities to learn, grow, and improve yourself. Once you wrap your mind around the importance of obstacles in personal development, you might find yourself growing less discouraged in the face of stress.
4. I Am an Example of Integrity, Even When No One Is Looking
Without a doubt, integrity is the trait I value most in others and myself. Great ideas, the perfect skill set, and all the right connections only get you so far. What really propels people ahead is character—when they do the right thing even when no one is looking.
That said, it’s not always easy to do the right thing. To remind yourself that integrity has a huge payoff—even if it doesn’t seem that way at the moment and even if other people around you aren’t conducting themselves with the same honesty and values you are.
Give yourself a pep talk about the importance of character regularly.
5. I Am More Effective When I Take Breaks for Self-Care
Stress is a common and expected experience in any job. But there’s a fine line between stress and burnout.
When stress becomes all-consuming and gives way to cynicism and hatred towards your job, you simply won’t be the productive, effective person you want to be.((The Conversation: Are you burnt out at work? Ask yourself these 4 questions))
To stave off stress and prevent burnout, remind yourself that taking time off for self-care (or simply integrating breaks into your day) isn’t lazy or selfish, but an important way to make sure you can keep doing your job with excellence. Positive affirmations for work go a long way to avoiding burnouts.
6. I Am Fueled by Passion for What I Do, Not the Desire to Prove Something
All of us are hard-wired to seek approval. And all of us have superiors, colleagues, and other people we want to impress. But when we’re motivated by “measuring up” or pleasing others, our work won’t be genuine—and, as a result, it won’t be as effective.
When I feel the itch to prove myself to others, I take time to remind myself that I started my company because I’m passionate about helping people with the product I created. Usually, that affirmation takes me back to my inner compass, which empowers me to make wiser decisions and, in the long-term, makes me far happier.
7. I Possess the Humility Needed to Ask Questions and Keep Learning
The best advice my college mentor ever gave me was this:
Never be too proud to ask questions.
Since then, I’ve prioritized asking questions about whatever makes me curious, even if it makes me look silly. Doing so has been a major help in my career, especially when I’m feeling stuck or uninspired.
Whether you’re curious about how something works or don’t understand someone’s instructions, remember that the answer to your question could bridge the gap between you and your career goals.
So, make a regular practice of affirming that humility isn’t a weakness, but a sign that you’re motivated to learn and grow into the person you want to become.
8. No One Is Better at My Job Than I Am
Thanks to LinkedIn and other social media outlets, it’s never been easier to keep tabs on what your college roommate or old colleague is up to, which means it’s also easier than ever to feel like you don’t measure up. Imposter syndrome is one example of how this insecurity manifests. ((Forbes: Imposter Syndrome — Why It’s Harder Today Than Ever))
If you’ve ever struggled with imposter syndrome—feeling like you don’t deserve your role or, worse, someone else would be better at it—focus on affirming that you belong exactly where you are.
Remind yourself that you’re in your specific role for a reason and that your experiences, skills, and the relationships you’ve built make you the best person for the job, no matter what anyone else around you is up to.
9. My Work Has Purpose and Transforms People’s Lives
It’s easy to lose sight of why your work is important. But positive affirmations for work can help you get back on track.
This disconnect can lead to loss of motivation and, ultimately, dissatisfaction at work. Take back your passion by reminding yourself of all the positive ways your work will impact people.
Maybe you’re on a team creating a product to make people’s lives more efficient. Maybe you brighten people’s day by serving coffee or food. In either case, you’re tangibly helping someone, and it’s important to remind yourself of that.
Doing so regularly can help refresh your “purpose” mindset, which in turn helps you to become more passionate, innovative, and committed at work—all of which will help propel you forward toward your goals.((Harvard Business Review: You’re Never Done Finding Purpose at Work))
Everyone faces problems in life and at work, and most people may lose morale at some point. But the important thing is how you face your problems. These positive affirmations for work are great starting points to helping yourself regain motivation and morale when facing setbacks.