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22nd March 2013

‘Fighting your corner is easy – if you are used to it.’

‘Fighting your corner is easy – if you are used to it.’ 1

On Monday 18th March 2013, Shelly Rubinstein featured in an article by Rhymer Rigby in the Financial Times, Careerist column. The article was based on a recent interview with Shelly about standing up for yourself at work and targets why people struggle with this and what they can do to address the problem.

As pointed out by Shelly; “It tends to be about self-esteem. People put themselves down and their self-belief falls, so they put themselves down even more.” Such problems can culminate in a cycle of negative cognitions that can be difficult to escape from and thus, the individual is no closer to tackling the issue due to low self-esteem and low self-confidence continuing to affect their behaviour.

The principles of Cognitive Behaviour Coaching (CBC) aim to change self-defeating thoughts, behaviours and attitudes by recognising the effect that underlying emotions can have on their actions. Developing an awareness of this is the first step towards tackling the problem as acknowledging negative thoughts and emotions means one can better control and counteract them with positive thinking. As advised by Shelly, in situations where one faces criticism; ‘don’t engage emotionally and keep calm’. Whilst it may at first be difficult to take emotion out of it, learning to modify self-defeating thoughts and instead recognising that such comments from others can be perceived as constructive, can enhance positive reactions.

Not only does CBC aim to improve weaknesses, it also builds on one’s strengths. Keeping up with techniques to challenge negative cognitions can build into habit and once it is established by the individual that they can stand up for themselves and say ‘No’ when they need to, this will instigate a boost of confidence for future situations. Soon enough, behaving in this way will progressively become more natural. This will ultimately help them to become more resilient and stand firm at work.

Click here to view the Financial Times article ‘Standing up for yourself’.