My coaching client, Jill (name changed to protect her time-traveling identity), came to our session feeling scared and worried. She also had our old friend self-doubt playing in her head.

She had been working on a new feature for one of her company’s flagship software products. She was set to present the feature to a team of senior software engineers and her manager.

And she was freaking out.

What if what she had created wasn’t accurate? What if it did not work as anticipated? What if they asked all kinds of questions and she didn’t have all the answers?

She was playing the worst-case scenario in her mind. Why?

This could very well be related to something that begins to develop when humans are as young as 1-year-old … negativity bias.

What is Negativity Bias?

According to an article in verywell mind we tend to:

  • Remember traumatic experiences better than positive ones.
  • Recall insults better than praise.
  • React more strongly to negative stimuli.
  • Think about negative things more frequently than positive ones.
  • Respond more strongly to negative events than to equally positive ones.

We evaluate past situations first by what went wrong or, in future situations, we imagine all the things that might go wrong.

This is very useful when we have our learning hat on and we are looking for ways to improve and learn from things we have done.

It is also very useful for planning for potential pitfalls. In human evolution using our negativity bias helped to keep us safe.

But Jill was already safe. What she needed to do was put the brakes on the negativity bias thought pattern.

She needed to become a time-traveling woman in tech.

Try This: Steps to Becoming a Career Time Traveler Like Jill  

Though there is some evidence that animals have an imagination, humans corner the market on it. To become an accomplished time traveler, I asked Jill to travel to the day of her presentation and get very specific about what was happening. She also could only imagine that only good things are happening.

  • What time of day was it?
  • What was she wearing?
  • Who was in the room?
  • How is she feeling before she starts to present?
  • How is she feeling now that she has successfully presented?
  • Imagining compliments and kudos, what would people be saying to her?
  • When you think about it, how likely is the best-case scenario to happen over the worst-case?
  • If we have such a strong imagination, why not use it for our benefit?
  • Why not travel into our future and imagine the best-case scenario?
  • If we are imagining the best happening does that increase the likelihood that good things

Ready to imagine your next great career? Sign up a Career Strategy Session today.