Home Social group Mike Clark’s Business Bites: Which version of you do you choose to bring to work?

Mike Clark’s Business Bites: Which version of you do you choose to bring to work?


Are you a thermometer or a thermostat when it comes to conversations? Photo / Unsplash


Choose three words that describe you in your best light.

Set a daily alarm on your phone with these three words and when it goes off, take the opportunity to check whether you think, speak and act in accordance with these attributes.

This is a simple yet excellent tool for facilitating higher performance. (Oh, and it’s also very difficult!)

As part of my ongoing development, I recently completed a high performance coaching certification. It was intensive. It was next level and exceeded my expectations. Always a good thing when you invest a lot in something and commit to start at 4am for a week, thanks to the session broadcast on Zoom in California!

On the one hand, there was nothing new, and on the other hand, the format, structure and in-depth questioning were insightful, positively thought-provoking and powerful. Often it is not what we are taught or asked of us, but how.

In my training, I often use the analogy of being a thermostat or a thermometer. Thermometers read the temperature and a thermostat regulates the temperature. Some people are like thermometers – with every conversation they strike up, they adjust to the tone and character of the conversation. If it’s miserable and negative, they’ll add their perspective on the subject to the conversation. They often feel depressed and negative. If it’s a good conversation, then they feel uplifted.

A thermostat regulates the temperature. People like these understand that where they focus their words and energy, they will lead others to do the same. Be it positive or negative focus and energy.

Most people can relate to working with someone and doing the daily check-in by watching the person walk in to see what version of them is coming to work – the grumpy version, the happy version, the angry version and irritated, etc. Working with people like that is exhausting. The saying walking on eggshells is often used.

Which version of you do you choose to bring to work, home, sports, church, or a social group? You have the choice. It starts with deciding who we will be when we get out of bed each morning. It’s easy to get carried away by the negativity swirling around us. We can do a lot to make sure the best in us emerges every day.

To choose what we read, watch and listen to before going to bed and when we get up. Observing our thoughts, words and attitudes – for example the attitude that I ‘have to’ go to work versus ‘I have to go to work’. I like the simple three-word challenge – kind of like a thermostat, it lets you have a set point, a set point of how you’ll behave and who you want to be. When we are clear about who we want to be, we can focus on being that person every day and that is who we will become.

What are your three words? Set an alarm and present your best self every day.

• Mike Clark is a director, lead trainer and facilitator at professional training company Think Right.