Remember to see how good you are at stuff

This is as much a reminder to me as to you!

I find that we often don’t think we are successful or clever at something because the stuff we have done well at often comes easily to us.  I remember being guilty about revising English, because Maths and Physics was harder.  One of my resolutions for this year is to blog more, because I enjoy it, and not immediately force myself to do the marketing stuff that I enjoy less.

Our children are just as susceptible, as some will worry about what they can’t do, rather than what they can do.  It’s fine to be humble, but it’s a tricky balance to maintain between humble and unconfident.

Sometimes, we don’t rate what we achieved because we had to work so hard at it.  I worked for 13 yrs in a big software company, and became a well known expert globally.  But I didn’t rate myself, because I felt it was partially because I had worked hard and been there a long time, rather than computing coming naturally to me.  So I often don’t see what other people see, when they think I’m successful because I have a blog and a website that I built myself.  I just see that technorati still scares the hell out of me, and I can’t get my google analytics working quite right!

I got a couple of lovely emails from people over the last few weeks, saying well done and how successful I was.  Initially I just looked at them and thought that they were not seeing the ‘real picture’.  But I’ve decided to see my success more from now on.  I’m pretty good at some things, and in comparison to others I’ve done really well.  There are people better than me at marketing/sales/techie stuff but there are also people worse off.  There are people with more clients, who make a lot more money (just making a profit is my challenge!), but I’ll get there.  We are actually all as successful as each other, it’s just that it is in what we prioritise and value in our lives.

So, I’m going to write myself a list of where I’m successful and keep it with me.  It’s going to include the obvious, but also the stuff that I had to work a little harder at, and the stuff that comes easy to me.  It’s even going to include the stuff that I did nothing in order to get, like having good friends and a great brother.  Because it might seem like I did nothing in order to get them, but other people don’t have that.

Where are you successful?  If you ever worry about yourself, then take some time out over the next couple of weeks and write it down (writing it down is magic, it’s not enough to put it in your head).  If you are one of the Mums working through my full ‘from frantic to fulfiled’ program at the moment, check out Step 3: there’s a whole much more detailed section on success and how to see that you have been successful all through your life, and that everyone is as successful as everyone else.

If you child worries about how they are doing, help them to see the whole picture.  If they are comparing themselves to a bright child, get them to look around the room and see that there are other children at the same level or below them.  If academics is not there thing, have a look for another activity outside of school that they can be really good at and feel proud of.  Remember to remind them of where they are great and what they are good at.  But be truthful.  If you over compensate (which does depend on age, because we do praise them for pooing when they are babies), they will either not trust you, or end up auditioning for X-factor when they are tone deaf!

4 comments

  1. Loved it! Reminded me of a yoga course I went on at a lovely retreat center in NY called Omega. On the last day we had a piece of paper stuck to each of our backs and we all went around writing on the back of each others backs what we liked and admired about that person. All these years later I still carry that piece of paper around with me to help me out in the times I loose my balance in perception about myself ( and I do that more often than I like to admit ,lol). I will now also add what you suggested – expand on my list to included those other bits I have not considered before :):):):)

    1. LoL, we had to do the same thing at Oracle, but we also had to write what we didn’t like – how messed up is that! One person liked that I was bubbly, the other hated it ;o)

  2. This reminds me of someone I interviewed for a newspaper article who was talking about why women don’t tend to be as successful in the workplace as men. He said men will always take credit for their work (and someone else’s if they can!) whereas women, in general, tend to try to share credit or duck it by saying, “Oh, I got lucky” and “It was a team effort.”

    It really struck a chord with me because last year I organised a fairly big awards ceremony almost single-handed. And when I started to meet with sponsors this year and they congratulated me, I’d find myself saying, “Yes, I was really fortunate…” and “Oh, it was just good timing…”

    The truth is I worked hard and I was good at it. I did something really cool. But it’s very hard to say that out loud, isn’t it?

    1. Yep, totally saw the same behaviour when I worked in Oracle. The men would walk in and say how fab they were, and the women would talk about where they could improve. At that time they did some analysis and there was a £10-£20k difference in salaries between men and women of the same level.

      Problem is, we are our own worst enemies too. Whereas men can use the old boys network to help each other, and compete with each other happily, us women see a lack of power, so we criticise those that get it, and bitch to get more. I’m really hoping to one day get well enough known to turn that around – mind you, I’ll have to ‘see’ a hell of a lot more success then ;o)

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