Friday, January 28, 2011

Give Yourself Credit for the Small Victories

I’m not a technical person by nature. Fortunately, I’m married to someone who is. In fact, my husband Lee can do anything that involves assembling, taking apart, and repairing items. To me, he is an absolute genius in this area.

But I’ll never forget the first laser printer I got for my home office in 1990 because I assembled it and hooked it up to my computer myself. Granted, this was not particularly difficult. But the instructions weren’t quite as intuitive as the ones packed with computer devices today, so it was a real accomplishment for me to do this on my own.

The rest of the day I remember feeling really good about myself. I had stretched outside my comfort zone and worked something out on my own, without asking Lee for assistance. And my printer worked!

The important point is that I recognized and gave myself credit for this small achievement.

Too often, our self-talk is critical and judgmental, which leads to feelings of inferiority and a low sense of self-worth. We focus on what we haven’t done or on how what we have done falls short of our (often unrealistic) expectations.

The way to build your confidence is to be on the look-out for things you’ve done well in the course of your day, no matter how small, and recognize the accomplishments. You can’t rely on someone else to notice everything you do. And besides, you’re apt to discount their input if you don’t first recognize yourself the value of what you’ve completed.

So at least twice a day, take time to reflect on what you’ve done so far in that day that you are proud of. Maybe you’ve taken time to offer a kind word to a stranger, or you’ve made an important business call you’ve been putting off, or you exercised patience in a trying situation, or you took time to read to your child. All of these actions count. They have a positive impact on your self-image and strongly influence what you’ll do tomorrow and the next day.


  1. This is VERY important, because we aren't perfect. We will come up short many times a day, and to be sure we won't feel good about that. So when we do well, we need to acknowledge that, feel good about it...just to even the score!

  2. You're right, Denny. We are often so self-critical that we get out of balance. Thanks for your insight!

  3. Great article, thanks! I'm going to try this :)

  4. Thanks for your feedback, Oscar. Let me know how that strategy works for you!

  5. I am happy to read this-- after getting really distraught that I was struggling to run a short, one mile, trail yesterday afternoon, I realized that I did actually get out there are go for a run, which I am proud of! Focusing on and acknowledging that success was far more energizing than dwelling on the struggle.

    Thanks for another great post!


  6. Jodi, That was a very important insight you had. I'm glad this post helped you recognize what you did well. And you're right about the impact it has on your energy. I appreciate your sharing your story and positive feedback!

  7. I can so relate to your example. It tends to be the technical issues that knock me down faster than anything in my still new self-employed life. And living alone out in the country isolates me further. But after reading your post, I'm going to make myself a sign that says "Give yourself credit" and post it where I'll see it every day. In the past year and a half, I've taken a deep dive into small business, business brokerage, and social media and become competent in all. So the next time my router kicks out, reading my sign will be my first course of action!

  8. E.K., thank you for your positive feedback and honest comments. Learning to consistently give ourselves credit is a lifelong process!


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