Showing posts with label Give Yourself Credit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Give Yourself Credit. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Do You Give Yourself Full Credit?

The dentist had just finished replacing an old filling for me. After finishing, he remarked, “Gosh, you were so calm and relaxed during the procedure. Most people tense up and get very agitated when I’m working on them.”

I explained that I used a relaxation technique I first learned in a childbirth preparation class more than 26 years ago, before the birth of my daughter. Focus on your breathing, and you’ll be distracted from the pain and discomfort that may be going on in other parts of your body.

What surprised me was that my dentist, who’s been in practice for more than 30 years, wasn’t aware of this simple strategy. I encouraged him to describe it to patients when they first sit in the chair, to help them experience less stress during their procedure.

As I left the dentist’s office and reflected on this brief exchange, I realized something important: the need to give myself more credit for the knowledge and experience I have – and to share it with others.

I started thinking about people who specialize in teaching meditation and other relaxation techniques. Usually, they’ve studied and practiced them for years, so they’re true experts. I have a thimble’s knowledge to their bucketful. Even so, my dentist’s response showed that I have learned more than I was giving myself credit for.

Too many times, we observe and admire expertise in others and minimize our own. In an earlier post, "Stop Comparing Yourself to Others,” I cautioned against this destructive tendency. The other side of the coin is to give yourself full credit for what you do know so you can use it to benefit yourself and others.

How often do you assume that what you have to offer is something everyone knows? The truth is, you have unique knowledge and experience that you’ve acquired during your life. And others desperately need this wisdom. Look for opportunities to reach out to someone who could benefit from your words. You won’t have to look far, I promise you. And you’ll enrich two lives in the process.

"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?" - Benjamin Franklin