It’s ok to tell yourself you’re great
Coaching and development consultant and Momentus founder James Perryman discusses the importance of recognising our own abilities and value when developing our careers.
If you’re a typical Brit you’ll be thinking, “No it isn’t!” But actually, not only is it OK, it’s also really important.
No matter what our walk of life, we all experience times when we doubt ourselves. We question if we’re good enough at our job, if we’re a good enough friend, a good enough parent, a good enough partner, a good enough team player. And it can only take a throwaway comment from someone – or nothing at all – to trigger those thoughts.
So, what can we do to handle these moments, or even to prevent them? Well, we can tell ourselves that we’re great. And how do we do that? We recognise our strengths and get ourselves in a positive frame of mind. Here’s how…
Think about what makes you feel electric
For anyone that has seen the film ‘Billy Elliott’ you’ll remember this. Billy is at a ballet school trying to qualify to attend. One of the assessors asks him, “What do you like about ballet, Billy?” He fumbles around for an answer for a bit and then says, “Because it feels like I’ve got electricity inside me.”
I can totally relate to that. Whenever I’m with a group of people, facilitating and leading a workshop with them, I’ve got the electricity inside me. I’m buzzing. I’m in my element. And I love it. The atmosphere in the room is great, the engagement is high. We’re having fun, while being focussed.
So, it’s a reasonable assumption to make that I must be pretty good at doing that kind of thing in order to create that environment – I’ll bank that as a strength of mine.
What makes you feel electric?
Ask other people what they value about you
Even better, if you have already done this recently, simply go back to what they said and remind yourself.
If you can’t do that, then getting regular feedback from people is really important in order to change your own ‘perceptions’ of what they think about you into ‘realities’.
You might ask someone thing such as:
- How would you describe me in three words?
- What do you value most about me and why?
- When have I surprised you?
Quite often we received feedback that we didn’t expect and it feels great to be recognised. Balance your questions, though, so that people have the opportunity to give you some feedback and insights to allow you to continue developing.
Spend time with someone that totally gets you
Amazing if you can see them in person, but if not then give them a call. Ask them how they are feeling and tell them how you are feeling.
If they’re the kind of person that totally understands you, listens, talks honestly and says what you need to hear, then its hugely likely that they think a lot of you. And there it is right there! That person thinks you are great just because you are who you are.
That conversation with them will lift you up, free you of the doubts and anxieties you were having and put you into a much more positive mindset.
Mentally step back and evaluate
If you’re feeling down, doubtful or anxious, it can be goof to take a mental step back from those thoughts and feelings and evaluate what is going on.
Has something happened to make you feel like this? If so, what was it and can it be addressed there and then? Can you also do something to prevent it happening again, or, find a strategy to prevent it manifesting into something big if it does happen again? Ask yourself “what is the worst that could happen?”
I’ll give you a very real example, i.e. the doubt and anxieties that I know I stumble across now and again.
I could be having a fantastic day, maybe working with a client, or attending a networking event, or doing some business development work. I’m feeling electric. I go to bed and sleep for a bit. I then wake up at 1am and start questioning myself. “What if I don’t get any more clients?”. “What if nobody likes the new things I’m working on?”. “What if I can’t pay my bills?”. An hour passes by of these thoughts and I’m then anxious that it’s now 2am and I’ve got my alarm set early to go the gym. “Should I sacrifice the gym for a bit more sleep?”. “Am I then going to get out of physical shape if I start avoiding the gym?” – do you see where that can all lead?!
I do one of two things. I start taking very deep breaths, visualise my breath going in and out and hopefully fall asleep. If that fails I take a step back and evaluate.
What if I don’t get any more clients? Well, I might have enough money in the bank to last another six months. That means I give myself four months to get more clients. If there are still none then, I go to plan B and step back into the contracting world for a while to bring some steady income in. That’s the plan. Can I do anything about that right there and then at 2am? No. But having stepped back and seen the bigger picture, I’m more at ease.
There are many more suggestions I could give but they start to depend on what exactly is going on (or not going on) for you, and that’s really where the coaching work starts. So, go get some feedback, get in touch with your best friend, step back, evaluate and feel electric.
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