FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
“IT IS EASIER TO CONFESS A DEFECT THAN TO CLAIM A QUALITY”
I am well aware of my many faults and if I don’t remind myself of them, I know that someone (usually a person I am not particularly fond of) else will. In fact, I am sure that you also grew up with plenty of “fault finders” in your life. It started when we were being disciplined about not washing our hands before reaching into the proverbial cookie jar and followed us as we took our first steps of independence as we ventured out into the world as we entered grammar school. “Don’t do this”, “You can’t have that”, “Who do you think you are?”; the list goes on unendlessly until we finally stop trying to reach beyond our grasp. The day when we stop trying is a sad day indeed.
I remember when the tide changed for me. I had asked my supervisor why I/we never seemed to receive any feedback as to how we were performing at our given job. Her reply echoes what most of us are used to: ” If you aren’t getting any feedback, it means that you are doing everything well. So consider yourself “lucky” if we are silent.”
Really? I don’t think so. People need positive reinforcements. We need to know we have done well. Although I can measure my progress in some tangible ways like moving that much closer to a particular goal, I can not always accurately measure whether my effort was “over the top” or that the obstacles I overcame was amazing in relation to the resources I had at the time. Those very “intangibles” are often the fuel that propells to push myself beyond anything I could ever imagine myself doing.
That day marked me beginning to make a list each day of what I had done “right”. Instead of becoming my own worst critic (which is the rule for most of us), I became one of my most ardent “cheerleaders”. You might ask “How accurate can our own personal assessments be though?” My answer is “How accurate were our personal assessments when we were being self-critical?” As I found out, the “self truth” lies somewhere in the middle.
Like most things in life, it will take some time and practice before you begin to find a balanced self-view but it is a habit well worth cultivating. I have found that the best way to begin this self-assessment is to set a realistic goal, work towards that and after you accomplished it, review the process and your progress towards attaining your goal. The more that you do this the more self-knowledge you will have as you learn both your personal assets and your “areas needed for improvement”.
Soon, you will find you seek less advice from others but turn more to yourself for how you need to proceed in achieving a personal goal. Now, when I read or listen to others (including experts in any given field) I do a “checks and balances” against my own personal experience. Did mine parallel theirs? If not, what was different and what was alike? Answers to those questions enable me to then fine-tune my personal journey as I take the next step.
So, starting today, I encourage you to begin to “claim your qualities” as you become all you wish to be.