This morning, I found myself in a twitter mini-coaching session about self-doubt and achievement and needing affirmation. And it showed me just how skewed our perceptions of ourselves can be. While I was chatting with my friend, I could think of several really kick-ass things she has accomplished just based on our most recent conversation. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders (through twitter, somehow) and remind her of how awesome she is. But, again, I did the coachy thing and tried to point her down a path to realizing that for herself.
So I started really thinking. Why is it that we discredit our own accomplishments? Why is it that we have difficulty seeing our own awesomeness?
I have two newly-developed theories. So this isn’t exhaustive. This is just what came to me between my last stop and my lunch break.
I think we take our gifts for granted. If I’m gifted at something, I don’t have to work as hard as I think I should have to to achieve. So clearly the achievement doesn’t mean as much because it wasn’t incredibly difficult. The coaching practice I’ve built over the last year? Big deal! I’ve had fun. I’ve had to learn to manage my time, but the coaching itself comes so easy to me. So I totally discredit the achievement of the practice I’ve built. It is almost like I think I have to conquer a weakness to really achieve. Where, in reality, I just need to continue to build my strengths and my gifts. Just because the struggle wasn’t as difficult as I expected doesn’t mean that I should be any less proud.
I think our perspective changes. So many achievements come out of commitment that turns into routine. So by the time we have achieved the big goal, we have already found a bigger goal to chase. Let’s say that I want to save money – $500 to be exact. I make my plan. I budget. The first few weeks are rough. I have trouble turning down Starbucks because I am being bratty. But then I keep turning down Starbucks and I continue eating my meals at home. And then I decide that I can also cut my beauty budget in half and still be happy. I take little steps repeatedly that really add up. After a few months, BAM. $500. But I don’t celebrate it like I thought I would because I want to keep going. So I make a new goal and immediately start pursuit. Growth doesn’t stop, and with life-long habits, there isn’t really ever an ending. I always see ways I want to improve even at things I am already good at. And I think that messes with my sense of achievement. Because I can always be better, I don’t often take the time to see where I am doing really well.
So what am I missing? Why do you think we have trouble recognizing our strengths and achievements?
Don’t forget! My January coaching offering – Eunoia – starts on Monday! Let’s pursue our needs in a different way this year! Several options for involvement. An awesome time will be had by all. Click here for more details!