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Acknowledge your abilities instead of running away from your ambition

PippaThis is Pippa. We’ve just had an interesting few minutes of me saying, “Get your ball, Pippa,” with her running towards it, and then changing direction instead of actually picking it up, like I’ve asked her to. No prizes for getting that this is a clumsy metaphor for us when we are struggling at work.

It’s time to acknowledge your abilities, not run away from your ambition.

I am working with a couple of fab female coaches at the moment, both of whom have bags of confidence, but who also, like the rest of us, occasionally question how good they are, and after months of acknowledging their abilities, they suddenly run away from their ambitions, crying “No, I can’t do this. This is not good enough/I’m not good enough.”

Are you easily put off your ambition?

All it takes is an ill – timed, ill -placed comment (“You can’t be motivated by money” was one such gem….oh what utter bollocks) to make you start questioning your worth and feeling like a fraud. All that hard work you’ve done, on ensuring you know what you’re talking about can be brought into question. This is such a shame, isn’t it?

Comparison shopping

It’s quite common to play the comparison game, look at the other people around you and think that you’ll never be as good as them. But honestly, this is such a pointless exercise. How can you compare your unique take on your work and business with someone else’s? If you are so easily undermined, then it’s time to do some work on genuinely getting to know yourself, what you’re good at, and what you have to offer.

 

Resilience and understanding

These are the two strengths you need to be able to acknowledge yourself and really know what you’re about and how the world wants what you have to offer. It’s hard to acknowledge your abilities and talents when you’re not sure what they are.

So, this is where a good old SWOT analysis comes in handy, the scourge of every business trainer’s life. I’m not going to tell you how to fill this in, there are loads of resources on the internet for this (try Businessballs if you’re stuck). Instead of measuring yourself against your peers, understand and know what you’re about.

Strengths and weaknesses

I know what my strengths and weaknesses are. Some of my weaknesses make me feel occasionally a bit insecure, you know, I’m human. But if I can do something about them, I do, and if I can’t change them, I don’t worry about them. I play to my strengths instead. But I know them. I know myself and what I’m good at.

So how about you? Do you underestimate yourself? Answer this honestly, and not from the point of view from someone who may be dwelling on insecurities right now; what is it that you’ve done, you know, you’ve worked on and achieved?

One of my clients has done an exercise with me on writing down all her achievements, big and small, from the earliest she can remember to today. Now, we can only assess achievements as big or small based on our own frames of reference, so this is why it’s useful to note everything.

My Grade 2 recorder exam when I was 8 was a bit of an achievement, because I hated playing the bloody thing. My return to university is a big achievement on the road to my goal of a PhD. It’s all relative, but it’s all relevant. We are not just as good as the last thing we did. So, what do you know? How can you capitalise on your strengths and abilities? It’s a waste to let them just sit there, wouldn’t you say?

My client has been known to say, “But this is just what I do! Of course I’m supposed to be good at it!” Well….durr. That’s an extremely backhanded way of acknowledging how good she is, but she’s sort of done it; we’re just getting that particular way of speaking out of her vocabulary, so she realises it’s actually her she’s talking about.

Modelling behaviour

Think of someone in your network that you admire. What stops you from copying them? I don’t mean being a creepy stalker and turning up to an event in the same outfit, but looking at how they achieved their successes. I am willing to bet cold, hard cash that at some point, they’ve not felt good enough, or they’ve felt like a fraud on their journeys, but instead they’ve chosen to acknowledge where they’re really good, where they can improve, and what they are powerless to change.

This is all helpful on the road to knowing yourself and building up your own case for courage, acknowledgement and achievement.

Here’s a thing to try too; every bit of good feedback you get, keep hold of it. Take it out and look at it when you’re feeling unsure. It works wonders.