A couple of years ago I had a client who would take a coffee break around 10.30 and listen to Popmaster on Radio 2. If I was there I joined in. I always did pretty well and they asked if I had ever thought of going on the show. I shook my head. They asked why and I said ‘Because they always ask if you’ve met anyone interesting and I never have’. They looked at me as though I was bonkers. I thought about this as I was driving home and then I remembered the time I nipped out for a sandwich with a friend and saw Barry Manilow just walking down Long Acre in Covent Garden. And he said hello to us! And the time when I was 8 and stood on Ray Clemence’s* toe in Church Street and was terrified that I had injured him so severely that Liverpool would not win any cups that year and it would all be my fault. Amongst others, I have also met Sue Ryder, Princess Anne, Pope John Paul II, Kevin Keegan, various Olympians and once sat next to Brian Cox on a flight to Las Vegas (I’m not sure which of those is the most exciting tbh). When I stop and think, I have met and interacted with quite a few famous people and have some amusing tales to tell about the experiences.
Why am I telling you this? Because it’s a trivial example of what most women do, every day. We tell ourselves that our own experiences and achievements are not worth as much as everybody else’s and so we shouldn’t bother applying for that promotion, going after that big client or having a crack at Popmaster.
Psychologists call it discounting and it’s a big, big problem in my experience of working with women (and some men) over the last 7 years. When we discount our achievements, we fail to appreciate their true value and worth. We assume our skills and experience are ordinary. We think anyone could have done what we have, or we were lucky on the day, or it’s really no big deal or even though we did it once it was a fluke we’re really not as good as anyone else. Dismissing our abilities like that stops us achieving all that we’re capable of. You might now be thinking that everyone has a degree, or postgrad qualification or great experience or whatever your thing is, don’t they? Well no they bloody well don’t. In all areas of life, of all of those who could hypothetically do something, only a few actually manage to go and do it. If you’re one of them that’s a big deal. You should be proud of it and make use of it.
Here are my tips for starting to appreciate your own talents, expertise and achievements:
- Think of an achievement you’re proud of. Remember what you went through to get it, how hard it was, the sacrifices you made and how you felt when you heard you had been successful. That’s a great feeling (and one of my 3 ways to give yourself instant confidence by the way).
- Think about when you were starting out. If the 21-year-old you could see how it would all turn out, how would she feel? I bet she would be very, very proud.
- The next time someone tells you you’ve done a good job, or are otherwise great, just say thanks. Don’t give the credit to someone else, or say it was nothing, or just nod, embarrassed at being noticed. Say thank you, smile, and enjoy the feeling of being complimented. NB None of this makes you arrogant or big-headed.
It’s not easy to overcome the years of talking yourself down, but make a start today. I want you to be able to see for yourself the talented, wonderful person other people can see in you. I want to be able to trust yourself and your abilities as much as other people do. If you do, you’ll feel a lot more confident.
If this resonates with you, coaching can definitely make a massive difference. Give me a call, or book in for a quick chat about how I could help you understand how fabulous you are.
* Iconic Liverpool goalie in the 1970’s and infinitely better than Peter Shilton who always seemed to get the nod for England for some reason (yes, it still rankles).