Do you ever underestimate yourself?
I invest a lot of my time coaching and mentoring people in their pursuit of a successful life. My experience has shown me that most people struggle with the idea that they are personally blessed with talents and gifts. In fact, for a high percentage of people, they think very little of themselves. I don’t know what the statistics are on self-esteem, but I don’t need a survey or study to show me what I observe all the time: Most people don’t believe in themselves very much.
And this is unfortunate. It is not “personal development speak” to talk about everyone having their own unique set of gifts and talents and affinities. It’s the truth. God doesn’t waste his time making worthless people. In the thousands of people I have met and worked with over the past 25 years, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t have multiple gifts. I can sit with someone I just met, and ask questions and within 10 minutes easily know what some of their strengths are. And most of the time, they never thought of themselves this way. I know all about this, not just from working with others, but intimately from working on myself. My low self opinion led to many missed opportunities in my earlier years, as well as many other poor outcomes. Not only did I consistently underestimate myself but…
We also overestimate others…
when we compare ourselves to them. Have you ever said or thought “If I were like…I could…” Sure you have. This is because you are seeing what you believe are the strengths in the other person while you are focusing on the weaknesses (perceived or real) you see in yourself. We are in a society that promotes the image of the “ultimate.” Almost to the point if you aren’t FREAKISHLY talented or attractive or intelligent or of the right education, then you just aren’t good enough. This is bologna. And this bologna holds so many people back because they think its not even worth trying, because they aren’t smart enough or whatever enough.
See the Plus not the Minus
Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement and support. Case in point: Of the many examples I could use, I am going to use the example of “Lilly” (the name has been changed for privacy). I just met Lilly 3 days ago. She is a classic example of what I am talking about. She is a Mother, Wife, early fifties in age, and doesn’t have a college education, and she was raised farming. Her underlying belief is that others don’t listen to her because she’s uneducated and so she can’t build a business. In other words she thinks she has no credibility. Oh, and she works as a waitress and with her husband on their highly successful farm.
In a short time, it was easy to see that this is a very bright, honest, hard-working woman, with a warm countenance. She is an excellent listener. She could do anything she put her mind to, and already had lived a very successful life. But she did not see herself this way. If the majority came into the restaurant she works in she would think of them as better than her…and she would be wrong.
In a few minutes of deep discussion I just helped her to see that while she was looking at herself and focusing on the things she didn’t think were good (the minus) others were looking at her and seeing the good (the plus). She had no idea. Here was a woman of immense character based credibility who didn’t think anyone else would take her seriously. She had been putting a cover on her light…and all she needed was some encouragement to take it off.
I can’t wait to see what happens now. She will still need support and encouragement because the years of ingrained wrong thinking won’t go away overnight, but once you get a glimpse of your true gifts and potential….everything and anything becomes possible.
Look for your good and let it out in the world. That’s why you have it.