If you are someone that spends time on the Twitter, I encourage you to follow Health & Wellness. There’s lots of good stuff there – the obvious things about physical health, but there is plenty of stuff on other aspects of health. One recent pithy post listed 7 ways to boost your confidence. I found it so enlightening that I’m making a week-long series about it, one directive per day. So here’s step #1:

List your strengths

One of the great things about being a human being is that, just like every other human being, you have strengths and weaknesses. Yes, you’ll find people on social media that either outright claim or strongly insinuate that they have no weaknesses, that they have all the answers, and that every problem in the world would be solved in 5 minutes if we’d just install that person as King/Queen of Earth. But they’re just blowing smoke. They have weaknesses like everyone else. So we’re all alike in that we all have strengths and weaknesses.

Discover your strengths. This may be easy for some people, the ones that are in a pretty good place mentally and emotionally and are aware of their strengths. I also know there are some self-worth-challenged folks out there that are thinking “I don’t have any strengths” or “I don’t know what my strengths are.” OK, let’s find out what they are. I went to Google and searched “strength assessment.” Here is the result. Many of them are free. You could spend days doing these assessments if you wanted to. The idea is to either discover or verify what you do well. Everyone has something. I’m one of those self-worth-challenged people that struggles to articulate my strengths. But I know I have some. I’m articulate (verbal and written), which is handy since I’m trying to establish myself as a writer. 🙂 I have a good sense of humor. I think I’m as funny as Dave Chappelle and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour guys, which is definitely up for debate. But most people agree I can be funny. I can type fairly well, I’m organized and determined (you can use the word “stubborn” there; I won’t be offended), and I am fiercely loyal. I know I have other strengths, but I’ll stop there so we can move on to the other aspects of listing your strengths.

Ask others. You have colleagues, family members, networking connections, friends outside of business circles, church members, even casual acquaintances who can tell you what your strengths are. Take advantage of that. Let them know you’re reading this series on boosting your confidence, that step 1 is to list your strengths, and you want an outside opinion. I did this with my VA 101 Mastermind group. It really lifted my spirits.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: We will examine accepting compliments in Part III. For now, just say “thank you” and write/copy what you are told.

Put the negative off. At this point, many (if not most) people will hear the little voice in the head that either disputes the findings from the assessments (you’re actually not good at that), or a counter-voice that brings up a weakness (yes, you complete work quickly, but your office is an ungodly mess). It’s important to stop and tell the voice, “no, we’re not going to think about that now, we will deal with that later.” Specifically, we will deal with those in Parts II and VII.

Remind yourself. It’s probably a good idea to write your strengths down on a card, Post-It note or some other tool where it will be easy to grab quickly. Some tape them to the bathroom mirror or something on the work desk. I’ve written mine on 3” x 5” Post-It notes and affixed them to the top of my laptop. When I need to remind myself I’m not in over my head, I can just pull down the laptop cover part way so I can see the strength list, give myself a little 10-second pep talk, and get back at it.

You have probably noticed there is a lot of negative influence out there. About 99% of all news broadcasts are bad news, there’s a lot of arguing on social media, and a general distrust of others – an expectation that something bad is just around the corner. We can start to reverse that by focusing on strengths. Identify your strengths, and remind others of their strengths as well. You can really be a bright light in their day. Instead of looking for reasons why we or others aren’t worthy, let’s focus on the positive, productive aspects of ourselves. Let’s make sure we and those around us are more like strong lions than weak, wounded insects.

We’ll keep this going with step 2 in the next post.

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