Today we continue with a look at ways to boost confidence with directive #2. (HAT TIP: I found this list on the Twitter feed Health & Wellness.)

Accept your limitations

Last time we talked about knowing your strengths, and there are an infinite number of places you can go to take quizzes and come up with a list of your strengths, talents and abilities. Of course, no one is perfect, and we all have limitations. We just have to put them in the proper context. Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it is stupid.” I saw a meme on social media with this quote as the caption. There was a cartoon of a bureaucrat sitting at a desk saying, “To be fair, everyone has to take the same test” as he pointed at a tree. There were 4 or 5 animals there, including the fish and a couple of primates. Obviously, the fish won’t be able to climb the tree. I think this pic is another good way to describe what the fish is up against in this situation. So what can we do with these limitations? Here are two steps.

Acknowledge them. Simply admit they are there. We try to hide our limitations, sometimes to the point where we won’t admit we have any limitations at all. We do this a lot in job interviews. We fear any weakness being exposed will eliminate us from contention for the position. But everyone is aware there is no perfect person, so pretending to be one doesn’t help your cause. I do not have a college degree, and likely will never have one from a traditional school, for one reason – I cannot meet the science requirement. While I was at UNC Charlotte, we had all these general classes we had to take no matter what our major was, because it provided “a well-rounded education.” One requirement was two basic science courses. I got intro to geography, but had to take it twice to pass it. I tried Geology and was out of there within 2 weeks. I thought about Astronomy, remembering the cute little books about the solar system I read as a young child. Huh-uh. That’s not astronomy. Astronomy is physics with a severe attitude problem. I think the highest test score I got the entire semester was a 40. Out of 100. And never understanding why I had to do this crap to get a Finance degree. After that epic failure of Astronomy, I told my family I was done – “I’m never going to meet this science requirement, and I’m not doing anything but racking up astronomical loan debt. I’m outta here; I’m gonna go find a job.” A few months later, I landed an admin job with what would eventually be known as Bank of America, and my career path was set.

Work around them. While you can acknowledge your limitations, you must never let them define you. Today I can say with no reservation, “I don’t doo book science.” And I’m OK with that. I can do basic bookkeeping, but I’ll never be a CPA. I have a decent grasp on what I can and can’t do, and work within those parameters. I do not have the entire Periodic Table committed to memory, but I do understand oxygen and carbon dioxide and their roles in our atmosphere, and thus can poke fun at vegans for eating the oxygen-producing plants while I eat the carbon/methane-creating cows and pigs, saying that I’m eating the global warming problem while they are eating the solution. (Plus, I just like messing with people.)

If I come across a task that requires a strength that within me is a weakness, I have several avenues to see that the task is done. I can research a solution. (What did we ever do before Google?) I can tap into my vast network of contacts, because there is going to be an expert in this task within that group somewhere. I can hand it off to someone else if necessary, such as telling a client, “this is a weakness for me, and since you’re on a time crunch, I know someone who can complete this task in a lot less time than it will take me to research and complete it.” We can be just fine having limitations. We just have to acknowledge them and find ways to work around them.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are one of those “accused personality” people that thinks you’re a worm, let me warn you that Part III is going to be VERY uncomfortable. But it will be revolutionary as well.

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