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  • Writer's pictureCécile Hemery

What to Do When You Can't Recognise Your Own Achievements

Breaking Free from the Blindness to Your Own Strengths

Young blong woman making a quicky doubtful face

In this article, I want to delve into a topic that regularly surfaces in my conversations with clients: the struggle to recognise and appreciate their own strengths. When they achieve something remarkable, it doesn't feel extraordinary to them. It feels normal, almost effortless. They question why it should be celebrated when, in their mind, anyone could have done it.


Why Can't I See My Own Strengths? 


The truth is, not everyone can accomplish these feats with the same ease. The reason it comes so naturally to them is because it aligns with their unique strengths, expertise, and experience. These individuals have honed their skills over time, making the extraordinary seem ordinary.


It is very common for many women to be completely oblivious to their own strengths. They acknowledge their accomplishments but struggle to spot the true value behind them. This blindness to their own greatness often stems from their upbringing and the messages they internalised about success and self-worth.


The Root of the Problem


In many cases, these women grew up in environments where love and praise were not freely given. Good grades and exemplary behaviour were expected, not celebrated. Mistakes and failures, however, were met with criticism and disappointment. Their parents, often with the best intentions, pushed them to strive for more, to be better than they were. The underlying message, though unintended, was that being their best was the bare minimum, and anything less was unacceptable.


The Impact in Adulthood


These early experiences shape their understanding of themselves and the world around them. The unconscious patterns of thinking follow them into adulthood, making it difficult to recognize and celebrate their own greatness. They become their own harshest critics, berating themselves for mistakes and minimising their successes.


When it comes to writing their resume or highlighting their contributions, they struggle to find anything worthy of mention. They downplay their role in team achievements and attribute their successes to external factors. Because being perfect is the bare minimum, they believe they must make an extraordinary impact to deserve praise.


The Value of Your Strengths


It's crucial to understand that the ease with which you accomplish something doesn't diminish its value or significance. Your ability to excel in certain areas is a testament to your years of experience, natural talents, and the investments you've made in your personal and professional growth.


Consider the story of the mechanic and the broken car. The client brings in their vehicle, and the mechanic, after careful observation, approaches a specific spot and gives it a bang. Miraculously, the problem is solved, but the mechanic charges a hefty fee. The client, puzzled, remarks, "But you only spent 10 minutes on my car!" The mechanic explains that the quick fix was possible because of the years of skill and experience they had invested in their craft.


It is not because you are able to do something easily that it is easy, that it doesn't have value, or that it is an irrelevant or minor thing. Celebrate the quality of your work and the unique value you bring to the table, not just the role you fill.


Why Is It So Hard to Celebrate My Own Successes?


When it comes to writing their resume or highlighting their contributions, they struggle to find anything worthy of mention. They downplay their role in team achievements and attribute their successes to external factors. Because being perfect is the bare minimum, they believe they must make an extraordinary impact to deserve praise.


It's crucial to understand that the ease with which you accomplish something doesn't diminish its value or significance. Your ability to excel in certain areas is a testament to your years of experience, natural talents, and the investments you've made in your personal and professional growth.


The Power of Positive Focus


If you spend more time acknowledging what you're doing well, and less time blaming yourself for what you're struggling with, it will have a positive impact on your mental health. By shifting your focus to the positives, you'll start to see more of them and less of the negatives. While we cannot ignore the challenges in our lives, dwelling on them will only keep us stuck. To break free, you must first believe that freedom is possible. The initial step is to recognise your own strengths and potential.


Steps to Reverse the Pattern


  1. Self-awareness: Simply recognising yourself in this article is a significant step forward. It creates a distance between you and your thoughts, allowing you to explore new perspectives.

  2. Celebrate your achievements: Make a conscious effort to acknowledge and celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem.

  3. Reflect on your journey: Take a moment to review your life and the obstacles you've overcome. Recognise the strength and resilience that have brought you to where you are today.

  4. Seek external validation: Ask your loved ones or colleagues, "What do you believe is the most unique thing about me, that you're not seeing in anyone else?" Their answers may surprise and inspire you.


The Ripple Effect


Seeing ourselves in a more realistic light not only improves our own well-being but also influences how we perceive and interact with others. When we expect perfection from ourselves, we often project those expectations onto others, making it harder to recognise and celebrate their achievements. By embracing a more balanced and compassionate view of ourselves, we create space for others to do the same.


Make celebration a habit. Celebrate your own victories, big and small. Celebrate the successes of those around you. Acknowledge progress and growth, even when it falls short of perfection. Notice the difference it makes in your life and the lives of those you touch.



 

Recognising your own achievements


If you find yourself struggling to break free from the perfection trap, know that you are not alone. Self-reflection and deep-rooted change can be challenging to navigate on your own. Don't hesitate to reach out for support and guidance. Together, we can explore options that align with your unique needs and help you embrace your true strengths and potential.


Remember, your value lies not in your ability to be perfect, but in the unique combination of talents, experiences, and perspectives that make you who you are. Celebrate that uniqueness, and watch as the world around you begins to celebrate with you.


 


 

Cecile Hemery is a certified Career and Leadership Coach, and founder of Walayance, specialising in working with quiet leaders who feel uncertain, stuck or undervalued to help them rediscover their confidence and strengths so that they can take their careers to the next level ✨ . Schedule a free no-obligation exploratory chat with Cecile



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