In previous questions of the week, I’ve been focused outward, on the system. In this question, I invite you to focus inward.
How do you matter, to yourself, and to others?
We don’t ask ourselves this question enough. Too often, we suffer from Imposter Syndrome, where we think we are not good enough. Sure, we might not be good enough. But, I bet you are.
There are always people who are smarter, thinner, faster, more of whatever than you are. Always. That is irrelevant.
You have your abilities. You can write your story, in your way. You can teach your workshop, in your way. You can give your talk, in your way. You can develop, test, whatever it is you do, in your way. You can coach, manage, parent, everything you do, in your way. As long as you do it to the best of your abilities, and as long as you keep learning, you are not an imposter.
You matter. The question is: do you know it?
I am fortunate. I write an email newsletter, the Pragmatic Manager, and sometimes people tell me that my newsletter matters. I receive external validation. Gotta tell you, I love it. The newsletter I write for this blog is new, so people haven’t told me yet. I’m ready to wait. I also haven’t designed this site so that the newsletter has its own page. I’m working on it.
In Manage Your Job Search, I have a section about managing Impostor Syndrome when you look for a job. Because maintaining your self esteem when you look for a job is critical.
As an adaptable problem solver, you need the resilience and self-esteem to know that you matter. You need to know how you matter.
When you acknowledge that you do matter, you build your self-esteem and your resilience. You use your growth mindset. You build your support network. Good things come back to you.
Here’s a little homework over the next week, if you are willing to take it. Every day, ask yourself, “What did I do today that mattered?” Don’t think it has to be big. Here are things I did in the past week, large and small:
- Made the bed on the days I was the last one out of the bed. This matters to us, because we like a made bed.
- I went to the gym twice in the past week and I did my home exercise program each day. I will be happy to report my progress to my physical therapists.
- Provided brief email coaching to past clients. (I was happy about the coaching and the brevity.)
- I chose the pillows for our family room couch. Mark bought them.
- Wrote several thousand words for my program management book.
- Wrote and published my email newsletter.
- Received several comments about the email newsletter, and said, “Thank you.” I have had a difficult time in the past accepting compliments.
- Provided email coaching for writers on their articles-in-progress for agileconnection.com. The people told me they appreciated the comments. (Let me know if you would like to write for us.)
- Made dinner a couple of nights. Okay, it was eggs. Still, I cooked. Mark didn’t have to. Cooking in the evening, as opposed to during the day is more difficult for me. I was happy that I could, that we didn’t go out for dinner, and that Mark didn’t make my dinner.
Do you see that it’s not the magnitude of the work? It’s about the effect of what you do.
Dear adaptable problem solvers, your question this week is: How do you matter? Don’t wait for other people to tell you. Do your homework and discover for yourself. If you are willing, please share in the comments. I know, this takes courage and vulnerability.