Thanks to Alex Schuler for suggesting today’s topic: honesty versus abasement (putting yourself down). In the spirit of yesterday’s post, I’ll try to keep this one somewhat short as well.
When we start a new endeavor, such as when I decided I would write a book and try to get it published, it is imperative to know your honest skills – your strengths and weaknesses – and your limitations. You use this information to make sound decisions that will help guide you in the right direction rather than paint yourself into a corner.
For example, in writing, I learned early on that all new authors think they are a genius and that their story is brilliantly original, yet in almost every case this is not true.
It was important to learn this because it is supposed to lead to the mindset of treating this as a business where you have to educate yourself, work really, really hard, and go in directions you didn’t originally envision. If you just assume you’re the next big thing and don’t know how to edit your own work, you set yourself up for failure before you begin.
The biggest danger, however, is when this honest evaluation of your skillset turns into fear that you are unworthy, unqualified, and unable to succeed. You turn “I need to work hard” into “There’s no way I can do this” and you give up before you even begin.
Just because you admit that you’re not the world’s best debut author doesn’t mean that you can’t learn enough and work hard enough to become really, really great, if not necessarily among the top ten. Set reasonable goals (not to be the best, but to be really good in your own niche) but don’t sell yourself short – make yourself work for it. Stretch your limits, but acknowledge you do have limits.
What projects have you done where it’s important to know your weaknesses? Have you ever slipped and undermined your confidence instead?
Copyright: NejroN / 123RF Stock Photo
This one was just too cool for me to pass by. The title of this image from 123RF is:
Femida, Goddess of Justice, with scales and sword against dramatic stormy sky