She Knows What She's Good At
My friend Tiffany is a volunteer for the Indiana Prison Writers Workshop. She conducts writing workshops for prisoners. I didn’t even know that was a thing until Tiffany told me about it. She can spend hours telling you stories about the prisoners she meets, the meaning of their tattoos, and how their writing touched her heart. If you want to learn more, I would encourage you to check out her article. When Tiffany shares about this portion of her life, she exudes confidence because she has combined two things that she is really, really good at—writing and empathy—and is using them in a way that is meaningful to her.
Tiffany’s confidence in volunteering with the Indiana Prison Writers Workshop is the essence of an emotional intelligence skill called self-regard. Steven Stein defines it as “the ability to respect and accept yourself—essentially liking the way you are.” I like to use the phrase:
I know what I am good at and not so good at and I’m good with it!
This phrase emphasizes the three sides of self-regard.
First, you know what you are good at. Look for things that you do naturally without thinking about it. Do you make checklists? You are probably skilled at organization. Do you ask a LOT of questions? You might be skilled at problem solving. Do you like to help your friends? This means that empathy might be a strength. If you can’t identify your strengths, ask those closest to you or consider taking an assessment like StrengthsFInder.
Second, you know what you are not so good at. A healthy awareness of our weaknesses is also important to self-regard. It provides balance. When you spend time on tasks that you are not good at, it drains you of energy because you have to think about it and be intentional on how you accomplish it. Yes, you can learn skills you don’t have but if they don’t come naturally to you, they will be harder to accomplish, and you might not necessarily ever excel at them. Further, if you are not necessarily good at a skill, you may overlook it, devalue it, or dismiss its importance altogether. These are called blind spots and they often cause you to fail.
Finally, you are good with it. Listen for phases like, “I wish I were,” “I ought to be,” and “I should have been.” These are all indicators that you are not comfortable with your strengths and weakness. There is a healthy balance of understanding and accepting weaknesses and using your strengths to achieve at your highest level. Your inner dialogue will tell you whether you accept yourself for who you are.
The essential elements to improving your self-regard are to increase your understanding and acceptance of your strengths, to evaluate your weaknesses and how they may affect your success, and to accept who you are as you are. The most successful people take this knowledge and decide whether to work at improving themselves or to surround themselves with others who can compensate for their weaknesses. They are not fearful that others’ strengths will undermine or erode their leadership because they have confidence in their own abilities.
Know what you are good at and not so good at and be good with it!
Susan Rozzi is the president of Rozzi and Associates, a leadership and organizational development company helping good leaders become great! Our programs start with the premise that great leadership skills are a product of time, practice and focused development. Our leadership development, emotional intelligence insight, and career management programs can be customized to meet your desired outcomes and needs. Contact Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Stein, Steven J, and Book, Howard E. The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success. Toronto: Stoddart, 2011. Print.