One of the most amazing women I know recently returned to work after being at home with her two boys for eight years. The transition happened a little earlier than she and her family had anticipated, but the perfect opportunity came along and she decided to jump on it. I’m excited for her and proud of her.
And I was completely shocked to learn that her confidence isn’t what it used to be.
This is a woman my husband has met exactly once and instantly admired and respected. This is a woman who is smart, compassionate, and articulate. This is a woman that other women want to be like when they grow up.
And it turns out she struggles with some of the same nerves and doubts that may of the rest of us do.
I received an email from an editor yesterday raving about my work. She used all caps and the words “SO DARN GOOD” to describe a project that had taken me very little time to complete. I hadn’t thought of the work as anything particularly impressive when I turned it in; I was just doing my job the same way anyone in my position would. I was stunned to get her glowing feedback.
I don’t think of myself as an exceptionally good writer. I make typos all the time, I haven’t mastered all the rules of grammar, and I’m constantly reading other people’s words and thinking “why can’t I do that?” I realize I’m a good enough writer to make a living as a freelancer on the Internet, but I have stopped myself from going after bigger projects many times because I’m not that good.
Certainly I’m not SO DARN GOOD.
And yet a professional in my field has no problem assigning me that label.
Why do so many of us undervalue our abilities?
Why do others seem to be far more impressed with what we’re capable of?
What in the world could we accomplish if we knew how good we were?
I want to sit down with women who seem to appreciate their talent and ask them how they came to that level of acceptance. I want to know when they began to value not just their time - which I have no problem putting a price tag on - but their skills.
Do you know how good you are at what you do?
How did you come to accept that?