When are you at your best?

We all have moments when we shine. There are things in our lives that each one of us does well—different things, of course—but we need to own these talents and take pride in them. And, fortunately, there’s always more than one thing we’re good at. We may be fast runners and good cooks. Perhaps we are adept at soothing those who are troubled and we happen to have a green thumb. Or, say, a great talent for playing an instrument, as well as being an excellent driver.


It’s important to acknowledge your talents and use them as stepping stones in building confidence for other skills which don’t come so naturally. A Re-booter knows that we must start from our strengths in order to grow. All too often, however, people make the mistake of diminishing their capabilities, describing them as “worthless” or “unimportant” or “not nearly as good as” someone else’s. Whether they truly believe this or are doing so for modesty’s sake is immaterial. It is a sin to disdain your God given gifts.


How would you like it if you heard another adult telling a child that what they achieved or produced didn’t count? Same concept! Don’t do this to yourself!


But back to my main point, which is that in order to cultivate additional skills, we must start from our strengths. “How can being a master griller have anything to do with learning to write computer code?” you ask. Well, as I once counseled a woman who was desperate to leave the legal profession but didn’t know how to get launched in a non-legal arena, you break down what you’re good at into its various parts and then draw parallels. Say you’ve left the military and are back in the civilian world, nobody cares whether or not you can shoot a Howitzer, right? But, they do care about precision, accuracy, responsibility, respect for hierarchy, polite manners, professional appearance. Most employers care very much about those skills and practices, so you start there.


Likewise, when tackling a new challenge, I recommend that you summon that feeling of confidence you have each time you exercise your genius and project ahead to a moment when you will be as skilled at this new activity as you are with existing ones. Confidence, fellow Re-booters, confidence is key! Believe me, much of the time I have to project confidence on my theoretical, future brilliance because the present doesn’t always show such promise—but it does give me courage to try. This technique applies as much to the mastery of new situations as it does to the acquisition of skills. When you summon memories of previous success before stepping into an unfamiliar circumstance, you increase your likelihood that things will go well.


Regular DR readers will recall a post I wrote a few weeks ago where I mentioned utilizing the strategy of “fake it ‘til you make it,” during a period of my life when I felt scared, alone, and very depressed. This post strikes a somewhat similar cord except you aren’t faking it! Your talents and genius are real. You know you can trust them. Holding onto this self-assured mindset when launching into unfamiliar territory is a help. We all know how fast the world is changing and we have to change with it. There was an old sixties musical entitled, “Stop The World I Want to Get Off” which pretty much sums up how we each can feel on off days. But, you can’t. You’re on this joyride with the rest of us. The way I see it, we’re all on the same conveyor belt, moving at the same rate, in the same direction, and unless and until we hop off entirely, that belt ain’t stoppin’ for nobody.


But you, you are a Re-booter Extraordinaire! You embrace change—well, at least to a certain extent—and appreciate how change can improve life, even if it makes you feel scared or lonely or as if it’s beyond your ability to handle. Yeah, I’m talking to you, kiddo. So I write this post as a reminder that your talents travel with you—use them as a springboard to additional success.


Homework assignment: think about some new skill or situation that intimidates you. Now ponder it from the mindset you have when you are doing something you know you’re excellent at. What do you see in your mind’s eye? Play around with what might happen were you as brilliant at it as you’d like to be. Next time the opportunity arises, act as if you already know what you’re doing. Go for it! It’s yours for the taking.


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