But, that's easy for me

A thing I’m trying to get better at is accepting praise for doing something that felt easy to me.

My whole life, people have told me that I’m extremely well organized. I’ve always struggled to recognize this as a legitimate talent. I don’t feel like I’ve ever invested time in trying to be “good” at organizing things, or learning effective strategies for doing so. To me it just feels like “doing things properly”, in ways that feel natural and easy.

However, this kind of thing definitely doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It took me a while to realize this. Sometimes, I still catch myself being disappointed by others when insufficient planning or organization leads them to forget things, to not meet commitments, or to miss opportunities. This isn’t necessarily fair, though. When I think about things I am terrible at (such as attempting to use my absolutely abysmal sense of direction to find my way to a new location), I know I can still be terrible at these things even if I am actually putting a lot of effort into trying to be better. I also really appreciate when people who are stronger in those areas respectfully give me a hand (such as when my husband nicely reminds me which way to turn on a route he knows I have driven many times before). I need to keep this in mind, and not assume that someone who is failing at organization isn’t trying, or doesn’t care.

So even though it feels better accepting praise for something I did that was actually really hard for me, I think it’s still ok to feel good about leveraging my natural talents. Lately, if someone tells me that they appreciated some planning work I did, instead of awkwardly saying something like “it wasn’t a big deal”, I am trying to genuinely thank them and share some of the thought process that went into my work. Maybe I’ll say something that helps them next time they are facing a problem that could benefit from a more organized approach. At the very least, I’m showing better appreciation for the fact that they went out of their way to give me positive feedback, even if I am hearing a voice in the back of my head saying I didn’t totally earn it.

What things are you naturally good at that other people find really valuable?

Written on March 29, 2018