Own Your Strengths – The Self-Worth Challenge

3huIeZ1437553978Welcome back to The Self-Worth Challenge. Each week I am addressing a topic related to self-worth and I include a few questions at the end to help you consider how you value yourself and how to strengthen it further.

If you are new to the challenge you might want to start at the beginning and work your way through the series. The very first post is linked here.

Although this will only take you five minutes or so, it will set you up to consider this aspect of your self over the coming week.

Last week in ‘Talk to Yourself’ we explored how our inner voice impacts our life a how to improve our self talk. This week we are moving on to owning our strengths.

In ‘Name Your Strengths’ you listed your strengths and assessed how that made you feel. Now I would like to take that a step further by really taking on board all the talents and strengths that you have.

When we don’t do this,  we still have our talents but we stop ourselves from making best use of them. Whilst being an extreme example it is a little like a bird who won’t accept he can fly. Even though it is a talent of his, he will not make use of it and develop the skill until he really acknowledges that it is his to act on.

Now obviously birds in reality innately know that they can fly just as we innately do many things. However, like the bird analogy, we can so easily limit ourselves by dismissing our skills, knowledge and life expertise.

With this in mind I have two short challenges for you to do over this week.

We can so easily limit ourselves by dismissing our talents, skills and life expertise. Click To Tweet

The Self-Worth Challenge Questions

1. Ask others

Ask a few other people to name 3 or 4 strengths they can see in you.

Would you tell me three or four of my strengths?

This can feel quite a risky thing to do but it is incredible what can come out of it.

One important point here is to only ask those people that will respect you. In life there are individuals who will use any chance to criticise others in either a veiled or very obvious way. That need is their own, not about those they are criticising and it is most certainly not what we are looking for here. Pick friends, colleagues or family who know you and will take your question seriously.

About 20 years ago I asked a range of people this question. I was nervous but I went ahead anyway. The answers blew me away. The range of qualities that other people could see in me was amazing and it broadened my understanding of my skills.

Some strengths mentioned by others I could see in myself and some were traits that I didn’t expect to have associated with me. Looking back there was one that really surprised me. It was my boss at the time saying that I was ambitious. I did not recognise that in myself back then even though, with hindsight, it was very definitely there. His observation stayed with me and I began to recognise it and then, with time, to utilise it.

Once you have asked people, write down what strengths others identified in you. Take a moment to look at them and consider these questions.

What can you identify with?
What surprised you?
Is there anything you are just plain uncomfortable with? If so, what does that tell you? Is it that it is not correct or is it that you don’t like to acknowledge this as a strength you have?

For example, you might be told you are confident when it is not something you associate with yourself. However, if someone else can see it in you then you might want to consider that it is actually a part of you at certain times.

So now to help illustrate a bit further I am going to use my recent experience with this task. Whilst I did this years ago I thought I would do it again and see what insights it might give me now. I asked a friend to name my strengths. She said…

You have determination. You push yourself out of your comfort zone. You are patient and kind and you can laugh at yourself.

I can accept all of those as me and there are no big surprises. However, the one I feel least comfortable hearing is about my ability to push myself out of my comfort zone.

It is true, I know that, but it leaves me feeling a little exposed to hear it. What is going on there?

Well on reflection, it is once again to do with a discomfort in acknowledging my own ambition. The messages I received about ambition in my childhood were less than favourable. A part of me still feels safer to keep things low key. The reason I push myself out of my comfort zone is because I am ambitious but it still feels a little risky to fully own that part of myself. To really utilise my ambition I need to fully acknowledge it as a part of me. I have come a long way with this but clearly still have some work to do, as my discomfort highlights.

So back to you, see how you get on looking at your list and feel free to ask me any questions if you are unsure. Now onto the second challenge.

2. Say it

So now you have a list of your strengths from yourself in Part 4 and from other people. Find a time when you can be alone for a minute or two and say out loud what your strengths are. So here I am not just looking for ‘intelligent’ said out loud but ‘I am intelligent’. Even better say this to yourself in front of a mirror or take a video of yourself on your phone and watch it back.

So for me there are lots of things I could say but “I am ambitious” would be an important one.

Do it and ask yourself these questions…

How does it feel? Okay, great, uncomfortable or awful?
What is it like seeing that and hearing those words. Do you look and sound like you believe it?

When we are comfortable with a part of ourselves it is absolutely natural for us to be able to say it and hear it and when we do say it, it is clear that we believe it.

However, when we don’t believe something, or it is slightly uncomfortable for us, we won’t say it with conviction. By beginning to verbalise our strengths we start to activate our brain in a positive way.

Standing up and saying ‘I am confident’ when we are a little unsure of our confidence helps focus our mind on confidence. The more we work on saying it with conviction the more our subconscious mind understands that it is something we want to identify with in our lives. It is not about faking it but rather about asking for it. As we turn our focus towards something we want, we begin to discover it.

As we begin to turn our focus towards something we want, we begin to discover it. Click To Tweet

If confidence is a strength you don’t see in yourself but others do then turn your attention towards it. Try it out. Say it. Amazingly you will start to notice it in your life. We are not talking about an overnight transformation but we are talking about noticing moments of confidence here and there until you can begin to see it in so many places you wont be able to ignore it anymore.


Good luck with this weeks challenges.

The next topic on The Self-Worth Challenge: Express Yourself

If you are excited by the prospect of this challenge please tell your friends. It is a great thing to do and be able to share.

I would be love to know any aspect of this that you would like to share with me. I am aware that these journeys are often very personal, so if you would rather not it would still be great to know you are following along.  I will respond to all comments.

So what is next?

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48 thoughts on “Own Your Strengths – The Self-Worth Challenge

  1. You are really challenging me here lady. This part of the challenge kind of reminds me of that book/film “The Secret”. I believe if I think positive then positive things will happen. I am not quite sure I am ready to ask anyone else what they think my best strengths are. I will have to think about that. Thank you for linking up again with me for #momsterslink. I have really enjoyed reading these.
    Trista recently posted…~Fit Organics Product Review~My Profile

    1. Hi Trista. This is my toughest challenge yet which is why it was left to week 6.
      I remember how I felt all those years ago too. It was so hard to ask. I had my heart in my mouth as I went to about five people and nervously forced the question out, only to be very haply surprised by the answers. It does feel threatening. In many ways by asking the question we are indirectly saying that we have strengths and that can feel very weird if we are not used to it.
      The idea of this challenge is to expand your own idea of your strengths and to also be fully aware that others do see our talents in us. Have a think and when you feel ready just ask someone who is close to you and you trust first. I promise that it gets easier. Although after the week you have had, it is more than fine to be kind and give yourself a breather to recover your energy levels. Best of luck. Let me know how it goes. Kirsten

  2. I’m off to read your other posts in this too as well, this is really thought provoking and helpful. Interestingly I had some therapy for anxiety last year, some of what you are saying is very similar to exercises my therapist had me do. It was challenging but very helpful! Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo today!
    Karen recently posted…PoCoLo – 21st – 23rd August My Profile

    1. Hi Karen. I am glad this was thought provoking. It is challenging to do things differently particularly when it doesn’t fit with our beliefs about ourselves. However it is so worthwhile as you say. Thank you for your kind words. Please feel free to ask me any questions you have from the rest of the series. Have a great weekend. Kirsten

  3. I am extremely excited by what you are doing and will for sure share with my friends, I love what you share with #mummyandus each week as you inspire me to really delve further into who I am. I am so excited to ask others others what they see as my strengths and see if I am comfortable with what they say. I never used to be able to see positives in myself when people would compliment me, but I have grown more comfortable with myself over the past 12 months, so this will be interesting.
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Profound moment #mummy&usMy Profile

    1. Hi Mackenzie, I feel excited now too. It will be wonderful to hear what others have to say and see what sits comfortably and what is challenging for you. I would love to hear if you feel comfortable sharing. Thanks for hosting. I will be back to comment later when I have returned home. Kirsten

  4. Great exercises, thanks for the encouragement and challenge Kirsten! Something I’ve been trying to do with my colleagues when I’ve been conducting performance reviews is tell them what I think their strengths are, and then tailoring their goals to build on their strengths rather than (just) focus on weakness…
    Luke Strickland recently posted…Monkey NutsMy Profile

    1. That is a great approach, Luke. Too often we attempt to make someone develop skills that will never be their forte. However when we work on expanding what we are already good at it is so often more beneficial. I like the analogy of building something, we always start with what we have to hand and what is available to us. If we spent all our time looking at what we didn’t have nothing would get built. Great to hear from you. Kirsten

    1. There are so many things that we learn in life and realise that if we had known it earlier it would have helped a lot. I am glad that you do appreciate your own strengths more now as it is valuable in life. Great to hear from you. Kirsten

    1. Thank you. Me too. I was trying to think about a good way to describe well the consequences of not acknowledging our strengths. I am glad it worked. Thanks for commenting Gianna. Kirsten

  5. I will definitely be trying this. I totally agree that the more you tell yourself something, the more you believe it. It stands to reason we should tell ourselves positive things, but often it’s the negative that speaks the loudest. This challenge sounds like a good way to over ride that 🙂
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes
    Random Musings recently posted…Hashtags And Promo Accounts On TwitterMy Profile

    1. Hi Debbie. This can be nerve wracking but it is actually very interesting to hear what people say. It is great to have our mind opened up to the things within us even when it can feel strange to hear these skills discussed out loud. I would love to hear how you get on if you want to share of course. Kirsten

  6. Almost everyone who knows me personally tells me my biggest strength is my drive/determination. Other strengths include confidence, intelligent, open-minded, and standing up for what I believe in. Even though I understand why others see these things in me and I know I possess these qualities, no doubt there, I do sometimes feel the opposite of these but I am getting better with it as I have been on my personal journey to improve my own outlook on myself and my life. Another great post! Thanks for sharing with #babybrainmonday
    Michelle recently posted…10 Reasons Buffy is Still Awesome!My Profile

    1. Hi Michelle. It is great that you are getting good at accepting those qualities in yourself. We all loose confidence in ourselves at times and it is natural to hit low spots. However as long as we know and can reconnect with our strengths it is okay because we all have them and benefit from knowing what they are. The qualities you mentioned sound like they will set you up really well for determining your own direction in life and give you what you need for continuing on the journey of self growth which is fabulous. Thanks for sharing. It is lovely to hear from you. Kirsten

    1. Hi Becky. Thanks for letting me know. It is a great thing to do and you may find yourself surprised. Let me know if anything comes up or if you have any questions come from it. Kirsten

    1. Hi Harps. This is a great start but I have a few pointers to take it further. There is a lot in what you are being told. When you come across as confident but don’t feel it, you are displaying talents that you have and maybe people are wording it as confidence. It could be openness, friendliness, the ability to ask for what you want. The possibilities go on. My point is that rather than dismiss this because you don’t feel it, look into what people are identifying in you. If you always get told this they cant all be wrong and there is something they can see in you. Or it could be that you do have confidence but it is not something you feel okay acknowledging in yourself. Allow yourself to sit with these ideas for a while and see what you can come up with, or ask someone what they actually mean when they call you confident. Thanks for sharing. Best of luck. Kirsten

  7. It always surprises me when people say how strong and confident I am, when I normally feel really shy and sometimes rather insecure. My husband once told me how in awe he was of my independence and go-get attitude and it made me realise that actually I do have those qualities. I think it’s a great idea asking people to name your qualities. Great post as always 🙂 #sharewithme
    Emma’s Mamma recently posted…Letter to my future teenage daughter My Profile

    1. I am glad that you are beginning to detect those qualities in yourself. When multiple people see something in you then the likelihood is it is there at some level. You may feel shy at times but you also have confidence, independence and the ability to go for what you want. Those are great skills to have. There is a myth that confidence is a lack of feeling worried, shy, insecure, but it is not. It is about getting up and doing whatever it is anyway. Thanks for sharing Emma’s Mamma. It is great to hear about your growth. Kirsten

    1. Hi Caro, It is a great thing to do and it is so interesting to see what comes from it. Let me know if you have anything come up as a result and I will try to help. Kirsten

  8. I’ve been told so many times that people see leadership qualities in me that I don’t see/acknowledge. I have more recently begun to accept this as truth and turn towards it, just a bit and sometimes in a fleeting kind of way, but I’m doing something.

    Now as a SAHM, I have discovered that I’m a bit more creative than I ever thought I was before and I’m willing to continue working at my creativity, as I am also gaining confidence in my abilities! 🙂
    Life Breath Present recently posted…Pregnancy & Baby Talk: 30 Weeks and CountingMy Profile

    1. It sounds like you are opening up to those skills within you that have been hidden which is wonderful. Leadership and creativity are a powerful force. You are right, it is a gradual process of turning towards these things in ourselves. Once we acknowledge they are there we can begin accepting roles we wouldn’t have done, starting small at first and then building up. This is wonderful. Keep harnessing those strengths. Kirsten

    1. I think that is very brave of you, to face your fears. you don’t have to be prescriptive. Just ask for a few strengths and see what they say. some might reel of a whole long list as some of my friends did and others might naturally be more succinct and give you one or two. Best of luck and you will more than likely be surprised. Kirsten

  9. Such a strong statement that more should follow owning our strengths. It’s hard to have a line between thinking highly of ourselves and not thinking good of ourselves at all isn’t it? Love your posts full of encouragement and strength in themselves. Thank you for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    jenny recently posted…Bloggers inspire meMy Profile

    1. Thanks Jenny. I think the fear is that we can get too big headed but actually thinking too much of ourselves usually comes from another place altogether, a place of needing to believe that we are better than others. Basically knowing our own strengths does not have to take away from any one else. I appreciate your thoughtful comment and hosting your fab linky. Kirsten

    1. Hi Jennifer. I am glad you can see its merits. It is often surprising what other people see in us. Thanks for hosting. Kirsten

    1. Hi Zena, this is not a few day cure but it can be a useful part of the puzzle. It helps us so much to be confronted by out strengths even when we don’t fully believe in them. It helps us reflect on our own discomfort and question that and it also helps our subconscious mind know what to focus on. Best of luck. The fact that you already know you need to believe in your strengths shows you are part way there already. Kirsten

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