I take stock periodically – of what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, and how I feel about it.
I’m hard on myself and I always have been. Taking stock allows me to be more objective – about wins, about losses, and everything in between.
Sometimes, my goal is nothing more than making it through a tough week. A quick look at my approach may yield a simpler path, or the mental toughness to soldier on.
Sometimes, my reasons for running the personal inventory have to do with old wounds. I’m fighting a self-deprecating mood, and I’m merciless with my criticism.
At these times, I’m convinced I’m not good enough, fast enough, clever enough – and yes – attractive enough. (Isn’t it extraordinary how that seeps in, when it has little to do with the matters at hand?)
The Critical Voice in Your Head
Sometimes, the Critical Voice in my head gets the better of me. You can’t is louder than you can. Then I haul out Reason and Process to shut down the naysayer, and activate the cheerleader.
It’s so easy to give in to negative voices. They’re planted in our memories. They’re reflected in our popular culture. They also live with us at home and at work – those who may manipulate, sabotage, or compete in ways that dissuade us from being a fuller “self.”
It’s only natural that we don’t excel at everything, that we try and fail, that we try and when succeeding – still see the need for improvements, and still suffer from setting the bar too high. It’s only natural that as time passes, we lose competence in some areas, and confidence in others.
Skills Inventory as Reinvention Requisite
I’m not entirely sure what I think of the trendy labeling of repositioning change as reinvention. Many of us “reinvent” and renew constantly – physically, emotionally, professionally, and personally. Perhaps the term “reinvention” suits best when it’s an infrequent, conscious, and structured set of initiatives to reorient.
Many talk and write about reinventing at mid-life. Gray divorce makes this a necessity, as does layoff or other change in primary focus and financial circumstances. For that matter, so does Empty Nest.
I know that I use skills today that I didn’t possess three years ago. What I am “good at” hasn’t changed so much as it has evolved, shifted, and expanded.
But for me, knowing that what I’ve once learned is still waiting in storage, I’m generally confident that I could brush up what’s necessary if required.
Some might say this is “just life.” Yet don’t we associate these periods of hyper awareness with specific events and stages? For example, as the Empty Nest Mom explores in her post on “Mid-life Crisis or Mid-life Prime, when children are raised and out of the house, primary caregivers are forced to reassess.
These caregivers are usually women – mothers – who have vital decisions to sort through when it comes to their own futures, and new priorities to set.
What Are You Good At?
When that nasty Critical Voice haunts me in the night, taking stock helps me focus. When I balance my deficiencies with the good in me, I’m better equipped to redirect my efforts. When I examine what I’m good at, I’m reminded of what I value. And that in itself encourages me to feel good about my life.
Here’s what I’m good at:
- Parenting, and I don’t believe there is Parenting Perfection!
- Loving, trusting, and believing in others.
- Moderating optimism with pragmatism (yes, they can coexist).
- Learning, learning, learning – because I love it.
- Communicating – and I’m growing better at listening as well as speaking my mind.
- Perspective – a balance of details and big picture.
- Scrabble, shoe shopping, the pleasure of experiencing magnificent art.
- Friendship, friendship, friendship. And yes, my word is my bond.
Here’s what I struggle with:
- Dolce fa niente (doing nothing and not feeling guilty).
- Keeping up with the bills and the laundry (I feel better if I lump them together).
- Socializing in certain types of gatherings.
- Letting stress get the better of me.
- Fear of the future, financially.
- Fatigue, which feels like the accumulation of a decade of worries.
- The Critical Voice in my head that says I am never quite good enough.
What are you good at? How is it changing?
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