"Mary," a very good friend said, a long time ago, "You couldn't administrate your way out of a paper bag!"
That sounds harsh, but it wasn't. You see, I had taken on the role of secretary to a social organisation and had made a complete hash of it. Nobody got angry with all the mistakes and missed communications; they all put up with it with remarkable tolerance. But – at the end of that year, nobody suggested that I stay in role, for which I was grateful.
Those words released me, and I have never since volunteered for any administrative job; I just can't do it!
When I left university, in 1984, I had no idea what I wanted to do, so chose accountancy – a job to which I was totally unsuited. Nevertheless, I managed to pass all the exams to become a chartered accountant and spent fifteen miserable years working as hard as I could at something I didn't enjoy until the director of finance in my then employment took me to one side.
"Mary," she said. "You're a lovely girl. You work really hard. You've got lots of skills and talents. But they're not the skills and talents you need to do this job. You should find another career."
Yes – I did go home and cry. Those were difficult words to hear. But – again, those words released me to find something I'm good at. Today I am an Image Consultant: I work with people to discover how they can present their best self to the world every day.
Every time I see a client leave my studio, transformed, believing in her own beauty, I am validated. When I meet a client in the street and she says, "You changed my life!" I know I'm good at what I do. That recognition is wonderful!
It's the same with the writing. I write for you, blogs for my business, contemporary romance, poetry; more serious stuff. I seem to be good at that too.
I bake, I make greetings cards, my children say I'm a good mother (they're probably biased) and I know I'm a good friend.
There are still far more things in the world I'm not good at: gardening, decorating, staying tidy, being on time, making small talk at parties. I can't play tennis, or a musical instrument. I can't fly a plane or understand higher mathematics. I have never been able to make a successful toad-in-the-hole.
We can keep looking at all the things we can't do and spiral down into negativity until we feel like the most worthless human being on the planet; or we can look at the things we do well.
Some of them may seem small. Are you a good listener? That's an invaluable skill. Are you good at fixing mechanical things? Are you good at looking after animals? Those skills are so needed.
Think about what you're good at and allow yourself a moment of self-recognition and, yes, congratulation.
A Moodscope member.