If you’ve done your homework from last week, you now have two documents.
One lists what you think your strengths are. The other lists what a trusted confidante thinks your strengths are. The two lists probably overlap on some items but differ on others. E.g., You may think you’re good at working independently, leading subordinates, and tracking detail. Your confidante may have agreed, but also noted that you have a sunny disposition and come up with great solutions to problems.
Compile your list and hang it on your wall and look at it everyday. Self efficacy, as I’ve noted before, is really about perceptions, because it’s the perception that you can do something that gives you, well, that essential “can-do” spirit. And having a solid list–one that is confirmed by someone in-the-know can help you, in a number of ways, including:
Be less defensive: As soon as you’re clear about what you can do, you can stop feeling funky and defensive about what you can’t do. That means that if your boss asks you to take on a project that seems overwhelming, you can break it down into those tasks that you know you can accomplish and those tasks for which you’ll need to ask for help. (Topic for another day: Why asking for help is always better than fudging).
Map out where you need to go: Clarity about your current feelings of self efficacy can help you identify skills that you’d like to master in the future, whether it’s new surgical techniques, a new inventory management system, or hosting classes in your small retail space.
Feel a little better about yourself: Having a list of what you think you’re good at can have a salutory effect on your sense of can-doism and your willingness to tackle bigger projects, broader professional horizons, or that promising new sales lead.