What Do You Give Yourself Credit For?

When I write books, I write some words I don’t need in this book. (Sometimes, not any book…) Sometimes, I try to write a Pragmatic Manager, and I edit it so much that there are plenty of words I don’t use. I keep files on my hard drive with names such as “StufftoUseSomeday.” I get credit for all the words I write.

When I give myself credit, I acknowledge my work. I have learned something, so I can succeed better the next time. I might use this work in the future. Even if I don’t, that’s fine. I acknowledge the work I finished.

The acknowledgement is critical. If you do acknowledge yourself, you see how much you have grown/changed. If you don’t, you can’t know. I would rather know.

If you don’t give yourself credit, you don’t see your reality.

It’s easy to say, “I haven’t finished <the book> or <the code> or <the tests> or whatever. That doesn’t help you finish. When you give yourself credit, you make it possible for you to finish what remains. That’s because you take an optimistic perspective.

What do you give yourself credit for? Maybe, just as importantly, what do you not give yourself credit for?

Here are things you might not give yourself credit for:

  • Experiments, where you learned something, even if wasn’t what you wanted to learn.
  • Attempts, where you tried something, just to see if you could.
  • Any creative attempt—and yes, I count development and testing as creative work, not just the arts—where you were unsure of yourself.
  • Something physical, where you might not succeed.

All of those areas and more are where you might consider your reaction to success or not-success-yet.

The more you consider each attempt a learning, and not a failure, the more you can learn. The more you say, “I get credit for this,” whatever this is, you know you can learn from your actions.

Every so often I return to the words in my “Someday” files. I almost never use them as is. I often use the ideas they encapsulate.

Even when I “fail,” I can learn. This is the growth mindset.

BTW, you don’t want to know how many words I killed in this post.

Dear adaptable problem solvers, this is your question this week: What do you give yourself credit for?

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