Take a moment or two today to consider what you do.
You can pick your work, your calling, your hobby, it doesn’t matter. But, don’t get too cute with it. I was going to write, “Don’t pick sleep, or veg out on the sofa in front of the TV.” But, maybe your calling is to help others sleep, or help them relax. Anyway, pick something real.
How do you feel about what you do? Does it come easily or naturally to you? Do you value it?
Tasks that come too easy
Don’t undervalue your own knowledge and understanding. The more genius, talented women I work with, the more I realize that so many people discount what comes easy to them.
We’ve all been taught that “hard work is the key to success.” So we value the struggle and the fight and the overcoming. But we don’t value the skills that come easily to us. We often think that if something is easy for us, it must be easy for everyone else. We think that even when we can say logically it’s not true.
But those things that come easy – wouldn’t that be the more natural path to go down? Maybe you were born to do the things that come easy to you, to help out the rest of us who don’t find that task to be easy.
I know that for years, I sought out the hard problems, thinking that by solving them or even just working on them, I was doing the kind of work that would help me success as a business owner. The trouble was that every problem I solved was new, so I never developed an expertise in solving a particular problem. I didn’t get any traction.
But in the past year, and even more recently, in the past few months, I’ve been doing the work that comes more easily to me. For other types of work, I’ve either designed my business not to include it (for example, my business currently doesn’t build apps) or I’ve hired someone with expertise to do it (another example – some complicated CSS styling that I would have been able to figure out if I worked at it, but it was smarter to hire a CSS expert).
The more I think about this, the more I think the “hard work” is in the showing up and the perseverance required to make anything happen. The work itself doesn’t have to be hard for it to be valuable to others.
Everyone has their own gifts
When we travel to visit my in-laws, we visit as many folks as we can since we’re not there very often. A few years ago, we used to visit a relative who took care of a teenager/young women with Down’s Syndrome named Brittney (Little Britt to us, because it’s the South and we like nicknames).
When my son was very little, he played with Britt and they laughed and giggled at the same jokes and had fun with walkie-talkies and ran around looking for candy. As he grew a bit, he noticed that Britt seemed much older than him, but still acted like a little kid. And at 8 or 9, he realized that when he would say something, Britt wouldn’t always understand what he was talking about.
He still enjoyed hanging out with Little Britt (she is delightful), but he was confused about why she acted like a younger child. We had a talk about Down’s Syndrome at his level, and we talked about her being different than most people he knew.
But we also talked about the gifts she had that made her so wonderful. She has a gift for making people smile. You can’t be around Britt without being happy. She has a job as a greeter/hostess at a local restaurant and she is the first cheery face patrons see. The world needs Britt and her gift of smiles.
Then we talked about the different gifts other people we know have. And how some people may not have an ability in one area but have an abundance of talent in another area. Little Britt may not get very far in school, but she can make someone’s day better with her sunny smile and happy personality.
It would be tragic for the world if people didn’t use the talents they have because they don’t feel like they are valuable. The world needs everybody.
These life lessons we teach our kids are ones that we need to remember for ourselves.
Value at work
The world is too big for everyone to understand everything, even if you had the brain power to do so. And just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should do it or that you would even want to.
So if you’re in the group that feels like your own skill comes easy, therefore it must not be valuable, think about some of the things that you happily pay for in your own life.
Here’s a work example. Do you pay for accounting services? I’m thinking about this one since I’m ready to hire someone for accounting. Based on my education and background, I certainly could understand accounting, if I took the time to learn and study and keep up with the different tax laws. I don’t want to put my time there. I just don’t want to learn accounting or do accounting beyond a basic level. But I value accounting skills, so I’m willing to pay for them.
On the other hand, I have a great friend who loves accounting and numbers and she keeps up with her continuing education. She’s a CPA and has a great deal of experience. It comes easy to her and she’s very good at what she does, but she has also done the “hard work” of keeping current. I think most people would agree that accounting has a lot of value. But I wonder if she values her own work. I think I’ll ask 🙂
Can you value your own work?
For me, the way I’m learning to value my own work is to think about how your work can help someone else. How can you make someone’s life easier or better? What will be better for someone else after they work with you?
Interestingly answering those questions can lead to all sorts of positive thoughts. Directly, your list from above becomes a list of benefits of your products and services that can help you sell them. When you see how much you can help others, you can price your products and services fairly for both of you. Others will value your work if you make sure you communicate to them how they will benefit. Plus, knowing your can help feels good.
Indirectly, once you know how you help others, you’re confronted with the value you give to others. It becomes impossible to think of the value you give to others while devaluing your own work at the same time. (And when I say, “becomes” I mean that it takes time to work through those incongruencies.)
When other people don’t value your work
Just because someone else doesn’t value your work, you don’t have to take their word as gospel. They’re not the only person in the world other than you. If someone else doesn’t value your work, then it may be because they don’t plan on following through, or don’t value their own work.
I’ve realized something about the folks who want cheap work from freelancers and other small businesses. It’s not so much a judgment on you or your work. It’s that they don’t really value what they’re doing themselves. They can’t value what you do if you’re helping them with a project they don’t think will succeed or thrive. Don’t let their own insecurities impact you.
Try to value what you do
If you can value what you do, you align better with those that value themselves. Start thinking through the benefits you bring to the world. Everyone can bring value to the world.
You're a business-owning mom, so you use this guide to prioritize your tasks in 2 minutes, and have 41 minutes left to knock out a task.