As I thought about endings and beginnings — particularly because this is the end of our fiscal and staff review year — I was struck by a quote I saw on the wisakc blogpost by Sara Furr, “We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
Last week, I wrote my self evaluation, and this week I continued my work on evaluating the work of my staff. What I noticed was that those who have been struggling most praise themselves endlessly. They are perhaps the best staff members, communicators, and student advocates to have ever worked at this or any institution. But those who have done the most — the ones who are truly rockstars, or at least rockstars in the making — are self deprecating, critical, and punitive. They see themselves as lacking some great ability or knowledge that has been bestowed upon others.
In thinking about the quote above, I wonder how many of us, women in particular, defend ourselves from criticism by first heaping is upon ourselves. “There is nothing you can say that is worse than what I say about myself.” But by doing so, we lose our ability to shine. We lose our ability to share our great strengths, wisdoms, and talents with the world.
And so, in this year’s evaluations, my new goal is to push my staff not to set higher goals or to reach for greater successes, but instead to recognize their own skills and talents and to be able to praise them. Perhaps if I can encourage them to do so, I’ll also be able to find the talent in myself… and maybe just learn to take a compliment!