Letters-of-Recommendation-boost-self-confidenceI opened a file this week that kicked me in the butt. Income tax time in my house is for culling and shredding the past year, but this old file will remain in tact for the rest of my life. It reminds me of the good stuff.

“Resumes” contains Letters of Recommendation from my past. I stopped short and read, then sat down to reread… over and over again. It’s true that employers know what other employers want to hear, but forget about that. So what if my job skills were embellished a bit, it felt good to read such a glowing report about myself. Who am I to dispute the boss. By the way, denial is a good thing!

I’ve had many jobs over the years — paid AND unpaid — but only 2 letters of recommendation survived. But two is enough to boost a person’s self confidence. “Carol communicates clearly and we relied on her superb writing skills.” “Carol is blah, blah, blah.” Oh boy, tell me more!

Unless you’re lucky enough to have a friend who is brutal honest, you go through life not really knowing how the world sees you. The first time I discovered that other people didn’t see me like I saw myself is still vivid. It was a holiday party and a lively conversation with the host’s dad. (Important to note here that homemade eggnog was the star and there was plenty of it!) Mid-conversation he said something startling, “You’re so candid!” He made it sound like a compliment but was it?. I was going about my normal conversation business, but the important part was the word he used, “candid”. I do like to be honest but, at the time, thought everyone did. Wrong! Since then, other adjectives have been attached — outspoken, blunt, frank, up-front, straightforward — but I’ve decided these are good words. Again, denial is a good thing.

A collection of resume parts turns out to be a treasure trove of ego boosters. Every time I left a job — paid or volunteer — I scribbled the name of employer, supervisor, position, and list of skills used. Then, no need to search my past when applying for something new. Whether you use a pen or a keyboard, the idea is the same because it’s easy to forget all the skills you used in the job before last. Reading through the list from time to time reminds me of the good parts of me, especially important because I easily get swept away by the negative.

I’d forgotten all about some of the jobs, starting before my children came along, and this week have been reminded, and delighted, by my own accomplishments. I’m good at more stuff than I remember or, ahem, WAS good anyway. There, I’ve said it. To heck with that evil thing called bragging. Yes!

Weeded out this week: One more chunk of self doubt.