Increase your confidence by celebrating your strengths, Part I

Build confidence, visualise your strengths.

The Woman who Turned into a Washing Machine

Once upon a time there was a hardworking mum who lived in a little house with her husband and six lively children. Every day she would cook and clean, wash and sew, dig and mend … oh no! That was only on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturday mornings, since in the spirit of equality and free enterprise the au pair did it on the other days of the week. Don’t ask me where dad was – this story’s not about him!

Anyway, in the bliss that was this busy home life, mum was content – until the day the washing machine broke. Panic and pandemonium! How would she cope? The au pair was due to go back to the Land of 2.2 Children next week; she would surely drown in a sea of unwashed nappies and dirty socks for she had never seen another washing machine like hers, and had no idea how to set about finding one. Fortunately, though, she need not have worried for, unbeknown to her, the Great Giants of Marketing had been working for many years, waiting for this very moment when the hardworking woman would need their help.

A rumble on the rough road outside the house made the woman jump, and she rushed outside to see a huge lorry roll past with pictures of new washing machines emblazoned on each side. Later that day when she was shopping in town – even though it was a Tuesday and the au pair should have been doing it (she had some lame excuse about needing to pack her suitcase!) – the woman saw vans with similar shocking pictures on them. As she walked down the street, bright shiny appliances jumped out at her from shop windows, trying to seduce her with their slimline fit and gleaming door pulls. When she got home that evening, TV commercials continued to unexpectedly suggest solutions to her laundry crisis as she served up her homemade stew and dumplings. “Strange!” she thought. “This morning I had no idea where to look for a new washing machine, but all day long I’ve seen them at every turn.” She smashed her ‘Rainy Day’ savings pot and, fortunately, had enough money to buy a super humongous deluxe washing machine, and told the au pair not to bother coming back!

The moral of this story is not that busy mums will actually turn into washing machines (though they might regularly feel like one). Rather it’s to say that whatever you focus on, that’s what you’ll see: if you need a new Super-Do-Anything1,000-ometer, then you’ll start to see plenty of them around. And in terms of our personal growth, whatever we focus on we will become. So if we want to become more confident, we need to focus on the things that will enable us to feel that way – the things we’re good at: our strengths.

Now, no-one likes to work too hard, do they? No.

No-one likes to pick up a pen and actually write something when they thought they would just be reading, do they? No.

Well, why don’t you just break with tradition and be the one who actually does it? Go on.

No-one’s looking.

Get a pen and write down five things that you are good at. You might make the best cup of tea this side of Darjeeling, or you might be the most punctual person since the White Rabbit (not too difficult, that one). Whatever it is, just jot it down.

Brain dead?

Try a few of these to see if they fit, and then add some more of your own.

Punctual, honest, friendly, kind, sporty, well-organised, energetic, funny, observant.

Choose one of your strengths and just turn it over in your mind for a few moments. Where does this strength show up in your life? Why do you think you are good at it? How would you feel if someone said you were not very … (whatever it is)? That might make you realize just how jolly good at it you really are, and you don’t care two hoots what they say!

Over this next week just be mindful of that particular strength. See when and where it crops up, and celebrate it when it does. Your confidence will increase as you realize just how good at this you really are.

Share below what strength you’re going to focus on, then check back next week for the second part of this blog.

If you want to know more about becoming a confident parent please feel free to check out my book, ‘Unlock the Cage’. You can get a FREE sample chapter here

I don’t think there’s anything about fairy godmothers in it, but there is plenty about the magic of change.


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  1. Jackie Charley
    4 years ago

    OK, I set the challenge so I’ll go first. The strength I’m going to focus on this week is ‘being friendly’. I enjoy people, and I’ve been told that I’m good at being warm and connecting with folk, so I’m going to practise that this week.

    You can check it out if you like. Send me a message or tweet @JackieCharley and see if I’m practising being friendly enough!

    What’s going to be your strength to celebrate this week?

  2. Julie Masterson
    4 years ago

    Hi di hi Jackie. Beautifully written, as usual! This week I’m going to focus on being a great support to others! x

  3. Jackie Charley
    4 years ago

    Julie, that certainly is one of your (many) strengths! Have fun focussing on it and see where it takes you. I nearly offered the Tesco delivery man a cup of tea yesterday, since I’m focussing on being friendly, but he seemed in a bit of a rush. Thought it might be ‘unfriendly’ if I made him late for his next drop!

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