Listen, this is a hard topic. I know it will not apply to all readers; many of you are already confident (or as I like to say, “ humbly-confident”). But it will apply to some; if it applies to you, it was worth every word.
Don’t know if it applies to you? Take the three examples and see if any describes you.
- You don’t want to pursue training in Orientation and Mobility or Assistive Technology because you don’t think you’d be hired or perform well regardless.
- If you were told by your boss that you are an exceptional employee, you would not believe her.
- You would apply for a leadership role or other more senior position if you thought you were qualified. (Did I mention you have worked in your field for years with positive performance evaluations?)
Any of these statements sound like the war that wages in your mind? The war of worth. You struggle with a sense of worthiness.
You know me, always listening to TEDtalks. Of course I heard a fantastic one yesterday: “The Power of Vulnerability” by qualitative researcher Brene Brown.
Ms. Brown studied adults who feel worthwhile and those who don’t. She wanted to know what makes people feel “worthy”, and if those who lack a sense of worthiness could utilize strategies to begin feeling “worthy”.
After years of research, she concluded, “A sense of worthiness comes from a strong sense of love and belonging.”
So I wonder if you have a “tribe” in which you belong. Do you have a core group of friends? Alternatively, have you been feeling socially isolated?
Ms. Brown would tell you that belonging to a group is imperative because it will give you:
- Courage to be imperfect
- Compassion to yourself and others
- Connection as a result of authenticity, and
Out of this safe and comforting place will rise, according to Ms. Brown, “a birthplace of creativity, belonging, love, joy.”
Here are my suggestions for plugging into a group and finding your “tribe”:
- Utilize AFB’s directory of services to find a local peer support group with others who are blind or visually impaired.
- Volunteer in an area of interest and get to know those who you work alongside.
- Get involved in the activities suggested in “How to Beat Work-Related Stress”, such as joining a social club, hobby group, exercise team, etc.
- Invite your neighbors to dinner.
You’ll have to interact with a dozen or more social groups, I’d guess, before finding one that is a perfectly imperfect match with you. But do it anyway; Your mental health will thank you.
After you are well-connected, I think you’ll see you were already worthy. You can be successful in the right workplace. You can get a job; you can be an exceptional employee; and you can advance in your career.