What Are You Good At?

Beating myself up for my mistakes is an art form, and I’ve perfected it over the years. Judging from conversations with friends, I’m not alone in this talent. Now’s the time, however, to flip that around and let go of negative self-talk and grab onto, instead, more positive affirmations.

Early On

The path leading to today’s question is:  see something, learn how to do it (then do it or not), and move on to the next thing. When I was younger, I never took the time to really think about what I did well and what I did that needed improvement. I got written evaluations at work, which let me know if I was performing up to the expectations of my boss. At home, I got laughter and tranquility if my behaviors and choices were good enough to please the family, and I’d experience discord if they weren’t.

As a young woman, sometimes I asked myself:  Do you enjoy what you’re doing? That’s as far as I would question anything. I never wondered whether what I was doing was a worthy endeavor or valued by another. All too psychological for me in those early years, when I was caught up in just trying to get ahead. And what about the question whether we’re good at what we’re doing?

Older, More Mellow

Why bother asking what we’re good at? We’re older, mostly out of the job market, and more settled; don’t rock the boat!

Is it even worthwhile to look at what we’re good at?

Yes. It’s worth asking the question because what surfaces may show an area where pleasure expands for us. In other words, we can do something that provides good in this world for ourselves or others that we’re not currently doing. Passions get identified when we look at what comes up in the answers to this question. Plus, we can educate ourselves on how to stop wasting time seeking reassurances for those things we already do well.

Identifying what you’re good at means you can spend more time doing what you’re good at, and that might not be what you’re doing today. Identifying your talents will provide more fun and more confidence in your life. As a bonus, you might find yourself more in demand. Perhaps there are lots of people who aren’t as good as you are in that one thing where you shine.

Short Exercise

Take a brief moment to list in writing all the things you’re good at. Don’t forget being compassionate, organized, or a good public speaker, if any of these apply. Can you can knit up a storm or garden with your huge green thumb? Write them down. All of them. It’s that easy.

After you’ve finished writing down all your talents, ponder the list. See if the bulk of your energies are, in fact, going toward the things you’re good at. If you want, you can share your list with a friend to see if it matches their perception of your talents.


I, for one, am good at listening. And, while I’ve known this at some level for ages, when I do the exercise of identifying in writing what I do well, I can see myself doing more for the benefit of others. For instance, two situations arose with close friends:  one’s husband passed away and the other’s relative went to jail. Obviously, there are a couple of great reasons to listen to them – regardless of what they want to share. They don’t need my advice or input; they need me to listen and to care. I’m great at both!

I’m also good at cooking — not everything, not all the time, but I can cook some good food. Writing that down helps remind me that for the next benefit potluck event, I’m your girl. I’m happy to make a dish that will taste good and provide nicely for the event.


What are you good at? What person or situation is just waiting to benefit from one of those things? Feeling down, out of sorts – who isn’t these days – or disconnected? Sharing what you’re already good at will expand your participation in the world, on your terms, with your talents. Why not spend the latter part of your life frolicking in your passions, sharing your talents?

Someone needs you and what you’re good at now.