I woke up with the same feeling I had experienced each morning for what felt like forever. “Ugh, really? Can’t I just stay asleep?” Not in the average I-don’t-feel-like-going-to-work-today kind of way. In a seriously-I’d-rather-not-be-conscious kind of way.

My bones felt heavy. Everything felt like such an effort and I couldn’t seem to shake this feeling of worthlessness. My inner critic was in her prime, and let me tell you, she was not shy about pointing out every flaw. I would argue my way out of compliments like a pro, always armed with a reason why I wasn’t as good as anyone thought I was.

The year was 2004, and I had recently been diagnosed with depression. If you’ve ever been there yourself, you know what a crappy and isolating ride it is. I sought the help I needed (which was very difficult to access), but I’ll never forget what my therapist said to me one spring morning.

She said, “You’re making quick progress because of what you’re doing between sessions. Honestly, our time together is important, but how you choose to implement what we’re doing is really where it all happens.”

Until then, I hadn’t thought of it that way. I really did give her all the credit, a large part of which she certainly deserved. But what I didn’t see was that I was a really diligent client who was taking responsibility for my own healing in a way that would catapult my progress. To me, it just felt like I was doing what was required – nothing special. But she pointed out to me that this was something worth celebrating. Something that doesn’t come easily. Something that requires willingness and openness and follow-through, which are all very difficult when you’re dealing with clinical depression and anxiety.

She recognized my greatness, and that helped me to see where I was, at best, downplaying my awesomeness and at worst, completely blind to it. That moment really gave me pause. Looking at it through her eyes, I was able to see that some things that felt automatic to me were absolutely worth celebrating.

I started recognizing myself in small ways that felt honest and real. (I mention one of them in this episode.) With practice, I connected to my intrinsic sense of worthiness, and gave my inner critic a run for her money. Self-recognition turned down the volume on judgment, and opened the door to a healthy, fulfilling future.

I learned that our unique gifts and talents can feel basic. We don’t even notice them let alone celebrate them. We assume that everyone possesses these qualities.

But that’s not true.

So today, I invite you to take a moment and consider your unique strengths, gifts and talents, and recognize yo self!

Check out the latest episode of Guts & Grace: Recognizing Greatness with Sarah McVanel for some serious inspiration on what it can do for you and where to start.

In this episode of Guts & Grace, we dive into:
  • the difference recognition can make in our lives (and how it helped both of us when we were depressed)
  • how recognizing greatness contributes to success
  • how to cut through the noise when your inner critic is LOUD and recognize your own greatness
  • how recognition helps our personal and professional relationships
  • how to start leading your own recognition revolution – in your household, your community, or your workplace
Sarah McVanel helps leaders leverage the exponential power of recognition to retain top talent and sustain healthy bottom lines. She holds an MSc in Family Relations and is a certified coach, HR and OD professional. Sarah left her senior leadership role to open boutique firm Greatness Magnified. She is an author of articles and two books on recognition.
Check out this episode of Guts & Grace as we take a deep dive into the power of focusing on what’s working in order to amplify motivation, mood, follow-through and satisfaction all around.
Find out more about Sarah at www.greatnessmagnified.com, and check out her virtual program, 52 Weeks of Greatness.