Making Your Own Top Ten List

Now that 2010 is ending, you’ll find all kinds of lists on the Internet: the 10 films most likely to be nominated for an Academy Award; the 20 most interesting people, the 5 best books. In addition to spending some of your spare time reading through these lists, how about taking some personal time this week to create your own list – of your 10 most important assets?

It may seem unusual for you, a member of the Sandwich Generation, to concentrate on yourself instead of on the needs of your growing children or aging parents. But take a deep breath, put your feet up for a moment and allow yourself to focus on and embrace your own development at this pivotal time.

Creating your inventory will give you a leg up on beginning 2011 from a position of power – but how do you begin? To help you, we’ve created a short list to help you focus on your assets – not the financial ones, which may still be down, but the personal strengths you own. Use this process to discover some of your hidden passions. Reflect on your answers or discuss them with a trusted friend as you create an expanded sense of yourself. Whether or not you’re a Sandwiched Boomer, here are some tips to get you started:

Keeping a journal will help you clarify your thoughts and feelings as you look at all aspects of your life. As you begin to make an inventory of your assets, include what you have done and the value you have created in the past – as student, family member, career associate, community volunteer, friend. Now think about what you are currently doing in your life that you feel proud about – the gift of time that you give to you growing children and aging parents as well as those around you.

portrait of an elderly woman sitting on a couch and writing

Identify your strengths. What are some of your natural talents? These are the things that come so easily you often don’t notice it. And how about the acquired skills you have used successfully? You may have worked hard to perfect them. Both your talents and your skills make up your abilities – your greatest personal strengths. Think about what they are and how you use them. These could encompass, among others, attributes as diverse as a love of learning, a sense of humor, loyalty, an appreciation of beauty, the ability to love and be loved. Recognize how you apply them in your life everyday.

Consider how others view you and your contributions. Who uses you as a role model and in what areas? Realize that all of your life experiences have led you to the wisdom you now possess. Honor this insight and find ways to share what you already know well with your own children – or, if they are already grown, mentor students learning to read, become a Big Sister, coach a soccer team at the youth center.

To read more tips about how to build your strengths and prepare to utilize them, look to the left of this post where you can sign up for our Her Mentor Center newsletter, Stepping Stones, and receive our ebook, Courage and Lessons Learned: Reaching for Your Goals, as a complimentary gift from us.

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