Are you too hard on yourself? Do you tend to focus on your limitations rather than your strengths? You’re not alone. As women, we often find it easier to see our flaws than our abilities.
But in my work with low-income women, I’ve learned the value of taking a more positive approach. For them, learning to recognize their ’hidden’ assets is often the catalyst to taking those first difficult steps out of poverty.
Every woman who attends one of the economic development programs we fund is asked to fill out a special questionnaire. It captures all of her assets—not just how much money she has but also things like friendships, self-confidence, and leadership skills. This approach is grounded in the Sustainable Livelihoods framework we’ve been developing over the past 15 years. The women learn first to notice all of their assets, then to leverage them to reach their goals. One participant said, “mapping my assets was an ‘aha moment’ and a positive way of looking at my current reality.”