Boosting Confidence and Cultivating Growth through Recognizing Your Contributions

Override Health

In the pursuit of personal development and self-improvement, the concept of practicing gratitude has gained significant attention. Gratitude journals, mindfulness practices, and thankfulness exercises have become popular tools to enhance overall well-being. However, a subtle yet profound shift in perspective suggests that instead of focusing solely on gratitude, acknowledging and recording our contributions can be a more potent catalyst for building confidence and fostering personal growth.

Sheryl Sandberg’s Experiment

Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, faced a period of self-doubt and low confidence following her husband’s sudden death. In an effort to help her recover, psychologist Adam Grant suggested a unique approach – rather than practicing gratitude, Sandberg should record three things she did well every day. For six months, Sandberg faithfully adhered to this practice, and the results were enlightening.

Counting Contributions vs. Counting Blessings

Adam Grant and his colleague, Jane Dutton, conducted research on the impact of gratitude versus recognizing one's contributions. Their findings challenged the conventional wisdom that gratitude is the key to boosting confidence and effort. Rather, they discovered that counting contributions, actively acknowledging the positive actions we take, has a more significant impact.

The Passive Nature of Gratitude

Gratitude, while undoubtedly valuable, tends to be passive in nature. It makes us appreciative of what we receive, fostering a sense of thankfulness. However, it may not necessarily fuel our confidence or inspire greater effort. Sandberg's experience highlights that relying solely on gratitude might not be sufficient in rebuilding one's self-esteem.

The Active Power of Contributions

On the other hand, contributions are active. When we recognize and record the positive actions we take, it serves as a powerful reminder that we can make a difference. This shift in focus from receiving to contributing is transformative. It empowers individuals to see their impact on the world, reinforcing a sense of efficacy and self-worth.

Building Confidence and Fostering Growth

Recording daily contributions goes beyond merely patting ourselves on the back for things we did well or contributed to others. It becomes a reflective practice that encourages self-awareness and a proactive mindset. As Sandberg attests, the act of acknowledging personal achievements cultivates a positive feedback loop, boosting confidence and motivating individuals to continue making meaningful contributions.

Encouraging Others to Recognize Their Achievements

Inspired by her own transformative experience, Sandberg now encourages her friends and colleagues to adopt the habit of writing down what they do well. The consistent feedback from those who have embraced this practice is unanimous – they wish they had started doing it sooner.

Examples of Contributions

Your 3 things don’t have to be groundbreaking or earth shattering to count. It could be something like listening to a friend going through a tough time, making a nice dinner for your family, or painting your nails well! Big or small, you can count them! We are all good at things (different things!), and through this exercise you might find that you are capable of a lot more than you consciously realized.


In the journey of personal development, the power of recognizing our contributions cannot be overstated. While gratitude has its place, actively acknowledging the positive actions we take fosters a sense of confidence, purpose, and empowerment. Shifting our focus from what we receive to what we contribute can be a game-changer in building resilience and cultivating a mindset of continuous growth. So, instead of merely counting our blessings, consider beginning to count and celebrate your contributions every day. 

Posted on 
April 12, 2024

Don't miss the next blog post

Sign up to be notified of new blog posts