Don’t Underestimate Your Talents— and the Value They Bring to the World

We need to appreciate our strengths the way other people do

Jack Calhoun
Published in
4 min readAug 11, 2021


Photo by William Recinos on Unsplash

“How much did you make?” I ask my daughter when she returns from her latest babysitting gig. She’s home from college for the summer and has more families calling her than she can accommodate.

“They paid me $80,” she says.

She can tell by the incredulous look on my face I’m thinking about how I used to make $1.25 an hour for doing that.

“I know, right?” she says with a sheepish half-smile. “I feel kinda guilty, because the kids were only awake for an hour. They slept the other three hours. I never even quoted them an hourly rate — that’s just what they gave me.”

My mind goes back to our own nightmarish experiences with babysitters when she and her brother were toddlers. Last minute cancellations. Kids still up watching TV when we got home at midnight. Dirty dishes still on the dining table.

Once, we came home to find our then-two-year-old son jumping on the bed next to a wide-open second floor window — while the babysitter had been downstairs on her phone.

“You know what?” I tell my daughter. “They paid you that because that’s your value to them. It’s not whether the kids are awake or asleep while you’re there. It’s that they get to go out and have a nice dinner and know they can trust you to take care of the most important things in their lives — their children.”

“I guess you’re right,” she says. But I can tell she still feels a little guilty at all the money these families pay for what doesn’t feel, to her, like “real” work.

She shouldn’t feel guilty, though, because she’s dependable, responsible and resourceful — traits that are in short supply in the babysitting world, and the world at large. She’s also warm and caring, and kids are drawn to her like animals to Dr. Doolittle.

Because those qualities come naturally to my daughter, she undervalues them. But the parents don’t. They know how hard good babysitters are to find, and they will pay a king’s ransom to make sure they keep coming back.

Why it’s so hard to embrace our natural…



Jack Calhoun
Writer for

20+ years as managing principal of a wealth advisory firm. I write about the principles of sound investing, the solopreneur life and the wisdom of experience.