Do you have a healthy sense of your own self-worth? How often do you ask yourself or doubt whether you are “good enough” to accept or to do something?
Self Worth (Audio)
How often do you berate yourself or talk yourself down in your self-talk? Conversely, how often do you acknowledge yourself or praise yourself for having done well? Do you feel uncomfortable “blowing your own trumpet, and then put it down to “being too humble” to do so? Aren’t all of these a fairly typical indication of how we value ourselves?
Self worth – a little test
I am a member of a network of business professionals that help small businesses grow into big businesses. Last week I was at our monthly networking event where 20 or so professionals met to interact, update each other and learn from each other’s successes. In the continuous personal / professional development section of the evening, fellow Associate and Coach Gordon Smith did a great exercise which I have agreed with him to share with you in this blog.
a) He asked us each to write down 3 key criteria by which we would judge someone to “be successful” (whatever success means to you).
Go on, why don’t you stop here quickly, get a notepad and write those 3 things down that best represent for you the criteria that you judge success in others by.
b) Then he asked us to rate ourselves on a scale of 1-10 on how we assessed ourselves across those 3 criteria.
Go on; please would you do the same now?
Do you know that of the 20 or so of us in the room, only 2 of us rated ourselves greater than an 8 or 9 across the criteria we ourselves used to judge others success by when asked to judge ourselves. Isn’t that amazing?
How did you go?
We are known to be our own harshest critics, aren’t we? In Australia the “tall poppy syndrome” is still as alive and well as ever. We don’t want to be seen “pushing the envelope” or bragging or blowing our own trumpet too much, do we? I still experience success or profit being “frowned upon”.
90% of our meeting of successful professionals proved that to be true in the way that we saw or rated our success. In the very things that mattered for them in terms of looking at other people’s success, they didn’t see that “they were good enough” to be rated highly across those criteria. Remarkable, but very typical, right?
If you were in the category that did rate yourself highly against your own success criteria, I congratulate you, and urge you to assist others around you to also make this shift.
If not, now that I have brought it to your attention, is it something you consider important enough to focus on improving in your journey towards being the best you that you can be?
In my work as a coach I am now starting to see more and more people prepared in a one on one to “give themselves a plug”, but they often still cringe when they need to or try to do so in a group. Which one do you best relate to?
Personal experience of self worth
Is it OK if I share a relevant personal experience with you in case it helps you with a new perspective you might find useful?
I have been in my own business for 7 years now. The transition from being a corporate executive with decades of experience all over the world into being solely responsible for what happens in my own business endeavours is one that many people try and many fail at. It takes guts and perseverance. Anyone starting out on their own has the guts, I know. But not everyone is able or willing to “stick it out” until it is successful, like I wrote in Dancing until it rains.
After almost 3 years of “contracting” in my CIO peer space I (thought I) realized that each assignment was just “boringly more of the same” and hence chose to re-invent myself as a coach and mentor. As I embarked on this new journey where I not only learned significant new professional skills, as well as learning how to apply all my existing skills and experience in guiding and assisting others in enhancing their own success, I realized just how much I still needed to learn and grow at a personal level in order to excel in that.
I needed to develop a strong self awareness and had to learn how to “jump over many of my own shadows”, but one of my biggest breakthroughs came when I realized that my “boredom” I mentioned above was in fact a “cop-out”; that I wasn’t winning the assignments I really wanted because I still held a perception of my own self worth in which I didn’t believe that I was Good enough to do justice to the demands of such roles. And if I didn’t turn them down from my side, my inner dialogue, my doubting self talk came through in my eyes, which the client “felt” and subsequently chose another candidate. This in turn affirmed my “negative self belief” and my ego driven mind chatter said – “see, I told you so”. Full circle – self fulfilling prophecy, right?
And with that awareness I embarked on further personal development because once “you know”, you can go about “doing what you know has to be done”. And then – it’s quite a while back now – an associate tested me with another “scary gig” and only after I “said yes and then figured out how I was going to be able to do that” did I realize that I hadn’t “played that old chestnut” any more, as I had done so many times before.
Only in hindsight did I realize that I “had moved on”. Turns out that gig didn’t materialize, but I had my breakthrough and the next one did materialize and it was a great success. And that led to the next successful one. And the next. And now I have crossed a major threshold in my own own belief of my self worth and all the hard work and angst and pain and anxiety etc lies in the past. Like the birth of a baby, there was much ongoing labour until in a final rush, it was born. And all the fear and Self Doubt is no more. It’s a new chapter. And I could wholeheartedly rank myself an 8 and 9 in my assessment of my own success criteria the other night. So it confirmed how bright the immediate future looks, as does the medium term future and so does the long term future. Since then I have embarked on a whole bunch of new ventures in my business that I simply couldn’t see last year.
In closing off that part of this blog, will you allow me to quote Brad Sugars, Australian billionaire of Action Coaching International fame he shared with us when a bunch of us were lucky enough to have access to grill him on his success for half an hour? He said: “if you done it, it ain’t bragging”.
A number of things changed that made the above shift possible.
- First and most importantly, I made a real inner decision that “enough was enough”.
- I read a bunch of personal development books. I watched what worked in the manifestation of change in the clients I was coaching. I asked a lot of peers and a lot of mentors and other coaches and many other successful people whether and how they “licked” similar situations. I heard many things for the first time because now I was ready to listen for myself, and not just in theory. I was ready to put it into practice for myself.
- Last week in “The Comfort Zone” I spoke about getting good at my dislikes. But most importantly I “just did it”. I felt the fear and did what needed to be done anyway on the basis that “action cures fear”. I didn’t allow myself any Procrastination.
- I started to seriously listen to my Self Talk and pick up any “negative language” or where I noticed I was chastising myself. When I noticed that I reframed it to rather find something to acknowledge and compliment me about. It’s just a choice you know; unfamiliar at first but a choice nonetheless.
- I used affirmations to convince myself that I had a superb track record, both my corporate career as well as in my own business. I chose to build a set of beliefs of my own self worth that I was in fact an authority in my field and had the results to back it up. You see, I didn’t need to convince anyone else but myself. And so I did.
- I chose to practice Trusting oneself and reminded myself how as a coach I embrace uncertainty all the time; that what needed to occur and come to me would. And it did.
- I realized that “being seen to be humble” can in fact be an inner statement of a lack of self worth. I finally grasped that there is nothing wrong with “blowing your own trumpet” when you have the results. I wasn’t kidding anyone else – I was kidding myself.
Only those of you that have experienced a similar personal change will know what it feels like to have “made that shift”. It is so liberating. It is so empowering. It is so worth it. Belief in self and in your own self worth is so very valuable.
So, I have shared a very personal part of my journey with you today, hoping that it may inspire some of you to “bash a stake in the ground” and make a decision to move on in terms of your own personal thresholds you know you have been wanting to cross for a while now.
Go on, why not own up to yourself what that might be holding you back and make a real inner decision to tackle it once and for all? (I know that every human being has such thresholds). Not next year; not next month – right now. And if you need a coach to help you through it, why wait?
What if you could, and what if you did?