One thing I’ve noticed about all the successful people I’ve met – they all are convinced of the importance of what they do and of their own personal importance. I don’t mean in an egotistical, arrogant way, but in a way best expressed as quiet confidence. And many of them didn’t start that way – they had to develop the habits of thought that allowed them to believe in their own worthiness and ability. It’s not easy, but it is critical to personal success.
I’ve also noticed how many people, by their own actions, communicate their feeling of unimportance. They do it in little ways – deferring to someone else when they had a perfect right to stand their ground; when they apologize or minimize their own contribution; when they don’t speak up even though they have a lot to say; when they fail to express their successes.
When we were kids, I remember being told to “not talk unless talked to,” that I was to “be seen and not heard,” that talking about myself was boastful, that it was “better to keep my mouth shut and appear dumb, than to open it and remove all doubt.” I’m sure many of you have your own list of negative messages that were part of your life.
When those message soak in and become beliefs – and they do – it’s tough to not feel that others must be better or more able or more worthy.
Think about your own self talk. What does it tell you about yourself – does it help you feel more worthy and able, or does it keep repeating those messages of your earlier years?
You’d be surprised how many people – when they really think about this, say they still hear their own “be seen and not heard” messages.
The story is told of the three stone masons – all working on the same job. When asked what he was doing, the first said he was cutting and laying stone. The second said he was building a school, and the third one said he was helping build a place of learning for children, and he wanted it to be the best built school he could manage. I suspect you know who felt important in contributing to this place of learning, and who was just laying stone. Same skills, same assignment, same project, probably the same work effort, but what a personal difference. The third mason will visit that school, point with pride to the contributions he made, tell his own children about it, and keep it as a personal point of pride and ability for the rest of his years. Don’t we all want that kind of feeling about our work, our passions, our families?
To get that feeling one thing is certain – no one else can do it for us. We can be stone mason #1 and work and collect our pay, or we can be stone mason #3, and collect our pay and so much more. But only we can do it for ourselves.
People that have a feeling of self worth and those who are challenged to gain a greater sense of their own worth, look at the inputs and communications they receive in a very different way from people who don’t have a good feeling about their worth and ability. Why? Because we all look for the things that confirm what our mind already believes or wants to believe! So the person with a positive self worth will hear an affirmation, the person working on getting a better sense will hear a constructive comment, and the person with a poor self worth will find a criticism or suspicion that they are being manipulated, or a reason to dismiss the compliment as so much BS. Same comment, same situation, three very different effects.
If you want to improve your own sense of self worth, what can you do?
1 – Stop looking back – what happened up to this point got you to where you are. Dwelling on it to find root causes just eats up today – which is all there is.
2 – Become very aware of what you tell yourself .
3 – Suspend judgment and just take what happens or is communicated for what it is – and no more.
4 – Start replacing damaging self talk with positive affirmations. Start by constantly reminding yourself of what you do well.
5 – Work with your strengths – the ones you feel good about – and be convinced you have more than you know – because I guarantee you do.
6 – Understand that you are unique – no one else on this earth is just like you – don’t assume others can do what you do well – because they can’t.
7 – Avoid the circumstances and events and people that would drag you back into where you no longer want to be.
8 – Identify how you want to make a difference – and go for it.
9 – Associate with successful people – and be amazed to find out they have their own challenges – just like you.
10 – Read biographies of great people – people that have overcome adversity to succeed. You will be amazed how their stories can affect and motivate you.
11 – Help someone else succeed – nothing helps you feel better about yourself than helping another person.
As you implement these steps, you’re going to feel a real growing sense of your own importance, and your ability to get things done – in every part of your life. And as you gain a sense of your own worthiness and ability, it becomes more difficult for others to negatively influence you, and as you gain that better feeling about yourself, you will see so many more possibilities than you ever felt existed. Start today!