How to find your true value in a world of material success
About 10 years ago, I fell into the dumps. After I aired my grievances and bemoaned my crippled confidence to a friend, she said, “Amy, you were born with all the value you’re ever going to get.” She told me that no job, no relationship, no status, wealth or accolade could make me worth more. She said I was valuable just for being me.
She was a good friend, and something deep inside me recognized the truth in what she said. But no matter how much sense it made, I wasn’t acting as if I believed it. My brain kept telling me things such as: Everyone else your age already has children. If you had just finished college when you were supposed to, you’d have a decent career by now. And those people aren’t just more attractive than you—they’re better than you.
The legendary personal achievement philosopher Jim Rohn said, “Income seldom exceeds your personal development.” As businesspeople, we frequently become laser-focused on the bottom line and all it entails—marketing, sales, spreadsheets—and we ignore the most essential ingredient in our success: ourselves. If we aren’t bringing the right mindset to the table, material success is likely to be fleeting, as is well-being in our relationships, hobbies and health.
In the best-selling Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior , co-author Mark Goulston, a psychiatrist and co-founder of Heartfelt Leadership, says, “One of the greatest tragedies you can experience is to come to the end of your life and realize that it has not been everything you’d hoped it would be. Even more tragic is to realize that your failure to fulfill your hopes and dreams was due in large part to your inability to get out of your own way.”
If our sense of self-worth is integral to achieving—and sustaining—success, how much longer can we afford to overlook it?
Psychotherapist and best-selling author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D., defines self-esteem as “the experience of being competent to cope with basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness.”
So where do you fall on the scale of feeling worthy and competent?
When we have a problem in our business, we begin addressing it by taking an inventory to determine the source. Our self-esteem can be traced to a number of factors, and although we may not be able to pinpoint just one as the root of our troubles, it’s worth taking a look at what might be driving us to lose confidence.
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