The Business of Self-Esteem

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...

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Go Straight for the Joy and Follow Your Purpose

Life Coach Martha Beck on trusting yourself, finding what makes you happy and going for it.

In 2004 I was enjoying the highest-paying, most respectable job I had ever worked. Everything from the title on my business card to the location of the building fed my notion of success.

Then a Cadillac Escalade sideswiped me on my way home one evening. After an ambulance ride and an MRI, I was told there was a problem with my spine. Over the course of the next few months, I waited to find out if I needed surgery. And everything changed.

“If you had asked me a week before that accident if I was happy, I would’ve said yes,” I told life coach Martha Beck over the phone. “I had this dream job, a nice car, and everybody thought I was hot stuff. But a week after the accident, I found myself saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m scared to death. I don’t belong at that job. I don’t think I like myself anymore. I’m not following my purpose, and I feel like...

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‘Embrace the People Who Tell You You’re Full of Crap’ [Interview with Gary V]

Gary Vaynerchuk on authenticity, self-awareness and the future of business

Gary Vaynerchuk is almost always on the move. If you doubt that, watch him. His new YouTube show "DailyVee" is a chronicle of his daily life. He seems to personify the word hustle. The man hustles 14 to 16 hours a day, every day. He has for a long time.

Gary Vee, as he’s known in the social sphere, is an early adopter and a vocal proponent of the power of social media. But at heart, he’s a business-builder. He started by building his father’s liquor store business from $3 million a year to $60 million. Now he’s the CEO of VaynerMedia, an angel investor and a venture capitalist with the skills and instincts to get in on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Uber. In 2014 he co-founded a $25 million investment fund. In his spare time, he’s an in-demand speaker and a New York Times best-selling author.

Despite his impressive and hard-earned influence, he does have his critics. People object...

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Homemade Millionaire [Interview with Kendra Scott]

How the jewelry designer melded family, fashion and philanthropy into an empire of bling

Kendra Scott turned out the lights.

For the last time, she flipped over the sign in the window of her failed retail hat store that read, “Sorry, We’re Closed.” Then she shut the door and locked it.

It was 1998. She had lost her life’s savings—and those of her stepfather, whose battle with cancer had inspired her to start the Austin, Texas, business.

As if on cue, it started raining. “I just sat there and cried like a baby on the steps,” Scott says, “feeling like I was the biggest failure on the planet. I had let everybody down.”

Then something amazing happened. “I heard steps behind me,” and when she looked up, the sign was flipped over and read, “Yes, We’re Open.”

“It was a literal sign.” She laughs. “It was a sign! I looked and I just started laughing because I’m like, Is this some...

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12 Top Tools & Strategies for Productivity

Turn your activity into achievement.

What three projects, tasks or priorities will most contribute to the accomplishment of your biggest and most important goal? Write them on a notecard, and then spend 90 percent of your day on those tasks. Spend the other 10 percent delegating, Productivity is not an accident. It’s a decision.

Legendary coach John Wooden said, “Don’t mistake activity for achievement.” You may be busy from the moment your alarm goes off in the morning until the time your head hits the pillow at night, but are you accomplishing anything meaningful toward the fulfillment of your goals? Are you making forward progress, or are you just running in place?

Make a decision today to stop wasting time—or just spending time—and, instead, invest some time in learning how you can be more productive in the areas of your life that really matter.

Keep reading on SUCCESS.com...

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How Seriously Do You Take Yourself?

One of my most embarrassing moments involves a speaking engagement, a skirt, and a very windy day in Texas.

The First Laugh

I had been invited to speak in front of about fifty people. I parked my car in the parking lot outside the venue and took a moment to collect myself. I don’t usually get nervous when I speak, but I do get a little excitable, so I like to take a few deep breaths and say a quick prayer before heading in to greet people.

So after I turned off the ignition, I breathed deeply, silenced my phone, and smoothed the full skirt of my dress. I was ready.

I stepped out of my car. And a gust of wind lifted my skirt up so that the hem slapped me in the back of the head.

I shrieked. I fumbled to pull it down. I pushed the hair out of my face, and looked around.

Please, please, please, let the parking lot be empty, I thought.

Then I spotted them: a man and a woman sitting in their car directly behind me and, now, courteously pretending not to notice me.

I had just mooned...

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Crossover King [Interview with Joel Osteen]

Reaching people around the world through his television ministry, Joel Osteen embraces even more— including nonbelievers—with his powerful personal-development message.

I am sitting in the coveted front row of what used to be the Compaq Center, former home of the Houston Rockets. The stage is brilliant with multicolored lights. Guitarists, a bass player and other musicians in jeans are warming up. Three singers take the stage and the crowd of nearly 16,000 cheers as the group begins to sing along with a backup choir.

No, I’m not watching Lady Antebellum, the country-pop crossover band. I am, however, about to see one of the greatest crossover successes of our generation: Joel Osteen.

As the praise music concludes, Osteen’s wife and co-pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Victoria Osteen, takes the stage. She welcomes everyone and then tells the story of a trip to Italy she and Joel took when they were newly married. They wanted to get Joel’s father,...

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Defend Your Boundaries to Take Back Control

Learn how and when to draw the line after someone asks too much of you. 

One summer, I was struggling with feelings of resentment toward a family member. Let’s call her Carol. I loved Carol very much, but every time I saw her number on the caller ID, I  got a sick, overwhelmed feeling. I started avoiding her calls. I realized, thanks to a candid chat with a friend, that I was steering clear of Carol because she always wanted something from me. And I always said yes. I was so invested in having Carol think well of me, that no matter what she needed or wanted, I figured out a way to make it happen and ended up creating chaos in my life as a result.

A friend suggested I write NO in big letters on a notecard and set it on my coffee table. Then each time Carol called, I  was to sit down and stare at that notecard until I got the gumption to just say no.

Boundaries are tricky—we don’t always realize that we’re unhappy or unproductive because of a...

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The Hidden Payoff of a Failed Risk

In December 2006, I sat in a Borders bookstore, typed an article that would pay a penny per word, and despaired of ever getting a national magazine-writing gig. I had pitched editors with all my best ideas (I thought), and no one seemed to be open to new submissions from inexperienced writers (go figure).

I had landed a remote position as the associate editor for a regional magazine, a couple of copywriting jobs, and a steady gig writing these low-paying bulk articles. But the higher-paying and higher-profile work I coveted was in national newsstand magazines.

That cold day, the windows of Borders were fogged near the base. I stared at the droplets as they trailed down the glass and longed to stop working on the article about wedding gifts and just wander the bookstore for a few hours. I had taken a huge risk a couple years earlier by leaving my full-time job and going freelance. Days like this, I wondered if I had made a mistake.

The Approach

Two women sat nearby. As they laughed...

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How to Be the Nicest Guy in Hollywood [Interview with Ron Howard]

Ron Howard's 50 years in the movie business have taught him how to handle actors, studios and, of course, a little drama.

Most of us have heard Ron Howard’s laugh. Think back to just about any episode of "Happy Days" when the Fonz says something embarrassing to Howard’s character, teenage Richie Cunningham, who shuffles his feet and laughs with a breathy, nervous naiveté. Or recall the old black-and-white episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show," when Howard played Sheriff Andy Taylor’s enthusiastic son Opie, throwing his auburn head back in laughter at the fumbling Don Knotts.

Ron Howard’s laugh is familiar; it’s easy, uninhibited, and even a little bit self-effacing; it makes us laugh right along with him. Today, as an Oscar-winning director and co-chairman of Imagine Entertainment, Howard directs movies that stick in the public’s imagination just as much as his infectious smile. He credits his directing approach, and much of the joy he still...

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