There is a way for you to have more success and fulfillment in the work you do every day with a healthy level of self esteem.
Self esteem is one of the key elements to your progress in business as well as in private life. If you have enough of it, you will be proud of the work you do, you will try new things.
You will find out below what self esteem really is and how to improve your self esteem on the days when it is not going so well.
The explanation to: “What is Self Esteem?”
Self esteem is about how we think and feel about ourselves. It is a sense of our personal worth as well as our ability which is part of our identity right from the day when we were born (source).
How would you describe yourself? Write down a few points on a notepad and return to them when you might feel and think a bit different about yourself.
Before doing so, you might be wondering, now what exactly is the difference between self esteem and self confidence?
The best answer to this question I could find is by Nathaniel Branden, a Canadian psychotherapist: “Self-esteem is the sum of self-confidence (a feeling of personal capacity) and self-respect (a feeling of personal worth)” (source). So, to translate into an example, if Peter has (a) a good feeling about his French language skills which he has now practiced for a while and if he also has (b) self respect about how quickly he has improved these skills, he has a healthy level of self esteem (especially when he talks in French).
To sum all these words up, below is a famous Star Wars scene on how important self esteem is and how it changes our possibilities depending on whether we believe in ourselves or not. If you have not seen it, check it out, it is less than 5 minutes long.
Michael Jordan’s Top 5 Tips on how to improve your self esteem
Maybe not all of us need an explanation of what self esteem really is, but the question that remains is: “How do I get (more) self esteem?”
The quotes below from my sport hero Michael Jordan deliver – to what I believe – in sum a great answer to this question.
1. Set Your Expectations Right
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”
You see, we generally expect a lot from our environment, notably at work when things do not go well. It is often a protection mechanism, why look for the changes within us, if we can blame someone else? If we think about it, however, these expectations are very often triggered by how we think and feel about someone, something and ourselves.
So, start by (re-)setting your own expectations for yourself on a particular project outcome, not too high and not too low, within your comfort zone where you feel confident about what you can achieve. This should set your self esteem at the right level. Disappointment on too high expectations is not a great motivator.
2. Ensure the Right Mindset
“My body could stand the crutches but my mind couldn’t stand the sideline.”
Mindset is one of the three elements of successful personal development. With the right mindset and the focus, you can get very far, without it, all brilliant skills will not help, look at Luke Skywalker. Okay, maybe that is not the most realistic example, but I hope you get the point.
In my view, you need to be eager (& have the passion), you need to have the right mindset to progress at work with confidence (“How bad do you want this promotion?” or “When do I say ‘no’”?). Setting realistic goals gets you a big step ahead to start improving on whatever you have envisioned. And celebrate your small successes.
3. Work Hard On What You Love
“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot… and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan loved playing basketball. What you do love about your job? A higher level of Self esteem can be reached when we do the things we like. Things are easier to do and as we move on, we gain more confidence.
We can learn a lot while practicing over and over again, this is not new. It is also not new that we do not love every single part of the work we do, and that is normal. Yet, however, a lot of people “just want to get it over and done with”. And if they just do that, they will not get a lot of satisfaction out of it, nor a lot of praise.
If the boss has turned us down, we can try again, improve the paper or presentation we have been working on, if we have the greater objective in mind. Invest time in research, talk to people, practice our skills, be brave. Mix a healthy dose of what you love with what challenges you to develop yourself.
4. Try New Things
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
While working on what we love accelerates often our self esteem, to tackle and try new things is also a source of improving your self esteem. How do we know upfront whether we will like it or not? Well, often we do not, unless we give it a try.
People are often afraid of trying, afraid of failure. Depending on the organisational culture within your company taking risks and trying out things might be welcome or not. I guess it also depends on the level of risk one is willing to take. Nobody should be blamed for trying out a new technology to communicate within a team, if it adds value to everyone. What do you want to change at work?
5. Accept Yourself For Who You Are Without Giving Up
“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
Those obstacles that he mentions can be external as well as internal obstacles. For the latter, sometimes we push ourselves too hard, because we want to be different, we want to be like the person next to us whom we admire. We want to boost our self esteem by being someone else, by being different. Instead, we should be accepting ourselves for who we are, show some self respect.
Next time, when you get angry at yourself because you do not immediately succeed, stop for a minute, look back at what you have accomplished up to now, and celebrate. Tomorrow is another day.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this, I hope you liked it!
If so, please take a moment to:
- Share on Twitter
- Leave a comment!
Image credit: iStockPhoto