Self-esteem is incredibly important. In fact, I think it is so important that I am going to say that again. Self-esteem is incredibly important. Many people have the notion that it is the same as self-confidence; however it is far more than just self-confidence. If we look further into the origins of the word esteem itself, as we look etymologically, it comes from the word aestimate, which literally means 'to put a value on.' As you might guess, this word shares the same root as the word 'estimate.' Therefore, we can see that self-esteem, really does just mean; the value we put on ourselves.
Now then, what are the key components of self-esteem? When someone has high self-esteem, they have a genuine, deep rooted sense of self; they actually like (and often love) themselves; they can and do recognise and be in control of their internal state; and they have a sound sense of purpose, or rather they act and behave with purpose. These are not magical gifts that we were given at birth, oh no. One of the key concepts in many of my self-improvement or change programmes or writings is a presupposition of neuro linguistic programming (NLP) and that is: what others do, you can learn. So that is where I am going to start here, by indicating and illustrating just what it is that people with high self-esteem actually do, I am going to break it down into easily consumable chunks so that you can replicate them and apply them to your own life immediately.
These things, if applied in the correct way, can have an amazing impact on anyone's self-esteem.
Developing Your Own Sense of Self:
Many of the individuals that I have worked with over the years tell me that they lack self-confidence. I hear it so very often. As mentioned previously, self-esteem is the value we place on ourselves whereas self-confidence relates to our actions. Again, if we look at the word 'self-confidence' it means to trust in ourselves, so at its root it implies some kind of challenge or task that is to be undertaken in some way. To be more specific, confidence usually relates to our ability to do something or to have some kind of competency. We are confident in our ability to do something, to behave in a particular way in a particular situation, to take on a particular challenge.
It has been my experience that it is almost impossible to have self-confidence if we do not have self-esteem.
I once worked with a lady who was naturally very gifted in her specialised field and was a legal secretary. Following her initial training and joining a legal firm, she was recognised by the senior partners as being intelligent, conscientious and diligent as well as hard working. She really was an asset to the company and got on very well with her colleagues. At the end of her first year of working for the company, she was offered a more senior position and she was given some additional responsibility along with a slight increase in her salary.
Following three years in this role, the legal team office manager role became available and as she had been as good as running the office anyway, one of the company's senior partners recommended that she apply. The partner felt that she deserved the role and encouraged her to apply. But, the lady in question was rather taken aback by the suggestion; she did not feel qualified or competent enough to take the role on or to even consider applying. She had always managed to successfully find reasons for dismissing praise, she told herself that she simply did not deserve it and that anyone could have done what she did and that there would come a day that one of the partners would realise that she was not that good at her job and she would be shown for what she really was. Therefore she just did not apply. Remarkable. What's more, I know that you know someone just like this.
I encounter so many people like this. So many. People that have this low self-esteem and are not able to generalise from the obvious successful results that they are having, or the acknowledgement they receive. It is almost as if they don't 'hear' the praise that they are given. Because of this, the lady I mentioned earlier lacked the confidence to apply for the promotion; and many people with low self-esteem consistently and continually underachieve in their lives. Most of them spend their entire lifetimes underestimating themselves and feeling that they are not worthy.
So what we are going to do is to explore. Over the years I have investigated those people that do have self-esteem and how they actually think and behave. It is all about that probing question 'How do they do that?"
When I worked at the Independent National newspaper in central London when I was younger, the newspaper had been bought by a new owner and was moving from where the previous owners, the Mirror group were based, in Canary Wharf in Docklands, London, to new premises in a slightly different part of London. A girl called Samantha was the Managing Directors PA and rather than using a proper project manager of some sort, the MD organised the relocation himself with Samantha's help.
She liked being who she was, had done well at school, this was only her second job and she had worked up the secretarial ranks to become the MD's PA. She did not mind being asked to help with anything out of the ordinary or unusual. The day before the office relocation was due to happen, the MD was involved in a car accident and had to take some time off due to being in hospital for a night and then off for a period of recovery. Another director asked Samantha if she would oversee the relocation as she had been so involved in the process. She was very slightly apprehensive but of course agreed with no hesitation: after all, she knew most of the arrangements that had been made, and what's more the MD had a mobile that she could call if she was desperate.
Now I mention this because you can see the differences between the two people in those examples. Not only did Samantha have a more easygoing temperament than the lady mentioned in my first example, she was also far more comfortable with herself and of course that naturally meant that she could take the leap of confidence in herself that was required for her to take on the last minute responsibility.
Both of the women were extremely capable, however, the first mentioned lady had a low sense of self-worth, whereas Samantha believed in herself. So, what about you? I would like you to answer these questions to yourself: