Managing Your Own Self Esteem

“I feel great!  Everything is going well.   I feel I can accomplish anything.  I know that everything I do won’t be perfect, but I believe my efforts are good and I know that what I accomplish is better than average.  If something goes wrong I feel confident in my ability to recognize and correct it.  Life is great and my job is a wonderful challenge everyday.

I guess I just feel good about myself.” 

“I feel lousy!  Nothing is going well.  I can’t get anything done.  When I finish projects they just are not very good.  I don’t think I can keep up with the demands expected of me.  Everything seems to go wrong.  I really don’t think I understand what I want.  I just know I am not doing an adequate job.  Everyone else is so much better at knowing how to analyze their projects and they seem to fix problems quickly.” 

The examples above represent two bright and talented individuals with different perceptions of themselves.  Both have excellent education and training.  Each has had years of experience that include some successes and some failures.   
Where will each of these two people be in five years? 

Whatever the future may bring for either person, the likelihood of the first individual feeling better about him/herself is apparent from how he/she looks at their job, and life as a whole.  Most research shows that self-esteem is a critical variable in the confidence, initiative and ultimate success of most individuals.  The old adage “if you believe you can do something, you can, and will”.  To the contrary, if you believe you can’t accomplish something or do not believe in yourself, the probability is greater that you won’t be able to meet your goals, or the outcomes will be substantially below expectations.

What makes the difference between people who feel good about themselves and those who lack self-esteem and self-confidence? 
The answer is certainly not simple.  Multiple factors affect the way someone judges him/herself.  These include family background, nurturing support, early life successes, or the opportunities provided for you to gain confidence when you struggled.  However, what is of greatest importance is whether your view of life as “half full versus half empty”.  The ability to look for the best in someone or something, maintaining a positive perspective and keeping focus on the present (with optimism about the future), all have an enormous influence on ultimate outcomes in business, social life and home life. 

How do you feel about yourself?  You can’t change the past. Stop worrying about it.  Managing your own self-esteem is YOUR job, and YOU are responsible for the outcome.

Blaming (which we all like to do) is never helpful.  Beating yourself up for past failures is nonsense.  You need to use past mistakes as learning opportunities.  Also, knowing what NOT to do is sometimes as important as knowing what to do.  Negative experiences are a normal part of life.  Often problems, that affect our self-esteem, seem to come in bunches.  It is too frequent that we assume these problems have something to do with us.  Though it is occasionally true we play a role in our own problems, it is always the case that numerous factors affect the things that happen in our lives. 

In addition, good things that can build positive self-confidence and self-esteem are continually happening in our daily lives.  Whether we acknowledge, or focus, on these is determined by how we CHOOSE to look at the world and our role in it. 

1.      Start TALKING IN POSITIVE TERMS, the feelings will follow.
2.      FOCUS ON YOUR SUCCESSES, and do not dwell on past failures.
3.      EMPHASIZE YOUR STRENGTHS, not your weaknesses.
4.      LOOK AT YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS, and what you did, versus comparing yourself to others or what they did.
5.      ASSOCIATE WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE POSITIVE, don’t become the cynic.
7.      DRESS AS IF YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL, it will affect how people perceive you, don’t dress like a loser.
8.      FIND WAYS TO COOPERATE, don’t fight new ideas or new people.
9.      WRITE DOWN THE POSITIVE COMMENTS people give you every day; read them back to yourself every morning.
10.  TREAT OTHERS WITH DIGNITY and respect, they will be more likely to treat you that way too.
11.  ACKNOWLEDGE OTHERS’ STRENGTHS AND POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS.  Say good morning and tune into others.  It increases the feeling of being important (people like people who think they are valuable, therefore they will show they like you as well, which will make you feel better about yourself.
12.  Make every day special; look for WHAT YOU CAN DO to make things work better so you can enjoy each day (at work and home).
13.  When things get you down, REMEMBER WHO, AND WHAT, MAKES YOU HAPPY.
14.  CALL ON YOUR SPIRITUAL STRENGTHS, you are valuable and have an important purpose in your life.  

For others to recognize your greatness, you have to see it first.  When you don’t see your own positive gifts, you can’t use them; as a result no one will be able to give you the credit and rewards you truly deserve.  YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN MANAGE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM.   

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