Have you been struggling to move your career forward or build a personal brand that shines? The problem might not be with the clothes that you wear but rather with how you feel about yourself. Your ability to inspire others has everything to do with how deeply you love, respect, and believe in yourself. In other words, effective leadership begins with healthy self-esteem.
How We Develop Low Self-Esteem
From a very young age, we learn how to feel about ourselves from parents, siblings, friends, teachers and mentors. Those born into supportive, nurturing environments grow up believing in their inherent value. Others are taught to doubt their abilities and downplay their achievements. Constant criticism becomes internalized negative self-talk and leads to adults who don’t believe they are worthy of much at all.
How Low Self-Esteem Gets in the Way
Several years ago, I was asked to give a speech to a woman’s group and I completely flopped. The experience was devastating and I ruminated on how I’d failed for over a year. In hindsight, I know the talk didn’t go well because, at the time, I didn’t believe in myself, my personal brand or what I was communicating.
There are so many ways that low self-esteem negatively impacts our daily lives. When you don’t feel good about yourself:
- Other people’s successes feel like personal insults: You can’t be happy for your colleagues when you’re not happy about yourself.
- You have a hard time admitting your mistakes: This can lead to lying or shifting blame to others for problems that you created.
- Gossip is your primary mode of communication: You reveal sensitive information or talk about colleagues behind their backs instead of addressing them directly.
- You take everything personally: You’re easily offended and have a difficult time bouncing back from adverse experiences.
Eight Tips to Build Healthy Self-Esteem
Bottom line: if you don’t get your self-esteem in check, your personal brand will suffer – and by extension, your career too. Whatever your childhood experience, you can develop healthy self-esteem with the following practices:
- Write Affirmations: If you have a negative belief about yourself, try writing down the opposite opinion on a piece of paper. For example, if you believe that you’re not an excellent communicator, write “I am the best communicator I can be, and I challenge myself to get better every day.”
- Read Books: Read leadership books by writers like John Maxwell. Pick up the bible, a book of inspirational quotes, or the biography of a successful leader.
- Develop Positive Self-Talk: If you’ve spent the last thirty years beating yourself up internally, suddenly saying nice things to yourself can be very uncomfortable. Start slowly and be gentle. Read What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter for ideas.
- Develop a Positive Mindset: Journaling, reading, praying and meditating are excellent ways to develop a positive view of your life. First thing in the morning, set an intention for how you’d like the day to unfold. Speak that intention out loud. When you get home in the evening, write out how things went. Find a positive way to frame your experience.
- Celebrate Your Colleagues: Build your coworkers and team members up. Remember, they are a reflection of how you collaborate and lead. If you’re doing your job well, no one is going to take it away – regardless of how well everyone else around you is doing.
- Get Good Sleep: When you believe you’re worth living a healthy, productive, energetic life, you will prioritize sleep. Put your health first, and plan to get 7-8 hours every night so that you can be “on” during the day.
- Embrace Imperfection: You can look flawless on the outside, but if your self-esteem is low, you’re career and personal life will suffer. Risk failing, risk not knowing the answer, risk looking silly. Remember, we learn from our failures.
- Celebrate Your Accomplishments: When you accomplish a goal, even if it’s tiny, reward yourself. Get a massage, take a long walk, buy a nice bottle of wine or a gym membership. There are so many things that we can do for ourselves to celebrate our wins.
Healthy Self-Esteem Brings Balance To Your Life
It’s important to remember that having high self-esteem isn’t the same as having an inflated ego. People with big egos don’t care about supporting or inspiring other people – only about advancing their self-interests. Likewise, building healthy self-esteem doesn’t mean that you’re going to feel great every day. You will still have down days and challenging moments, but you’ll move through them with grace and resilience.
If you struggle with low self-esteem and want help to build a personal brand that exudes confidence, I’m here to help. Contact me today, and together, we will find a solution to the issue you are facing.