Self-esteem. It’s a sensitive topic that, in an instant, could have you putting yourself into one of two camps…
Camp 1: My self-esteem is good, thanks very much. I’m not sure that I need this bulletin.
Camp 2: You’ve written this for me. I definitely need to feel better about myself!
If you’re in the first category, hang in there. I have a revelation coming up that, even if it’s not relevant to you (by the way, my bet is that it will ), it will help someone you know—such as a team member, peer, family member or friend.
Low Self-Esteem—It’s More Prevalent Than We Might Think
More often than we think, people (a.k.a. leaders, team members, bosses, peers, friends, family) struggle with a negative opinion of themselves and their value.
Especially at work, we’re unlikely to be aware of the negative stuff that goes on inside a person’s head. (Because of the trusting nature of a coaching relationship, I know leaders often have negative self-talk and self-esteem needs.)
Low self-esteem and self-critical thoughts have a very real impact on a person’s effectiveness at work, as well as in other areas of their life—which is why I want to put this sensitive topic on the table.
So what is a practical and reliable way to create an upsurge in our opinion of ourselves?
What Stops Your Self-Esteem From Being Higher?
Here’s the revelation I mentioned earlier: The key to raising your level of self-esteem is probably not what you thought it was. It’s simply this…
The level of your self-esteem is a function of the level at which you’re confronting and dealing with the reality of what’s in your life right now:
- If you’re facing up to the reality of your life, your self-esteem will be high. Simply facing up to something leads to a favourable self-evaluation.
- And if you’re avoiding facing up to the reality of your life, your self-esteem will suffer. Not facing up to something leads to a negative self-evaluation.
There’s nothing we can do about the past—it’s happened, it’s gone. We only have the present moment, and in that present moment we have two choices…
…to confront or to avoid.
The Choices You Could Make
Let’s look at some areas in which you could immediately, positively impact your self-esteem:
- With whom do you need to have an assertive, candid conversation?Are you able to have that conversation, or do you have to wear the costs of avoiding it?
- Where is there unfinished business for you—what do you need to clear up?Are you up for confronting the situation and attempting to get it off your plate?
- Do you need to stop walking away, or stop the silent treatment?Are you alert to the real costs of turning your back on something—rather than staying in the conversation and moving it towards resolution?
- Where are you procrastinating because you’re attempting to avoid failure or rejection?Would dealing with the issue, and giving yourself the chance of succeeding, have you feeling better, or are you prepared to let it keep tugging away at you?
- Do you currently have an unresolved conflict that you could confront?What steps could you take to begin to clear the air and resolve the issue?
The price of attempting to avoid experiencing a painful thought or feeling is huge: The stress, anxiety and relationship problems that arise, as well as the negative impact on your self-esteem, is higher than you can afford?
Your Call To Action
Here are some weighty questions for you:
- How prepared are you to take a deep breath and a courageous step towards facing up to more of the reality in your life?
- How will you feel when you’ve faced up to a difficult situation?
- What one step would be a good next step for you in confronting something that needs to be confronted—in order for you to feel better about you?
It’s OK, in fact it’s probably even a good idea, for you to start with a small, less important issue.
Then watch how you’ll hold your head even higher—and take your next courageous step and deal with a larger item in your life.
As you take these deep breaths and courageous steps, watch how your opinion of you escalates .
If dealing with these leadership difficulties on your own feels too tough, an option is to contact me and explore if it would be sensible to partner with me as your coach. As a coach, I help leaders confront and resolve difficult situations—evolving their leadership and accelerating their career.
(And if facing up to difficulties has you feeling too emotionally unstable, it’s important that you consult a counselling professional who specialises in this field.)
“My coaching program has given me a vastly improved ability to effectively and efficiently manage issues and conflict.”
– Managing Director, investment bank
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.