Why Self Esteem Matters

A number of years ago I worked for one of the UK’s top IT companies — a global player. We were meeting to discuss a major bid, and the room was filled with people who didn’t meet often — the most senior managers from a number of divisions. There were very few middle tier managers in the room, almost exclusively senior managers who were accustomed to being ‘top dog’. The atmosphere in that room was almost tangible. I wanted to bottle the air and analyze it later — I had never experienced such naked power, and it dawned on me in that moment that we are almost blind to the status signals we transmit.

That meeting was an epiphany, and led to me becoming a hypnotherapist with a particular interest in researching confidence and self esteem. Because what I discovered in that company, and in many companies I have assisted subsequently, was the startling fact that an individual’s self-esteem is a reliable indicator of how far they will progress in the organization. Some technical geniuses can buck the trend, but they are very rare. For most of us, our ability to influence decision-making is precisely limited by our self esteem.

Why does this matter? It matters because the person with the greatest self esteem is not necessarily the right person to be making the key decisions. We have all suffered foolish bosses. Perhaps we have all wondered how on earth they reached such positions of seniority, given their obvious shortcomings. If you will excuse the bluntness: that incompetent boss is there because you haven’t yet been sufficiently convincing. Your performance is perhaps the least important aspect on which you will be judged; what matters is your status in the group.

Status is a fascinating topic. We communicate our status constantly, primarily through body language and voice tone. This communication is unconscious; it is felt rather than known or consciously controlled. The way in which you behave reflects your self perception of status. This is either accepted or challenged by the people around you. A dominant person (relative to you) will cause you to back off from a challenge. A submissive person (again, relative to your own status) will make it easy for you to project your will.

And so we come to the nub. We should all seek to develop our self esteem, not because of the personal benefits which will flow from this personal growth — career enhancement, improved love life etc — but because we have a duty to ourselves and our communities. Until and unless we step up to the plate, our communities will remain vulnerable to an almost random process of leader selection. So ask yourself: ‘Am I allowing less talented people to make decisions on my behalf?’ If the answer is ‘yes’, then perhaps you should consider stepping up to the plate yourself. The first step in this process is building up your own self confidence and self esteem. Don’t be bashful; there’s nothing selfish about developing your own qualities. A community with a rich selection of potential leaders is, in my view, a secure community.

8 Universal Laws of Self Esteem

The Self esteem Law of Stuart Smalley

Genuinely strong self-esteem has nothing to do with the Stuart Smalley character on “Saturday Night Live.” Smalley was played by talk-show host A1 Franken who looked in the mirror to tell himself “You’re good enough,you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.” This is not the kind of namby-pamby-feel-good self-esteem we’re talking about.

The Law of Definition

Self-esteem is one of those frequently used terms that we believe we know the meaning of until we are asked to define it. Most folks define it as the way you feel about yourself. The problem is feelings can, and often do, change. The definition I have found most useful of self-esteem is: the strength and power of your belief in your self.

The Law of Ends vs. Means

While working on increasing your self-esteem, remember it’s just a means to an end, not the end in and of itself. I’ve known lots of unsuccessful people, and even people who continually do the wrong thing, and yet they feel good about themselves. Self-esteem is merely a means to the end if increasing the quality of life, for yourself and those around you.

The Law of Company

Self-esteem is strongly influenced by the company you keep. Hang around people with weak self-esteem and yours is likely to be weak as well. And guess what? Hang around people with strong self-esteem, and yours is likely to strengthen as well.

The Law of Blame and Accuse

I’ve heard so many people say “My self-esteem is low because I’m too this/that, I grew up without this/that and this/that has happened to me.” Which usually leads me to wonder what does a person who is too this/that, grew up without this/that, and has had this/that happen to them, DO WITH THE REST OF HIS OR HER LIFE?

The Law of Action

You can learn about self-esteem, read about it, go to seminars, etc., and nothing will change if you don’t do something with what you learn. In order to change something, you simply must TAKE ACTION!

The law of NWBG

While NWBG may sound like the name of a rock group, it’s really a fast and easy way to measure and improve your self-esteem. In vertical order, write the letters NWBG, which stand for Now-Worst-Best-Goal. Now, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is the worst and 10 is the best) rate your self-esteem the way it is Now, the Worst it has ever been, the Best it has ever been, and the Goal you would like it to be. This gives you a number next to each of the letters NWBG. If you are like most folks, Now is higher the Worst. This gives us some important information:

How did you get from the worst to where you are now? The answers can be key for further strengthening your self esteem.

The Law of Higher Math

Now we will do a little higher math in order to strengthen your self-esteem. Take the number for your Goal (let’s say 10) and subtract from it the number for now (let’s say 4), so it’s 6. So that’s six levels of self esteem to travel, which is too big a chunk all at once.

Let’s make it manageable by taking one level at a time. What small, simple steps can you begin to take immediately to move you from a four to a five? And then a 5 to a 6, a 6 to a 7, and so on. In this way you can measure your progress as you go, and rather quickly strengthen your self-esteem.

How’s that for progress?