Low self-esteem impacts more than your opinion of yourself. It also affects the impression you give to colleagues, clients and superiors. Sufferers of low self-esteem harbor subconscious behaviors that sabotage career advancement, disrupt inner-office relations, and impede negotiations with prospective clientele and hiring managers.
University of Florida professor Timothy Judge conducted several studies between 2005 and 2007, and found that people with high core self evaluations, or positive self-images, had better job performance, higher income, and higher motivation. The results also pointed to increased levels of job satisfaction and reduced stress and burnout among those with higher self-regard.
This indicates that an individual’s self image does in fact relate directly to an organization’s bottom line.
If you feel there is room for improving your own self-regard, here are a few ideas that may prove helpful:
Take Responsibility: It may seem odd at first, but the act of genuinely accepting full responsibility for every facet of your life is a very empowering activity. Many people cling to feelings of inadequacy they developed in childhood. They can’t take pride in who they are today because of the baggage they still carry from years past. Taking responsibility means you can’t be a victim of circumstance. None of us can control everything that happens to us, but we must control how we respond to the hands we’ve been dealt. We define ourselves not by our failures and challenges, but by our character and determination.
Accept a Compliment: Many people are very careful to support the self-image of others by expressing gratitude and admiration, but are unable to accept positive feedback themselves. Self deprecation and feigned humility are often seen as the appropriate responses to compliments. But if you consistently insist that you’re undeserving of praise, you may find yourself believing it one day. It’s okay to be recognized and appreciated. You deserve it. The ability to accept a compliment with grace and sincerity is a universal hallmark of confidence.
Focus on the Positive: Make your successes and dreams the centerpiece of conversations, not your problems and setbacks. In time you will notice that as negativity ceases to be the focal point of your conversations, it will cease to be the focal point of your life. Be aware of the topics you choose to discuss with others, and why. Look for silver linings and give people the benefit of the doubt. Lamentations, accusations and rude observations turn listeners off, and skew the world view of those trapped in a cycle of negativity.
Get Busy: There’s an old idiom, “paralysis by analysis”, which describes our innate ability to over think actions to the point of immobilization. Pick a direction and go for it. If you fail, congratulations! You’ve just made a big step toward improvement. Consider the words of Malcom Forbes, “Vehicles in motion use their generators to charge their own batteries. Unless you happen to be a golf cart, you can’t recharge your battery when you’re parked in the garage!”
Treat Yourself. Every Day: Make a conscious effort to do something nice for yourself every day. Depending on your idea of a good time, that could be anything from an extended bout of vigorous exercise to a long stretch of warm-bath-water-soaked-nothingness. See yourself as a valuable person who deserves to be treated, toned, and pampered. Because you are.