What’s the Invisible Thing Harming Your Health?
The Harm in Not Recognizing Your Inherent Value
I was working with a client on identifying and exploring her values. It was an area in life where she felt like she was playing small, avoiding deep conversations, and not truly expressing herself fully. She was worried about judgement from others and how this might cause change in relationships. But mostly, she was done with that and ready to fully lean in to who she was.
You see, Jessica couldn’t describe her value at work. She didn’t know what her actual contribution was because it didn’t feel tangible, she couldn’t quantify it (at that time), but mostly, she couldn’t see it, recognize it, and honor it in herself.
For Jessica it wasn’t that she was a straight-up lazy bum and not doing anything in the office. Far from it. She was working hard and doing it all without much guidance and support. But all this was hard for her to see when it was covered up with her own doubt and those old negative tapes spinning in her head.
Why It’s Damaging
For women, it can be really hard to talk about ourselves. Anything we say in a good light feels like bragging, and newsflash, it’s not. When we go in to reviews with supervisors and managers, we tend to rank ourselves lower for fear that they think that we think we’re doing a good job. Geez! What’s wrong with a little self-confidence? When did we start deciding we need to apologize for our existence and berate ourselves for never doing enough?
As women we need to elevate ourselves and one another. We have a pay gap and many other societal challenges to overcome. There’s no need to add the weight of another obstacle on our shoulders, especially one that we have the power to limit.
How It Manifests
As humans, we make up stories about our reality to try and make sense out of it all. And when we can’t put a finger on what our value is, that story starts to sound like, hmmm, maybe you don’t offer any value. Maybe you actually suck at this. Yes, you should feel unsuccessful each day and want to slam your head against a wall, because TELL ME, what the hell have you done for this company? Do you see profits rising? Student growth? Can you tell me to the nearest 10thof a percentage point what your impact has been?
Yikes. This got dark real fast. See my point? When we let those critical voices run wild, they can do a real number on ya. And that low self-esteem can drip from career into all other areas of your life, affecting relationships, and everything else.
How To Realize Your Impact NOW
So here’s how you can start feeling better fast:
1. Recognize your old stories. Get aware of what your telling yourself in that negative Nancy voice all the time. Call yourself out on the critical gnome that lives in your head. Sometimes writing them down and looking at them (instead of letting them live like elevator music in your background all the time), helps you recognize just how absurd and intrusive they really are.
2. List of all the times you’ve had impact. This could be contributing to a safety manual at work, planning a surprise party for someone who really needed it, or helping a stranger out at the grocery store parking lot. Whatever. Get it down.
3. Recognize the small wins regularly. Maybe these are a few proud moments that get added to your gratitude journal, a jar or a box. You can start a Word doc on your computer and keep growing it each month. The important part is developing that list and having a way to go back and reread it when you need the reminders of all you’ve done.
4. Phone a friend. Seriously. Sometimes we can be so deep in the hole, we can’t see the light (figurate speaking), in ourselves. Ask some of your closest friends and colleagues, if they have input on the value you bring. The fact that you are curious, asking, and concerned about your professional growth and overall impact, means that you are a valuable employee, team member, or entrepreneur.
5. Research, reread, and archive. Look back at feedback from supervisors. Find that complimentary email written by a client, or the praise you received in a card. Personally, I have a “Happy” folder sitting in my Gmail inbox and literally, a shoebox filled with the good stuff, that can make me smile and remember my worth on a crummy day.
Change It Up
We can think ourselves into dangerous situations and start to believe the negative junk we say about ourselves. Or, we can decide to choose differently. We can recognize that those stories are outdated, no longer serving us, and holding us back. And then, we can commit to recognizing our worth. Because when we set the example, it’s easier for others to follow.
PS: If you are watching your self-worth be eaten away at a job that’s no longer serving you, stop. There’s a way out. If you’re looking for a little support figuring it all out, I’d love to help you have a go at it, because you don’t have to do this alone. Sign up for a free consult call here so we can chat and figure out if coaching can support you on your path to a more purposeful career and soul-driven life.