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Chasing Permission: How Addressing Self-Worth Can Change the World

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“Why address self-worth?” This was a reporter’s question after I gave a speech entitled “3 Reasons Why Increased Self-Worth Leads to a Better Money Story.” Even after listening to a presentation that listed three distinct answers to this question, they still couldn’t quite absorb the idea that addressing self-worth is crucial for growth. They were young, conservative, freshly graduated…not to mention self-worth barely gets a first glance as people focus on acquiring certificates and credentials. Small wonder it was a difficult concept for them.

Take note that self-worth is not the same as self-esteem

Although they are quite similar terms, there are distinct nuances that set them apart. Where self-esteem is your basic confidence in your abilities and skills, self-worth goes even further. It is your unwavering belief in your value and all that you bring to the table.

There are two ways to acquire skills and knowledge that translate into value: through experience, and through schooling. Neither of these is “better” or “worse” than the other, but they do tend to be perceived very differently.

A person with high self-worth who wants to try their hand at coaching, for example, might consider taking a course or two, but they will immediately start focusing on how to serve. They will start looking for ways to identify their message and their niche, and then reach out to an audience. They know that they already have skills and insights that can help others, and they are ready to put them into practice. They trust themselves.

On the other hand, someone who has lower self-worth will first look into getting certified. Their sense of value relies on outside sources telling them that they are capable. They will only consider coaching formally after they are officially deemed “qualified.”

“Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy.” – Wayne Dyer

How to identify someone with high self-worth:

They DON’T panic when they hit a roadblock. They DO re-evaluate and come back with an alternative.

They DON’T say “Yes” out of obligation. They DO say “Yes” out of interest and excitement.

They DON’T act out of “FOMO” (fear of missing out) or desperation. They DO have the patience and confidence to wait for the right opportunity.

They DON’T obsess over small details. They DO keep their focus on the big picture.

They DON’T wait for someone else to tell them they are qualified. They DO know the value of their unique experience and skillset.

If you see yourself reflected in the DO category, congratulations! You’re doing great! If you relate more to the DON’T category, it’s okay. There’s no need to feel upset about it. Here are some steps you can take to boost yourself out of the rut you’re in:

1. Keep a list of “100 Reasons Why I’m Special.”

By creating a list of the qualities that make you stand out from the crowd, you are learning to see yourself as something special and valuable. If you can’t think of 100, start with five or ten, and keep adding as you think of new ones.

Reading this list regularly will help keep you centered on who you are and what you bring to the table. It will bolster your confidence so that you will be able to better handle rejections and challenges. This allows you to easily move forward, instead of getting stuck in remorse or resentment when things don’t go your way.

2. Never focus on the “No.” Look for a way to turn it into a “Yes.”

Whether you are pitching a business idea or a service, or asking for a raise or a favor, sometimes you are going to hear “No.” Having high self-worth means that instead of “No,” what you hear is “Help me say ‘Yes.’” When you understand that a “No” can simply mean “Not right now,” you can step back to see what you might have missed, then clarify, fill in the gaps, and try again.

People prefer to be around those who empower them rather than with those who make them feel ashamed, guilty, or pressured. You’ll find a much warmer response when you try to see things from the other person’s point of view.

3. Work within the system.

Creativity isn’t just about thinking outside the box. It also includes thinking within boxes. It’s easy to feel frustrated when you can see ten steps ahead of everyone to the opportunities that could be brought forward through certain changes. However, changing what’s considered possible – or even acceptable – can take up to a century or longer because, as previously mentioned, people are naturally resistant to what’s different and new to them.

Long ago, for example, women couldn’t engage in commercial activities. If a woman were to simply demand that the government allow women to trade, the system would shut her down. However, if she first engaged in trade under a man’s name, and through her actions, slowly raised awareness that women were capable of doing business, then the system would slowly and collectively open up to that idea.

“Self-esteem is that deep down inside the skin feeling you have your own self-worth.” – Denis Waitley

When you simply explain how things are wrong, you will be faced with resistance. But when you actively show others how things can be better, ou create lasting change. You inspire. You make a difference. And faced with the positive transformations you have brought about, how could you not swell with pride and self-worth?

So, again, let us ask the question “Why address self-worth?” Because it is perfectly alright to jump in and begin without waiting for someone else to tell you you’re ready. Because working on your self-worth means more possibilities, more creativity, and more compassion. And because gaining clarity on what you bring to the table – and implementing those traits and skills – makes you more capable of creating a better world for us all.

Maria Tan is a Success Coach, Mentor, Author and Speaker. She helps Misfits, Multi-Passionates, and Millennials confidently identify what makes them unique and leverage that to create a successful career path. She has trained, coached and mentored over 1000 people from all across the world, both in-person and online. Her first book (co-authored with well-rounded international women entrepreneurs), "The Money Code and How to Crack It," is available on Amazon and at all leading e-book retailers. To know more about her, you can visit her website.

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