I don’t accept many guest posts, but this one on finding and appreciating your self worth by Amanda Green has some great life and career success advice. Check it out…
Finding and Appreciating Self Worth
I took lessons my lessons of humbleness and modesty to heart at a young age. When I entered my career, co-workers often viewed me as shrinking, deferential, and weak. My tendency to deflect praise and assume blame left me out to dry when it came time for promotions and praise. My ideas got stifled or submitted by others. My contributions downplayed or overlooked completely. I let humbleness become timidness. I let modesty make me a punching bag.
I resolved to change. At first it felt unnatural to pat myself on the back. I shrank back from the limelight. When asked my strengths I shrugged, but when asked my weaknesses I could talk for an hour. A wise advisor finally took me aside one day and said, “You’ve got to have more swagger.” I had only ever heard that word applied to athletes on the court, not a cubicle dweller hunched over a keyboard.
Still, I determined I would grow some swagger by the end of the year. I decided to employ my mom’s old advice about confidence: fake it until you make it.
First: Tell Yourself Why You Matter
No one believes in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Swagger helps show others your confidence in yourself. Meekness plants questions and doubts; swagger inspires trust.
To first gain swagger, it is important for you to know why you matter. Take time to sit down and outline your strengths. Enumerate everything you bring to the table from creativity to stability. Knowing your strengths allows you to play to them. If you excel at presentations or analyzing data you can gear your work in that direction.
Be sure to back your list up with concrete evidence. Doubt is the enemy of confidence. If you fill your page up with intangible qualities like “Thorough” or “Creative” your self-doubt will quickly make mincemeat out of your affirmations. Outline times when you made sure tasks got completed ahead of schedule. Demonstrate moments when you innovated processes and procedures. Find the moments in your career that make you matter.
I found this part of the process difficult at first, but once I broke the seal I easily listed dozens of accomplishments and skills I take pride in. I filled far more than one piece of paper. I finished writing only when my hand became tired. Looking at my life’s work filled me with a sense of pride. As I read through my accomplishments I felt my swagger start to catch fire.
Second: Develop a Toolbox
Self-criticism only works when we find solutions for our weaknesses. Endlessly flagellating ourselves for mistakes or deficiencies is not productive. Negative self-talk bleeds into our relationships with others. No matter how impressive our work, others will buy into our own bad PR.
If you have deficiencies in your skill set or education, seek to improve them. Set out step by step plans to develop technical skills. Programs like Cardinal Stritch’s Business Management School in Milwaukee can help flesh out certain skill sets instilling confidence and pride. Business Management will allow you the tools to be a leader in business. Other certifications and programs can help aid in building a foundation for a good skillset. If you’re bad at something, get good at it. If you’re good at something, keep bettering yourself. If you know what you’re good at, you’ll be confident. If you’re confident, you’re swaggering.
Take ownership over your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Nothing inspires more swagger than succeeding where you once fell down.
Third: Tell Others Why You Matter
Build off the confidence of your accomplishments and let other people know what you are proud of. For the introverts, the humble, and the shrinking this part of the process starts very painfully. Trumpeting your talents feels unnatural because we are so accustomed to downplaying our successes and being self-critical.
Utilize your groundwork from the first step to build a narrative of your success and accomplishments. Practice saying positive things about yourself out loud. Doing so will help build muscle memory. Remind yourself how interesting it is to hear about other people’s accomplishments.
Let your co-workers and clients know about your successes. Doing so isn’t just an exercise in self-bragging. Others want to know why you are worth it. Self-confidence breeds self-confidence in others. Entering a conversation about a project with swagger allows co-workers to build off your ideas without hesitation.
While I first struggled to speak about myself in a positive way, once I did I found that I enjoyed people’s reactions to me more. While I assumed pride in my work would elicit eye rolls, instead I found that my confidence was contagious. Not only did I inspire confidence in myself, I inspired others to believe in themselves.
Fourth: Don’t Over Inflate
A little bit of swagger goes a long way. Once ego starts getting in the way of collaboration and ideas, it’s time to dial it back. A well-balanced approach to self-confidence helps foster strong relationships full of high fives.
Being self-confident does not mean devaluing others or their work. Swagger relies on confidence not eroding other’s self-esteem. Instead find the strength in the talents and the skills of those around you. Choose to build strong relationships instead of eroding good intentions.
Building swagger into my step allowed me to find better footing in my professional life. Not only do I speak more coherently about my own work and success, I find I that I am able to advocate for others.
My relationships at work strengthened as my positive self-talk improved. I found more of my ideas for innovation pushed through to completion because as I learned to believe in myself I also helped others believe in me
Far from turning me into a sociopath or unlikable egotist, taking the time to find my swagger actually helped me foster improved relationships. It gave me the strength to engage in healthy debate and productive collaboration. I am a more supportive co-worker than ever because my strength and confidence support others.