Who Gets to Decide That You’re Worthy?
Our personal life affects our professional lives, so what we tell ourselves day to day about our worthiness translates into how effective we are in our career. So let me ask you: who are you allowing to determine your worthiness?
Growing up we heard our friends, our families, our teachers tell us about ourselves, and subconsciously we allowed those words to sink into our consciousness and become part of our idea of ourselves. Those words can define a person for the rest of their life because we subconsciously allowed them to tell us who we were and what we were worth.
I was bullied as a kid, and as a result, when I got to college I carried that message of rejection and unworthiness with me into my adult life and spent the whole time with my head down, afraid to be noticed. But when I got into my career, I worked hard to unlearn that “head down” mentality and focused instead on demonstrating and recognizing my own worthiness.
If people treated me badly (and they did!), I stayed strong in my authenticity and showed up every day. Even if people around me didn’t recognize what I was bringing to the table, I was able to change my negative self-talk and feel secure in my own worth.
Five or six years ago, I was working for a company that flat out told me that I would never be a vice president. If I’d been less secure in my own value, that would have been an extremely damaging thing to hear, right? But I didn’t let the person define my worth. Imagine if I had. When I got a call for a position at a different company as a vice president, I would have heard that manager telling me that I’d never make it as one. I would have been afraid to take the job. I would have stayed small.
But when you make the choice to not let someone else define your upper limits, you’ll find you're far less afraid of what might happen if you dare to dream a little bigger. In that specific case, I knew I was vice president material, and I went and took that challenge by the horns.
Okay, this is all fine and good, but I want to clarify that I’m not saying that you should go in and act like an entitled, arrogant jerk. Having your sense of self-worth come from inside you doesn’t mean you’re walking around shoving people out of the way because you think you’re the greatest person of all time.
What I’m saying is that it’s important to reflect on what other people’s messages might be holding you back from. If you look back on childhood and adolescent experiences that were painful, embarrassing, or shame-filled, you’ll find that you probably absorbed some negative seeds that have grown fruit in your professional life.
Where have those seeds taken you? And is it time to look them in the face and pull them out?
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