Most of us have unconscious beliefs about money. They raise their head when we are quoting a fee for our services, or negotiating a salary at an interview or performance review. At the root of these concerns about knowing our worth is our perception of our worthiness. If you struggle to believe in the value of what you do, the service you’re offering, your expertise, or the quality of your work, nothing will magnify these doubts more than having to place a monetary value on what you do.
A cocktail of limiting beliefs and habitual behaviours block us from assessing ourselves rationally and objectively and truly knowing our worth. We run the programme of imposter syndrome, that familiar fear that others will find us out, that we’re simply not as good as they naively think we are. Into the mix, we add excessive people-pleasing and the fear of letting others down. We will usually top this cocktail off by being exceptionally tough on ourselves. It’s no wonder we cannot see what others see and that we struggle to acknowledge our worth.
To find that balance, a reality check is required. Here are five factors, (coincidentally all beginning with the letter ‘E’) that will widen your perspective and encourage you to take a more objective stance. This is not about drifting towards cockiness or delusion, it’s about viewing what you bring to the table in a rational and balanced way.
Most of us, perhaps rightly, spend the majority of our time looking forward, we focus on the next challenge, the next project, after all that’s how we grow. Rarely do we look over our shoulder and acknowledge our achievements, the successes we’ve had, the positive difference we’ve made.
Take a moment to reflect on these questions.
When I work with interview skills clients, we explore how and why their unique experience will be an asset to the organisation. Whether you’re applying for a job or not, it’s beneficial to know how and why your experience is valuable, because that is partially what a future client or employer is buying when they engage you.
When you breakdown experience common themes tend to surface, such as diversity of work, the range of challenges overcome and results achieved. A key component of experience, is risk identification, the ability to predict challenges and heed the early warning signals of potential pitfalls. You can draw parallels between what is happening now, or could happen in the future, with what you experienced in the past. This enables you to be proactive when it comes to contingency planning and offering solutions.
Experience sharpens your judgement. Your work and life experience, when married with self-awareness and rational self-assessment is the pathway to wisdom and wisdom is valuable.
When it comes to self-assessment, our approach is often skewed to focus on what we don’t know, areas where we don’t feel comfortable. It’s all too easy to overlook the skills and expertise we have developed over the years. Here are some questions to help you own your expertise.
A trap we can easily fall into is comparing ourselves to others, which always undermines our self-confidence and fuels imposter syndrome. We can take inspiration from others, we can learn from colleagues, competitors and leaders in our industry, but it’s pointless to compare ourselves to them. It’s about running your own race. The only worthwhile comparison is owning where you are now and where you feel your potential resides.
Empathy allows us to have a perspective on a situation other than our own. It facilitates the application of our skills and judgement. Empathetic people can easily show compassion to others but are usually far less compassionate towards themselves. They can tailor their communications to different audiences but are less flexible when it comes to changing perspective on their own capabilities and worth.
They will take things personally, but not fully own their skills and achievements. When others sing their praises, they don’t necessarily believe them, but if they receive negative feedback they will accept it as Gospel.
The strength of seeing the world through other people’s eyes, can, without awareness, give your inner critic the ability to project the harsh voice of self-criticism on to others. You will think that others are, or will judge you negatively, when in reality you are the only one doing negative judgement, of them and of yourself.
We are responsible for the energy you bring into a room (or onto a zoom.) Employers or clients buy your energy, your enthusiasm and your motivation (as well as your expertise and experience.)
Energy is your positive, conscious intention, your purpose in showing up. So, if you’re passionate about what you do, whether it’s writing, organising events, giving massages, training, or doing accounts, speak passionately about it. Remember, people don’t just buy services; they buy you, your energy and the love you put into what you do.
It’s human to question ourselves, to strive for better and to be cognisant of how others might view us. Without an element of self-questioning, we can easily slip into complacency. But too much of anything is never good and excessive self-questioning leads to undervaluing ourselves.
If you can catch yourself running the program of imposter syndrome, or excessive self-doubt (that anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach is usually the indicator,) the question to ask yourself is – what evidence am I using to support what I’m thinking? Just for a moment, picture yourself as the judge in a trial for rational truth, asking the prosecutor, that self-critical inner voice, to show evidence to prove their case.
A useful exercise is to put yourself into a future client or employer’s shoes. What do they see that perhaps you overlook, or discount too easily? Would they see qualifications, testimonials, a positive social media feed, evidence of past achievements and a track record of delivery? Taking this external position helps you see the wood from the trees.
This quote is a reminder not to undervalue ourselves, but it’s also an invitation to take a deep breath and step into the expanded version of you, that ironically you’ve worked hard to create and that deep down you are eager to embody. If you want others to believe in you, you have to believe in you.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and do make sure to read my post titled How to be easier on yourself where I share with you some tips to be more self-compassionate and how can you be easier on yourself.
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Best wishes and thank you