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Self-esteem: Does It Really Matter?

Some people are full of confidence and able to meet even the most difficult challenge with an air of authority. A good level of self-esteem is essential for us to function successfully in our professional and personal lives. Sally Foan, principle trainer at The People Tree, looks at the importance of self-esteem and how we can build on it?

Every day we make decisions based partly on our level of self-esteem, and exhibit that level to those around us in a variety of ways. This behaviour influences others and how people then react to us, perpetuating the cycle.

Outside influences play a part in setting our level of self-esteem when we are children and as we grow up. These may have included the opinions of parents, teachers, friends and family. What we need to do as adults is take a fresh look at our own opinion of ourselves. Is our long-held view accurate? Is our view 'rose-tinted' or unfairly negative? Bear in mind that the feedback we grew up with may have been fatally flawed. What if the people that influenced our self-worth were wrong? Perhaps we were bullied, or grew up in a challenging home which has left our self-confidence and self-esteem seriously dented.

As adults we have the opportunity to re-examine our level of self-esteem by seeking accurate feedback from people we respect. This process allows you to expand your understanding of yourself and this information can be valuable for fine tuning and optimising your performance in the workplace and beyond.

Setting goals and achieving them will boost your self-esteem. Identify your training aspirations (that will broaden your professional skills) and support your future goals.

So, what if you do have the potential to achieve more and the only barrier is your self-esteem or self-worth? What if the things you'd realistically like to achieve are actually possible? Picture yourself and your future as one of the enormous super tankers out at sea. These massive ships can take a great deal of time to change course. Someone in the bridge, at the helm, needs to plan well ahead to change course for the future destination. The captain must allow for overall stability, external conditions and operational planning. Don't wait for the 'perfect' captain or manager to steer your career, you may wait forever, or you may already have one who is too challenged by tasks and workload to think for you. Take the helm yourself today and in a year's time you'll be glad you did.

Top tips for improving your self esteem

Trainer Sally Foan offers ideas to help you build on your current level of self-esteem:

Learn how to feel good about yourself

Take time to remind yourself of all the things that you have accomplished. Remember your achievements and all the positive things that you do for yourself and others. We rarely hear the positives and yet we certainly hear any negatives ? and remember them long after we have forgotten all the nice things said about us or our performance. If you are a manager remember that each of your team will have positives that you can praise; take the time to find and highlight these.

"There isn't a ruler, a yard stick or a measuring tape in the entire world long enough to compute the strength and capabilities inside you." --PAUL MEYER

Surround yourself with good people

Friendship based on mutual trust and respect is a fundamental boost to our self-confidence. Avoid people that continually put you down or make you feel small or low.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

"Surround yourself with people who lift you higher." OPRAH WINFREY

Be well rounded

Don't neglect your interests. When was the last time you did that hobby you love, listened to your favourite music, or went to the theatre? Stay active; endorphins lift your spirits and staying healthy will make you feel better about yourself and your self-image. Take a pride in your appearance; it will do wonders for your self-confidence ? when you know you look good, others notice. Walk tall.

Avoid self-consciousness

If you are self-conscious in a social situation focus on the following: Just because you lack confidence doesn't mean others can tell. Approach a group and introduce yourself. Ask questions and really listen to their answers.

Finding out about the other people present will help make them (and you) feel more comfortable.

Slow down and concentrate on others rather than yourself.

Accept criticism

If you are constantly saying things like 'I'm no good at anything' then you're wrong. Self-esteem is not just about thinking positively about yourself all the time, it is about being realistic and about not thinking badly about yourself for no reason. Criticism can be a positive thing. If we can learn to see the positives of someone valuing us enough to give us honest feedback, or constructive criticism, we can improve our performance.

Set goals and meet them

The process of looking forward, planning ahead, and accomplishing something can be very fulfilling.

Accept failure

Failure is part of life. It is how you deal with it that sets you apart. Everyone gets knocked down at some time so the real question is, will you get back up?

"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." WINSTON CHURCHILL

Deal with a workplace bully

Learning to deal with bullies in an assertive way is easier than you think. Once you challenge a bully in a calm but clear way you will realise how much better you feel about both the bully and yourself. Feeling sorry for a bully, who after all lacks the more appropriate tools and people skills necessary for the modern workplace, will help you to remain calm. Challenging is easier than you think when you use a 'feelings assertion' such as: "When you shout at me in front of other people I feel very uncomfortable and I would much prefer to have this conversation later when we are both calmer - shall we say 11am by the coffee machine." Take the time to practice and role-play situations and this will help you to remain calm in real situations. The Assertiveness two-day course detailed on this website is an ideal safe forum where you have the opportunity to practice assertive interventions for real long-term behaviour change post-course.

And finally

Remember that feeling healthy and good about yourself is not a luxury, it is an absolute necessity. Persevere with trying to raise your self-esteem and don't expect massive changes all at once. Beating low self-esteem is a wonderful thing and it is easier than you think.

There are currently two courses available to help raise your levels of self-esteem and self-confidence: Assertiveness and Effective Presenting. Sally Foan is available for group courses or one to one coaching and development; helping you to take the helm of your future life and career success.

Check out our website regularly for the new free personal development tips which we post under the button, FREE INFORMATION. View the website at www.peopletreetraining.co.uk

Principle trainer at People Tree Training is Sally Foan, a personal development coach specialising in the field of interpersonal communication. Sally works with individuals or small groups of people, from new entrants through to senior managers. With many years experience working alongside a broad range of organisations including the travel industry, airline industry, RAF in Germany, the Health and Fitness Industry and more recently a range of well known public & private sector organisations, Sally aims to help your people realise their potential and therefore add value to your organisation.

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