This is a guest post by Michael Riley, who found me recently and is now an active member of my Facebook group (and actually did an interview with me already on his site). I love the topic of this post and I can definitely relate to the self-deprecating tendencies that Michael refers to. My mum has told me often of a time when I was little and I decided to list everyone that I like. “I like mummy, I like daddy, I like my sister, I like (etc) … and I like myself!” How many adults would say the same thing? That confidence and honesty was squeezed out of me growing up in England where it was definitely not okay to say that you liked yourself, or that you were good at something.
Who benefits when you hold back on who you are and what your special gifts are?
I believe that you can reach your fullest potential, and make your biggest contribution to the world, when you find work that matches your values, your interests and your individual strengths – and to do that you need to recognise, and own, your worth!
You are a Big Deal! The Importance of Owning Your Value
“Oh, it was nothing…” Do you find yourself saying this when you’ve done something for someone, or achieved something, or accomplished something, or did something you wanted to do?
How about, “Oh, it was no big deal…all I did was [fill in blank]”?
Up until just recently I had been saying this my whole life. When I graduated from university, for example, I felt like I had accomplished and achieved something massive, but I discounted that feeling when asked how I felt about it: “Oh, yeah, it feels really good… but hey, anyone could do it, so it’s not that big of a deal…” I still do it from time to time, but it’s becoming less and less because I’m working my guts off to recognise and reward myself for everything I do, achieve, or accomplish, no matter how big or small.
F*ck that noise!
The reason I believe we discount ourselves is because we have been conditioned by our parents, teachers, religious beliefs, culture and society to think that we’d be bragging or showing off if we shared how awesome we really felt, or spoke about how good we are, and that would be wrong; we should be humble and modest.
Yes and no.
While I believe it is a good trait to stay grounded, being humble and modest about who we are and what we have to offer is not – we must share who we are and own it, because we matter; we are a big deal.
And you can do this without coming across as a jerk. How? By being sincere and genuine. For example, when I’m asked what do I do? I reply: “Thanks for asking! I’m in a really exciting phase at the moment…” Pause and wait for the other person to ask a question, usually it will be “Oh, yeah, what’s that?” This will get the other person engaged and interested in you. “Well, I’ve recently changed career. Having spent 15 years helping businesses grow and increase revenue as an Account Manager I decided I wanted to coach and mentor young people, so I’ve taken time off work and I’m now studying fulltime. I’ve also just started a blog that helps people become their best version.” The conversation will flow and you’ve made a connection, maybe even a meaningful friendship. It really is that easy! You just need to believe in it… and in yourself.
“Believe it and you will see it.” – Wayne Dyer
I am a big deal. You are a big deal. Everything you did today, no matter how big or small, is a big deal. “Oh, but all I did was take the kids to school, clean the house, grocery shopping, pick the kids up from school, exercise, cook dinner, help the kids with their homework, have quality time with my husband… it’s nothing to write home about. It’s what I do most days.” Wow, that is a lot to write home about! You are giving so much to your family and that is a big deal!
I’ve heard and seen many people in business close huge deals or climb the corporate ladder and still discount themselves in some way. They would celebrate with colleagues, mates or loved ones and look and feel awesome on the outside but they were saying things like “It’s not that big of a deal,” or “Don’t be silly… it was nothing… John’s done better…” When I asked them why they didn’t give themselves ‘a plug’ they said they didn’t want to come across as bragging or a ‘tosser’.
If you are doing this, make a conscious effort to stop doing it today. You are a big deal – so own it! Remember: “Those that mind, don’t matter… those that matter, don’t mind.” Here’s what I do to know on a deep level that I’m a big deal – I encourage you to do it as well because it works:
1. Write a list about how awesome you are. Mine’s called “I am awesome because today I…” Remember to be specific and include the little things that you used to think we’re not important or not a big deal. Next to each write, “That is a big deal. I am a big deal.”
Here’s an example of my list:
- I am awesome because today I wrote down what I want to achieve/accomplish – that is a big deal. I am a big deal.
- I am awesome because today I stuck to my allocated time for each action – that is a big deal. I am a big deal.
- I am awesome because today I successfully completed an assignment – that is a big deal. I am a big deal.
I am awesome. I am a big deal. I matter!
2. (a). Practice saying what it is you actually do when next asked, “What do you do?” and say it like the example I gave earlier. It’ll feel uncomfortable at first but the more you do it the easier it’ll get.
2. (b) When you catch your inner critic telling you you’re worthless or useless or unworthy, write it down and reword everything. If you hear him say, for example, “I’ll never have her. She’s out of my league,” change it to “I’m good enough for her. Is she good enough for me? Let’s find out.” Or if he says, “I can’t do that, I’m not good at speaking in front of people,” rewrite it to “You know what, I can do that. I’m a fantastic speaker and I know they’ll love what I have to say.”
The hidden costs of not owning your value are many. The ones that can really cripple your life include:
- You become a people pleaser – “I can’t tell them how awesome I am. They will think less of me or think I’m too good for them. I’ll just be humble and modest and hope they like me.”
- You become fearful, hesitant and miss out on opportunities to have what you want – “I can’t talk to her in a café. She’s going to think I’m weird and she’ll get annoyed at me for bothering her. Besides everyone will hear me and laugh at me when she rejects me.”
- You settle in life – because you don’t believe how much of a big deal you really are, you just take what you can get. You settle in your relationships, friendships, career… in life.
The benefits of owning your value, of course, are the exact opposite:
- You attract successful, nurturing, supportive people into your life.
- You go after what you want without fear or hesitation and grow from the outcome regardless if you get a yes or no.
- You become the selector, not the selected, and live the life you deserve.
“Feel the fear… and do it anyway.” – Susan Jeffers
Use the information here as a starting point. There are many good books about owning your value and worth and I encourage to invest in yourself and read them. One book in particular I read over and over and highly recommend is Feel The Fear… And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers.