Self-Assurance – Why Self-Esteeming Alone Doesn’t Really Work

Self-esteem could be defined as: What our unconscious believes to be true about how worthy, lovable, valuable and capable we are. While self-esteeming techniques such as positive self-talk may have positive effects, more lasting effects can be had if the following is considered:

a) Learn to do something well:
A huge chunk of self-esteem comes from acquiring skills in an area close to our interests, and doing well at it. Success creates greater assurance that we’ll be successful again the next time or do even better with a heightened level of self-esteem and confidence. Positive thinking and self-talk with no real foundation leads to a disconnect with reality and can usually bring you down even further. So, to feel good about ourselves, start doing some things well.

b) Look to your Language:

Hundreds of studies aligned with belief that helplessness is linked to our own interpretation of events (See Seligman[1990], Stoltz[1997] ), and whether we see events and challenges as Permanent, Pervasive and Personal. In the worst case, our language is based on all three ‘P’s which then create a sense of hopelessness and lack of empowerment. This is because we would have trained ourselves to believe that the negative event / situation will

  • (i) never change
  • (ii ) affects everything we do, and
  • (iii) is due to our fault exclusively.

For e.g. ” The boss is ALWAYS criticising me, EVERYTHING I do must be really bad. I’m really a bad personal assistant “. The opposite extreme mindset would be e.g. ” The boss was critical of one of the four reports I gave him, I must have overlooked to include key information. I need to me more mindful about those kind of reports that can trip me up”. More of this later

c) Get rid of self-limiting attitudes:

Again, listen to your language. Have you heard these words as your internal dialogue with yourself?

” Oh, I couldn’t do that – I’m no good at ______”
” I don’t really deserve this promotion.”
” It can’t be done, it’s been tried a few times without success.”

If it fits your outcomes, challenge these with questions of rigour – these include ”Says who?” Specifically, what is it that stops me? “, ” How effective were the last few attempts, and what can be done to make them more successful?”

Try out some of these Self-Assurance tips and let me know how well it works for you and what you’ve found out about being a more effective leader.