I used to ride six miles, take a CrossFit class, eat the scooper’s dry protein powder directly from the scooper, and shower twice before heading into the bureau at 8 a.m.
At the design agency where I was a creative director, I brought my colleagues’ awe to this punishing routine, external validation from my clients who commented on my zoom biceps while cooking designs on weekends, and a raging eating disturbance at the end of every day (who am I kidding, I went back to the gym for workout number two).
I was a high-energy, high-priced self-esteem concoction. Despite this, I still didn’t have any.
I’m not the only one who has had that experience. In my previous article, I discussed why so many people seek self-worth in their careers or businesses, only to find themselves in chronic emotional pain at best.
Time is of the essence. There will be competition. Check your measurements. Enhance. There’s more to it. There’s more to it.
We’ve been taught that if we work hard enough and optimise ourselves, we’ll get there faster.
There isn’t anything like it.
We believe that we are evolved individuals in charge of our own fate. In fact, we’ve been taught to work long, fast, and difficult hours in order to earn the right to feel “good enough.”
It possesses no empowering characteristics.
Collective inadequacy is the fuel that drives our society. People have created something that requires us to seek self-worth, and our careers are a powerful way to increase our inner measurements. We are desperate for someone or something to acknowledge our existence.
Grinding to the bone has a significant disadvantage: self-worth requires no effort, is readily available, and is free.
It’s not particularly catchy, but it’s true.
The first step in reclaiming your self-worth is to identify where you have created dependency models or where you want your value to be perceived externally. Then it is time to demolish oppressive systems.
Today, we’ll go over six strategies to help you transition from “man” to “human.”
Don’t attempt all six at once. This isn’t a competition in which you can boost or lower your self-esteem! Choose the path with the least amount of resistance by selecting two options.
What Sets Me Apart From The Crowd?
On a piece of lined paper, write “Why am I good?” On each line, write a reason why you are a good or valuable person. After ten minutes, come to a halt.
This could be very simple or very difficult for you.
Now, go through each reason you are valuable, such as being productive, achieving something, earning money, improving skills, logging in, or improving yourself.
Now, in a different colour, highlight all of the inherent values: things that do not require any action or external validation, or are simply traits or qualities that you believe to be true about yourself.
The lengths of the lists were compared.
Your second list should ideally be much longer than your first list. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. It’s no surprise that no one can take a vacation. Our very identity is at stake!
Is It Always My Intention To “Go Above And Beyond?”
We’ve all worked with someone who is always willing to “go the extra mile.” They frequently discuss it. Quite loudly.
Maybe you’re someone!
It takes effort to provide something for which you have not been asked. It takes an additional hour to stay. It takes energy to pick up someone else’s slack. Working outside of the scope requires a lot of energy. Staying late to finish a customer design takes a lot of energy.
All we do is exchange energy. What do we get in exchange for our energy?
Two people could do the same thing, but their reactions would be vastly different.
What is the reason for this?
Someone is being generous.
It determines the worth of the other person.
If you go “above and beyond,” there are two straightforward but simple questions to ask.
“I’m just doing it because I can?”
“I’m just doing this to feel something?”
If the latter is true, you have low self-esteem, and others may sense your desperation. Worse, you can feel it. In this situation, no one wins. You’re also at risk of burnout.
Who taught me how to do my job?
Hard work morality is both a product of nature and a source of nourishment. I’m the daughter of a kind, generous man who returned with a suitcase of archives and slept for two hours every night. When I first started working for a major technology company in my early twenties, my boss joked about sleeping to ensure that my new pipeline didn’t fall out.
Except he wasn’t smiling when he mentioned sleeping bags.
Is it any surprise that we believe work begins and ends when the sun sets?
We don’t simply inherit our parents’, mentors’, and bosses’ questionable heirlooms. We are born with belief systems that unquestionably submerge and sink our lives.
Investigate the origins of your work ethic. Consider the following questions:
- Who taught me how to do my job?
- How contented or healthy have they been?
- Have I ever questioned these assumptions?
- What exactly does “work ethic” imply?
Even when we attempt to deal with our self-worth, we frequently unconsciously enlist in an oppressive system. I recently started working with a customer who works on two-week sprints for $300,000 at her company. During our first Zoom session, I noticed her eyes clinging to a spot where I knew an endless stream of Slack messages was bombarding her.
Why isn’t she able to simply turn them off? Because she is a wonderful, limitless woman!
Constraints are required for all good design. All people who want innate value should be prepared to set limits when they are available, to reaffirm and ruthlessly strengthen them.
My company has a no-weekend work policy. You can email me, but I won’t get back to you until Monday. Doesn’t that sound terrifying? Test it out and see if it’s capable of destroying the world.
If you do, you are working in a toxic environment.
What if it doesn’t? What if it doesn’t? Look for other ways to create a sense of scarcity around your work. You might be surprised at how much better your work and self-esteem improve when you channel yourself intentionally rather than spreading.
What exactly is “sufficient?”
There is a distinction to be made between more and more. You can always progress higher and further. If you value your mental health, you should not.
When you define “enough” professionally, you plug a hole in your own worth.
Only when light bulbs are turned off at night do they last a long time. Make a list of everything you need to get done this week. Cut into halves. Split in half. Stop working even if you’re done by Wednesday. Take note of how uneasy Thursday and Friday are.
Is it possible that I am under the influence of drugs?
When was the last time you sat and did nothing? I don’t mean anything at all. Don’t work, check your email, watch TV, listen to a podcast, make a phone call, or play with your dog or children. What do you feel when you do nothing?
If you answer “never” and “no idea,” you’re on drugs – work-for-worth drugs!
We are taken aback by our constant movement. Most of us are afraid of how we will feel if we stop.
So give it a shot. Come to a halt. Come to a halt.
Set aside two hours, send everyone away, turn off your phone, and sit. If you begin to feel emotionally itchy, take note of the stories that emerge as a human being in the empty space around you.
Meditation and breathing exercises changed my perception of myself and my worth. Both are essential pillars that aid in inner work and healing. Developing a practise of silence is a powerful way to learn more about yourself. It is 100 times more powerful than logging hours, dollars, and steps.
Don’t you know if you’re trying to boost your self-esteem? Consider the following considerations:
Are you referring to taking time off or resting all the time, but you are unable to do so?
Do you feel obligated to brag about how hard you work?
Is the completion of a project accompanied by the question, “How will I overcome it?”
If you answered yes, you have your answer.
You will be hungry, disempowered, and desperate as long as you seek your value in your work. You, too, will never be able to withdraw!
By learning to love yourself without doing anything, you can increase your tolerance, appreciation, and even love for yourself.
Consider everything through the lens of a curious experiment.
Do fewer things and be more. Let’s wait and see what happens. Let’s see what happens.