Sandy Geroux’s top tips for helping you realize your worth
I was privileged to present a session at Executive Secretary Live GLOBAL on June 19-20, 2020, where over 550 administrative professionals from around the globe tuned in to learn, share, network and inspire each other. The chat log alone was enough to inspire us all to connect and share experiences, knowledge and resources, as well as have some fun as we used our sense of humor to put stress and challenges in their proper place!
During my session (in the chat log) and after it (via social media), many comments arose – a few of which I’d love to reflect upon here.
We all need reminders of our value occasionally
This sentiment came up often, and it reminded me how little validation we sometimes receive for our efforts and talents. Even the most self-confident person sometimes has days where they could use a brief reminder of just how incredible they are and how much their contributions are valued by others.
We can help each other by doing two things:
1. Reach out to someone who cares about you
First, if you’re feeling a bit blue, or are being too hard on yourself (we all know when we’re doing this… but stopping it is another story), don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who cares about you and say, “I’m having a bit of a tough day. Can you remind me of just one thing that I’ve done to make your life (job, experience, anything) better?” Or just let them know you’re having a tough day… and leave it at that. If they love you, they’ll take it from there.
For example, during this challenging time, I’ve watched as each month brings a fresh wave of conference cancellations (or postponements that will likely be pushed to 2021). And although I knew in my mind they were probably coming, each new one is like a knife in my heart, as I realize it’s another event where I won’t get to make a difference for an audience, nor will I be able to earn my planned income from that program.
So, last week, after losing another $20,000 in income for this year, I got a bit “down.” (Mind you, I don’t get “down” very often, nor do I stay there very long, but occasionally it happens.)
But when I mentioned it to my husband Bruce, do you know what that wonderful man said to me? “I know you’re feeling down today, but can I tell you how proud I am of you and all that you’re doing to shift and adapt your business?”
WOW! With those few words, he warmed my heart and reminded me that I’m doing all the right things and still have lots to offer. The fact is that I have continued to work hard and now have several fantastic opportunities to book virtual presentations and consulting projects as a result… opportunities that would not have presented themselves without my being forced to adapt.
But the coolest thing is that he allowed me to “wallow” (just a little bit) instead of instantly saying, “Don’t feel that way!” or denying my feelings. We are all human, and sometimes we just need to be allowed to feel what we feel. He didn’t try to solve the problem or make me feel badly about the way I felt. He just let me have my feelings while letting me know what he saw in me.
Heaven knows that, as inspirers ourselves, most of us are very strong people who don’t often complain about (or let on) what we’re feeling inside. However, this wonderful experience is an example of what can happen when you occasionally let yourself be vulnerable enough to reach out to others who can encourage and inspire you.
2. Be there for others
On the other hand, if you are the one to whom someone else is reaching out, be there for them. Again, don’t tell them how they should feel, deny their emotions or make them feel badly about it. Just lift them up by giving them your honest opinion of the wonderful qualities they possess and how you feel about them. You never know whose spirits you can lift with your heartfelt words.
We need to focus on our to be list, as well as our to do list.
This comment really touched my heart. We have so many items on our to do list that we don’t often stop to look at our overall goals and strategy regarding what or who we want to be.
Who we are (and strive to be in the future) absolutely influences how we feel and behave right now. Do we want to be someone who inspires others? Educates them? Helps them succeed? Do we want to serve as a positive role model? If so, looking at who we want to be (or continue to be) helps us determine what we need to do to achieve those goals.
These goals may compel us to continue our personal growth by reading inspiring and positive articles, blogs and social media posts daily. It may compel us to stop looking at all the negativity out there and focus on the good that exists.
Keeping in mind who we want to be may also help us hold back a caustic comment (or caustic reply to one of our commenters) because it won’t reflect who we want to be. Alternatively, it may cause us to be a little kinder in our reply than we would have been – possibly, kinder than the commenter deserves.
Focusing on how we want to portray ourselves is a great way to keep our actions in line with our values, put our best foot forward no matter what is happening around us and prevent us from doing something we will later regret.
We need to stop buying into others’ opinions of us.
Too many of us have overly critical leaders who either simply can’t express their gratitude for what we do… or are downright derogatory and insulting at every opportunity.
It saddens me to know that there are still so many people out there suffering with leaders (and co-workers) who behave this way. I’ve heard story after story of people who are so unsure of their own self-worth that they believe the only way to make themselves feel better is to belittle someone else.
My best piece of advice for this “syndrome” is this: We are not obligated to buy into anyone else’s (often incorrect) opinions of us and our abilities!
Several tips come to mind:
1. Realize that this may not be their true opinion
They may recognize your talents but are envious of them. Thus, they put you down because they secretly feel inferior to you.
2. Recognize your talents exist
Even if they don’t recognize your talents, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist! If you attended my presentation at Executive Secretary Live Global, you may remember my example from the movie “A Star Is Born,” where Lady Gaga reflects her own life experience of being told by many people that she would never make it in the music industry because she wasn’t pretty enough!
Imagine if she had believed those opinions, instead of realizing her own self-worth. If that had happened, no one would know who Lady Gaga is today. But because she rejected their assessment that her “lack of beauty” would hold her back, she has proven them all wrong! As they say, “Living well is the best revenge!” So, live well – and prove the naysayers wrong!
3. Not everyone can express appreciation
They may recognize and appreciate your talents but just can’t bring themselves to say anything. Appreciation doesn’t come naturally to some people, so they don’t express it. This does not mean that neither your talent nor their appreciation exists. All it means is that you will need to look inside and possess enough self-esteem to know it is there; it also means that if we look to others for praise, we may be in for a rude awakening and a very disappointing experience.
So, if you know that your leader is someone who can’t express what you wish they could, accept their silence and the continuance of your employment as the greatest compliment they can give. After all, many people who cannot express appreciation don’t seem to have the same limitation when it comes to expressing disapproval. If your leader disapproved of what you were doing, you would almost certainly know about it. So, take their silence as the approval it represents and seek the verbal praise you desire elsewhere.
I hope these tips help you realize your true worth, as they’ve helped me. Remember, there are two sides to the Worth “coin”: worth (which is what others say you are worth) and self-worth (or self-esteem, which is what you say you are worth).
Keeping those two opinions straight will go a long way toward helping you recognize and remember the value you truly have to offer the world.