Self-esteem is a key quality that determines your overall success and happiness. Lack of self-esteem can result in a feeling of inadequacy, depression, anxiety and an inferiority complex. Recently I read that all you need in life is a wishbone, jawbone and backbone. A wishbone will enable you to dream big dreams, a jawbone will remind you that if you believe in something you have to speak about it and a backbone will remind you that anything worthwhile requires you to persist when the going gets tough.
I know there has been a lot of movement against self-esteem. However I think the problem is arrogance and not self-esteem. A strong self-esteem can help individuals overcome setbacks, appreciate life more, set big goals, take care of themselves and it also improves relationships with others.
Here are eight ways to develop your self-esteem to a high level.
Develop a high appreciation for life – This is the starting point for high self-esteem. When you understand that your life has meaning and there is a specific purpose to your life you get excited about the possibilities and opportunities. Your life is important and you have a unique contribution to make in this world. When you understand that you feel better about yourself. As Victor Frankl said it is not what we want out of life that is important instead it is what life wants out of us.
Maintain a gratitude log – Appreciate all the good things you have in your life. There will always be things that don’t go our way and we all have multiple things which we are not happy about. However this attitude will not take us forward in our lives. We should take the opposite route and write every single thing we are grateful for in our lives. This includes family, job, colleagues, and everything else that you are blessed to have. Doing this on a regular basis will improve your mindset and eventually your self-esteem will increase.
Understand your strengths – Every single person has some unique strength which sets them apart from everyone else. The main problem is not everyone has taken the time to acknowledge themselves for all the good things in their lives. We always wait for external acknowledgement but what I am suggesting here is to acknowledge yourself by appreciating all the strengths you have. Write down every good quality you have like passion, self-discipline, integrity and any other qualities that set you apart. You can also assess your strengths using tools like Strength Finder.
Set long term goals for your life – We all have goals in our work lives but taking the time to visualize what you want your life to look like is an important step to improving our self-image. Goals can keep us excited about our lives and gives a compelling future vision which motivates us to get up and show up every single day of our lives. Make goals specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound. Have goals in every area of your life like financial, personal, career, and family. Keep looking at this weekly and your self-esteem will improve.
Never compare yourself with others – This can be achieved by having an abundance mentality. There is enough credit to go around so don’t think someone else’s success means you failed. Everyone is running their own race and appreciate them for their accomplishments. At the same time run your own race against your predetermined outcomes. This is a sure way to ensure you protect your self-esteem at all times.
Exercise – Exercise is one of the key productivity habits of top achievers. It has been shown that people who exercise enjoy life more, perform at work better and this ultimately leads to higher level of self-esteem. Get on to an exercise program that can be sustained. Exercise releases endorphins which makes you feel good about yourself and your life. If you have not exercised for some time start slowly and then build up to make it a lifestyle change. If we do this then it eliminates the need for resolutions.
Commit to Excellence – One of the keys to high self-esteem is to be excellent in your chosen profession. When you are highly competent in whatever you do for a living you automatically respect yourself more. This leads others to respect you for what you do and it is a cycle of a reinforcement which establishes your self-esteem on a new footing. Keep current in your field by reading, listening to podcasts, taking certifications and sharing what you have learned. Your commitment to excellence will ultimately lead you to have high levels of self-esteem.
Get to know yourself – Know thyself is the oldest advice from ancient wisdom. Taking the time to understand what you want, where your strengths are and what your weaknesses are is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself. Another key is to maintain a journal recording everything you want in your life. You can also use it to reflect on where you are going on a regular basis. This will keep you happy and journal-ling about what is bothering you is also another way to stay calm. Write down all your accomplishments for the week and keep track of every accomplishment you have ever had. This will increase your self-esteem.
If you follow these 8 steps your self-esteem will improve and you will achieve all your goals faster. Finally I want to end with this wonderful quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.