The Self Worth Trap Plaguing Women Leaders

The lies you believe about your worth are crippling you.

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It’s not your job to be a contortionist. Are you believing lies about your self-worth?

Sit down, buckle up, and turn off your notifications. We need to have a conversation about your self-worth, right now. 

The lies you’ve been believing about your worth are crippling you. They are stifling your brilliance, your joy, and your ability to serve and impact others. And what the world needs right now, always and especially as we face an unprecedented global crisis, are people abundant with the conviction of their worth and the energy that follows to serve each other and bring peace. And it starts here, with what you believe about your enough-ness. 

Listen: every single woman (every human, really, but I work with women) suffers from this true pandemic: not feeling like “enough”: good enough, smart enough, tall enough, pretty enough, experienced enough… fill-in-the-blank enough. (Show me a woman who’s never had this thought, and… wait. You can’t. Because every single woman goes through this.)

These are worth issues. Word to the wise: “worth” and “enough-ness” are interchangeable.

Not convinced? Tell me if these signs are familiar….

4 Glaring Signs You Must Do Your Worth Work™

How do you know if you have worth work to do? 

1. You’re all things to all people (and you have shit boundaries)

This comes out with many of the women I work with: they’ve become people-pleasing contortionists. They pretzels themselves to be all things to all people. On top of the big meeting they’re executing and the new service they’re offering and getting to the gym, yes of course I’ll put together a class gift basket for my son’s teacher!

Being all things to all people is not honoring your worth. It’s making your value dependent on outside validation, and it’s seeking the feeling of being liked for how much you do. When you know the truth of your worth, you draw a line in the sand to say what you’re available for and what you’re not. If you are compromising yourself, you are not standing in your worth. You are making others’ needs more important than your own. 

2. Your voice is stifled (you make yourself small)

You struggle to have a real opinion, whether it’s choosing where to go for dinner, asserting your idea in a meeting, or telling your partner what feels good during sex. When asked what you want, you waffle instead of saying what you mean. It might even show up in you physically: bulky clothes that hide your figure, colors that don’t call attention, sitting with your legs tightly crossed and your hands tucked between them.

You don’t ask for help or for what you really need — childcare support, a personal or executive assistant, for your teammate to step up her game. And if you do manage to assert yourself, doubt flies in faster than a mosquito to warm blood. I overdid it. They’re annoyed at me now. I should’ve kept my mouth shut.

3. You’ve got it all under “control” (Haha. Ha)

For all my women out there who take pride in control — the constant hustle, the striving — somewhere inside you believe that the more you achieve, the more success you gain, the more external things you have (think: big house, nice car, the right clothes, “good” kids) the more “enough” you are.

This is often a woman who looks like everything’s rocking on the outside… and on the inside she is overwhelmed, harried, stretched thin, exhausted, snapping at her kids and partner, working late and on the weekends, neglecting her self-care and social life.

4. The lie that rules them all

There’s a fourth sign that pervades all three of the above, one you’re probably familiar with: imposter syndrome.

I hate imposter syndrome because it’s a lie. I hate that it’s an excuse that women fall back on, a crutch we use, instead of doing the inner work necessary to never feel like an imposter again. 

Where You Learned the Lies

Where does this insidious idea that you’re “not enough” originate?

From things that happened in your childhood. The oppression of the patriarchy. And, depending on your religious background, being influenced to think that you are the “original sinner” and you have to earn your worth.

(That is a load of shit, by the way. How dare any human make anyone feel like they have to earn their inherent worth? It is unacceptable, and we cannot be available for it anymore. Sadly, it’s a core belief in many religions. As Danielle LaPorte put it, “I’m not against religion, I’m against oppression.” That is a huge baseline for a lot of women as to where the worth issues originated. More on this coming soon — click here to make sure you don’t miss it.)

It happened because of what you made things mean in your childhood. It could have been as simple as this: you had two parents who worked outside the house, and deep inside your young self thought, if I were more lovable, more enough, I wouldn’t have to go to daycare. Or, your parents divorced and your young self thought, if I mattered, Daddy wouldn’t have left. What your little-girl-self made that mean turned into trauma

Take a breath….the truth is that we all have trauma. Wounds, if you will. If you are a human, you have wounds, period. Here’s a phenomenal definition of trauma, because trauma isn’t only “Big T Trauma” like physical or sexual abuse:

“Trauma is any experience that made you feel unsafe in your fullest, authentic expression and led to developing trauma adaptations to keep you safe.”

– Dr. Valerie Rein, Psychologist and Patriarchy Stress Disorder® expert from her book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder

It’s not your fault. You didn’t choose where you were born, the parents you were born to, and the things that happened to you. But it is your job, as the magnificent, grown-ass woman you are, to do the inner work on your beliefs about worth so your past doesn’t fuck up your future and block your ability to show up as the epic leader you are capable of being. 

Because listen: if you’re not willing to take a look back to move forward, you’re screwing yourself over. We — all women, all humans — have to unlearn this lie of unworthiness. It is YOUR responsibility. 

Because if you don’t, you will spend the rest of your days making this fatal mistake: negotiating your worth. 

The Worth Negotiation Trap

I see countless women do this, and it breaks my heart. Here’s what happens: you make your worth dependent upon anything and everything that happens to you: 

  • A relationship ends and you think, What did I do? I could’ve been different. I should have tried harder. Was I not enough?
  • Something happens in your business — you lose a client or employee — and you think, Maybe this means that I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m not really cut out for this. 
  • Your kid throws a fit and you think, I’m a terrible mother. What have I done?

When you choose to take things personally like this, you are literally plopping your worth on the table to be discussed and negotiated. 

This is especially pernicious for women entrepreneurs. We have to talk about the difference between your worth and the value of your business. I got into a deep discussion about this on #SoMoney with Farnoosh Torabi. DO NOT let me hear you say “charge what you’re worth!” again. What IS that?

You’re not charging what you’re worth! You are not your business. You might be the service provider, healer, creative, employee, but you are not putting your worth on the line when you’re pricing your services or negotiating a promotion. 

What you’re pricing is the value of your work product or the outcomes you deliver. Yet I see people conflating worth with price everywhere. I see graphics and memes all over social media: “your self worth equals your net worth” and “charge what you’re worth” and it makes me want to punch someone. It’s a disservice and it’s dead wrong.

What You Become When you Negotiate your Worth

Been there, done that? Then you’re in one of these two camps: you act like a cringing, shrinking violet or a condescending, over-assertive bitch, all in an effort to be enough. But it doesn’t work that way. You’re trying to fill a hole from the outside in. You have to go inward, deeply, and fill that space from the inside out. 

I want to introduce you to the space between: the center where you OWN your worth, and you stop negotiating it. 

Think about this: by toggling with your own worth, you are making it exponentially harder for you to make your impact. While you’re becoming the first woman CEO in your sector or growing your business, you are creating your own glass ceiling if you don’t do your worth work™.

Everyone wants to “believe in ourselves” without doing the work. We want ironclad, unwavering self-belief to magically fall on us like a fairy godmother waving her wand. Here’s the truth: you are your fairy godmother. Owning your inherent self worth… that’s when you get unwavering belief in yourself. That’s when you can Do The Thing. That’s when you start to see what’s possible for your life. 

Because it is truly your job to know your worth. Nobody else’s. The deep, core FACT that I am enough, I am worthy, whole, significant, I matter, I am lovable… this truth is an automatic you get for being human. You were born enough, lovable, significant, worthy, pure, and whole. And you don’t have to do a damn thing to “deserve” that, EVER. It is the truth of your birthright.

You are a worthy human, period end of story.

Now, as yourself: what is blocking you from believing me when I tell you your worth is your birthright? 

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