“I just want to be the sexiest woman in the room.”
That’s what my friend who I graduated college with told me when I commented on how impressed I was with her recent dedication to exercise.
Everyone is driven by something.
Thinking about self worth, I asked my friend what it really meant to be “the sexiest woman in the room.” It came down to power. It came down to being noticed and being a somebody.
And how we measure self worth changes with our priorities.
I used to put so much pressure on myself to be the perfect administrative assistant at work. I bought all the right clothes. I came in to work an hour early and stayed late at night sometimes. I sacrificed my social life to spend more time at work-related events.
That was when all my self worth was measured based on my performance at work. To me, being an A-player in the office made me worthy. Of what? A promotion. A raise. Recognition. Being a somebody.
The problem? Weighing my self worth based on how well I did at work trapped me in a cycle of self hate, especially because I was a terrible assistant.
Promotions, raises and recognition are all external things that happen to you.
Somewhere deep down I believed that the better I did at work, the more recognition and appreciation I’d get and the more I’d be worth.
It means being true enough to your core that you can impact something or someone. And it takes a while to develop.
How I measured my self worth changed pretty quickly. I looked at my supervisors and the way they lived their lives. They were all miserable. My supervisors got promoted at some point in their careers, yet they were still unhappy.
Suddenly, advancing on that career path didn’t seem so important anymore.
So I quit.
I decided to re-root my self worth somewhere else.
That meant I had to I stop focusing on myself and my problems and instead focus on how I could help others with my natural gifts: writing, communication and support.
This choice was key in accelerating my personal development. It affected everything. My priorities. How I spent my time. Who I spent my time with. What I spent my money on. Where I worked.
Even though my career goal of becoming a successful talent agent was a large part of my identity, switching gears completely created more room for growth, development and learning how to be myself.
Are you measuring your self worth based on something external?
More will never be enough.
Once you get promoted, then what? Soon enough, you’ll be going after another promotion.
Once you reach a financial goal, are you going to stop there? In no time, you’ll set an even higher one to chase.
When you figure out what your self worth really is, your mission will no longer be “more.” It will be just enough.
For now, I’m measuring my self worth on my ability to control my life and make decisions. Instead of a promotion, I’m driven by the ability to design my life, one year at a time.
I’ve come a long way from the college grad who judged her self-worth based on how well she could answer the phone at her talent agent assistant job.
Once I let go of the desire to build an impressive resume, I became a much happier more fulfilled person. I now feel like a confident, whole somebody.
Originally published at medium.com