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Self-Esteem is the Bridge to Success
By Chelse Benham
"To be nobody but yourself when the whole world is trying its best night and day
to make you everybody else is to fight the hardest battle any human being will
ever fight." - E.E. Cummings (1894-1962), American poet
Perhaps you are wondering what self-esteem has to do with workplace advice.
Absolutely everything! This can not be stressed enough. From job interviews to
managing projects to influencing others, how you feel about yourself directly
impacts how people will perceive you and how much faith they place in you.
Everything you do speaks volumes about your self-esteem. How you dress, how
you carry yourself and what you say impacts the impressions you leave with
“Act confident when giving your presentation or speaking in public,” said Dr.
Salma Ghanem, associate professor and chair of the Department of
Communication at The University of Texas-Pan American. “You may not feel
confident, but don’t let your audience sense your discomfort.”
“The Top Ten Keys to Self-Confidence” by Sharlene Talbott, at International
Cyber Business resources web site, offers keys to building self-confidence. “If
you have the keys to self-confidence, you'll be able to open doors. Doors of
opportunity that you were convinced were locked—at least to you. So, why not
uncover the keys, learn how they work and open those doors?” Some of her
advice is offered here:
Change the way you think of yourself. – This is the most important point of
them all. Everything about self-esteem begins from within you. You must change
the image you have of yourself. You may be programming yourself for failure!
Are you aware of what you're thinking before and during times you don't feel
confident? You must reprogram your mind. Choose to think positive thoughts.
Understand how self-confidence works. – Self-confidence is a necessary
ingredient for success. It's something you can sense about a person upon
entering a room. It's evident through body language and speech. It's not just what
you say, but how you say it. It's important for you to know that you can create
self-confidence. You don't have to be born with it. Everyone is capable of
learning how to be incredibly self-confident. It's like most other things. It can be
Change your body language. – You've heard the expression, "actions speak
louder than words". Well, body language speaks volumes and is always believed
more than what you may say. No matter what you may say, people are reading
and believing your body language. Closed postures, folded arms and lack of eye
contact give negative messages. Open postures, eye contact and smiles are
inviting and encourage interaction.
“We offer an interviewing skills workshop where we go over body language and
how it impacts students in the interview process,” said Lourdes Servantes,
placement specialist at UTPA’s Career Placement Services Office. “Body
language has more to do with hiring than many students ever realize. We’re here
to help equal the playing field and increase the student’s chances at getting the
Change your voice tone. – Thirty percent of communication has to do with the
tone of your voice. Record your voice and listen to it, (a painful exercise for most
people). What changes to your voice would make it sound more confident?
Listen to others who you admire. How do their voices communicate confidence to
Change situations that support your lack of confidence. – If you're in a job in
which you're miserable and mistreated, you need to change your situation. If
you're involved in a relationship with someone who tells you you're not able to do
things on your own or that you're incompetent, you need to either get counseling
or get out. Either people pull you down or build you up. If you find that you're in a
situation where you're discouraged, rather than encouraged, then you're allowing
someone else to influence or determine your destiny. Give yourself the
opportunity to grow and be happy. It's your choice.
“We recommend to students when they get their first professional job to
remember that it is a learning process. They need to learn all about their
company and get to know their co-workers. However, we remind them to always
remember to be professional,” advices Susie Chapa, coordinator of Cooperative
Education at UTPA’s Career Placements services Office. “Watch how you
behave and how you present yourself. Enjoy your work environment, but never
forget to be a professional. If you remember that you can avoid negative work
Practice confidence. – You must, at first, act as if you have confidence before
you’ll have it. You will be creating new habit patterns for yourself. You’ve heard
the expression, “fake it until you make it”. Well, it’s true. You have to act as if you
have confidence - that is, practice what a confident person would say or do - to
Self-confidence.co.uk offers quick tips for building self confidence.
1) Feel Good When You Want
For times when you need a quick boost to your self-confidence or self-esteem,
find three things that make you feel good. These could be memories of good
times, a piece of music, a holiday souvenir, or a person's face - use photos if it
helps. Practice thinking about them and bringing them to mind.
2) Beat Self Consciousness
Learn how to keep your attention off yourself - self consciousness is the enemy
of self-confidence. You can do this easily by following these steps:
a) If you notice you have become self-conscious, (you can usually tell because
you start to feel anxious), choose something 'everyday' you can see and study it
in detail. For example: examine a door, look at the different textures and shades
of color, wonder about who made it and how and so on.
b) If you feel self-conscious in a social situation, it's usually because you don't
have enough to do! Focus on what your purpose is in the situation. Whether
you're there to:
• find out if you like the other people in the situation,
• make others feel comfortable,
• find out some information, or
• make business contacts.
3) Don't Take Undue Criticism - Even From Yourself !
Challenge your own assumptions. For example, take note that:
Develop a comprehensive program of goal setting to make your life forward
• Prepare a set of written affirmations that affirm your worth and value.
• Repeat those affirmations to yourself and review your goals daily.
• Use visualization techniques to see yourself succeeding and as a success
• Get involved in a regular physical exercise program and you will
immediately begin to feel better about yourself--physically and mentally.
• Pay attention to your manner of dress and personal grooming. Present
yourself daily in the best possible manner.
• Make a list of your accomplishments. Read it when you need a boost of
The University of Texas at Austin Learning Skills Center has a thorough list of
techniques to build self-esteem. Crises of self-esteem are a part of the human
experience. When you feel troubled by low self-esteem, review the suggestions
below and choose those that are relevant to your situation and work on them. Be
patient with yourself: change takes time and steadfast work.
Free yourself from "should's". Live your life on the basis of what is possible for
you and what feels right to you instead of what you or others think you "should"
do. "Should's" distract us from identifying and fulfilling our own needs, abilities,
interests and personal goals.
Set achievable goals. Establish goals on the basis of what you can realistically
achieve, and then work step-by-step to develop your potential. Do not set
absolutes as goals--for example, "Anything less than an “A” in school is always
unacceptable"--invites stress and failure.
Test your reality. Separate your emotional reactions--your fears and bad
feelings-- from the reality of your current situation. For example, you may feel
stupid, anxious and hopeless about a project, but if you think about it, you may
still have the ability and opportunity to accomplish something in it.
Experience success. Seek out and put yourself in situations in which the
probability of success is high. Look for projects which stretch--but don't
overwhelm--your abilities. "Image" yourself succeeding. Whatever you
accomplish, let yourself acknowledge and experience success and good feelings
Take chances. New experiences are learning experiences which can build self-
confidence. Expect to make mistakes as part of the process; don't be
disappointed if you don't do it perfectly. Feel good about trying something new,
making progress and increasing your competence.
Solve problems. Don't avoid problems. Face them, and identify ways to solve
them or cope with them. If you run away from problems you can solve, you
threaten your self-confidence.
Emphasize your strengths. Focus on what you can do rather than what you
cannot. Accept current limitations and live comfortably within them, even as you
consider what strengths you might want or need to develop next.
Rely on your own opinion of yourself. Entertain feedback from others, but
don't rely on their opinions. Depend on your own values in making decisions and
deciding how you feel about yourself and what is right for you to do.
One of the greatest things parents can do for their children is to instill a sincere
sense of self-worth and bolster their child’s self-esteem. The view the world will
have of that person and that person’s view of the world is developed then.
However, it’s not an irreversible situation if you’re a person with low self-esteem.
Ultimately, the power to change who you are is within you.
"Man is what he believes and this is the one universal truth on which hinges his
entire existence." – Anton Chekov, playwright