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How is your self esteem?

Glendford Smith
While most people understand the increasing demand for higher education and training, only a few leaders and workers understand the corresponding demand for a higher psychological functioning.

Specifically, there is a need for greater capacities for emotional management, personal responsibility, integrity, innovation, and self-initiative.

These requirements represent a need for people with a high level of self-esteem. This need exists for everyone, in every career, at every level of a business enterprise.

Self-esteem is evident when one demonstrates confidence in one's ability to learn, think for oneself, make good choices and decisions, and to respond appropriately to change.

No longer can a successful organisation be run by a few people who think and give orders, and a majority who merely show up and follow orders. Self-trust, independence, self-reliance, and personal initiative - all manifestations of self-esteem - have become paramount as never before.

Pioneering psychologist, Dr Nathaniel Branden, in his book The Psychology of Self-Esteem, defines self-esteem as "the experience of being competent to cope with life's challenges and of being worthy of happiness". He describes self-esteem as "our most important psychological resource".

The success value of self-esteem is thus obvious, as is the danger potential when it is missing. Here then are some important practices to boost your self-esteem, at work, and in life:

Get real
Be aware of what is happening within and around you. Perhaps you've heard the saying, 'ignorance is bliss'? Don't believe it. Not for a second. Many people hide from the facts; they guess, and assume, or simply ignore reality, because they lack the confidence to deal with unpleasant truths. Are you angry, bored, fearful, disappointed, anxious, excited, or guilty? Are your competitors doing a better job in product development or customer service? Will your company have to cut staff soon to stay in business? Stimulate the inner strength to face the truth about your feelings and the current state and future prospects for your business or job. This is the basis for making informed decisions and adapting to changes.

Love and accept yourself
When you practise self-love and acceptance, you are able to take critical feedback without the need to be defensive. Self-acceptance is acceptance of your self-worth. You don't take other people's anger, discourtesy, or attempts at disrespect personally. You are open to new ideas without feeling threatened.

Take initiative
Individuals with high self-esteem display strong self-confidence without being arrogant or obnoxious. They study the needs of their customers, co-workers, or company and take proactive steps to meet those needs; they don't wait to be told everything. They can adjust to situations confidently in order to meet objectives and succeed.

Commit to continuous learning
Confidence comes through learning. Self-esteem involves confidence in our minds to learn what we need to succeed. Learn from books, audio books, co-workers, company courses, and seminars, or return to school. Seek out every opportunity to increase your knowledge.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and personal achievement strategist. Email:
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