self esteem

Running beneath the surface of our conscious awareness is a set of beliefs—sort of an autopilot of assumptions and expectations. The role models we’re exposed to as children, along with the stories we consistently hear, instruct our belief system and set us up to repeat patterns that create the results we see every day.

Do you know the beliefs you bought into as a child that continue to create your current reality?

I thought I did, and then I came face-to-face with the reality of an undesirable result I’ve recreated too many times to count.

Frustrated and angry, I’ve found myself lamenting to friends and colleagues about how inappropriate some men have been, particularly in a business setting.

“The guy’s a jerk,” they’d say, fully supporting my irritation at the situation.

Which is true—some men are jerks, though none of them have the ability to impact me without my permission.

Rather than waste any more time pointing a finger outward, I looked inward and asked myself, “How am I behaving that’s causing such interactions? Why do they think it’s acceptable to speak or act in such a way toward me?”

Over the years, I’ve asked this question dozens of times and come to the realization it was something I said or did, giving the wrong impression. I sought to adjust my behaviors and set stronger boundaries after each instance, which ultimately never worked.

I was fighting inertia—a deep-rooted set of beliefs that were instructing my behaviors. As a result, I continually found new behaviors to elicit the same result and ended up increasingly frustrated.

When I looked deeper, what I discovered was sobering and empowering at the same time.

Somewhere along my journey, I bought into the belief that I lacked inherent value as a person. For a whole variety of reasons, I never developed a healthy sense of self-worth.

Though, until this moment, I thought my confidence and esteem were quite strong!

Beneath the surface of my consciousness is a little voice that fears inadequacy, loss and rejection. It’s the little voice that grabs a hold of me and instructs me to use “proven” (learned) strategies to ensure I’m liked, valuable and worthwhile.

Said simply, that strategy was flirting.

I understand that the only way to shift this result is to get clear about two things: the value I bring and the challenges potential clients are facing.

Today, I don’t go into a meeting without having a conversation with myself about my own value, read some testimonials and plug into my own sense of worth. This clarity has given me the ability to focus on the business at hand and avoid the energy and time sink of such negative interactions.

Rather than being caught up in a game of trying to be liked, I’m finding enjoyment in uncovering real opportunities to help leaders who want more focus, energy and greater impact in the work they do. Now I have the time and energy to focus on helping the ones who want the value I bring to the table.

What results do you find yourself continually experiencing? What part do your beliefs play in these results?

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister