By Dr. Joe Rubino
Studies show that at least 85% or more of the world’s people suffer from some degree of lacking self-esteem.
Although one might think that such challenges are only characteristic of the poor, uneducated, or lower socio-economic members of society, people from all walks of life can suffer situational or more widespread challenges with their levels of self-esteem.
Many very successful business people lack self-esteem in some areas of their lives. Perhaps they feel socially challenged or they have difficulty establishing close or intimate relationships.
Perhaps they experience low self-esteem with regard to their physical appearance or their health. Perhaps they are not having any fun in their lives, maybe devoting too much attention to their work.
Many “successful” people are driven to succeed. They compensate for feeling deficient in other areas of their lives by working harder and finding a place they can excel through their work.
This provides them with a new focus where they can win but it doesn’t fulfill their neglected needs in other areas like relationships, recreation, personal and spiritual development, health and appearance, and their ability to lead balanced, fun, and fulfilling lives.
Many of those lacking self-esteem in other areas find themselves driven to accomplish, driven to prove their worth. Since business is an area where they can shine, they neglect other areas to focus excessively on business.
However, since their actions are built upon the erroneous belief that they are somehow not good enough, somehow defective or unworthy of being fully loved and accepted, there is little lasting satisfaction even in the arenas where they can excel.
It’s as though they are climbing a ladder with the top of the ladder in the clouds. They think that if they can just climb high enough, they will be successful. They will have proven their worth. They will find satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment.
However, as they climb higher and higher, they never seem to arrive. There are always new goals and objectives challenging them to prove their worth. The more they achieve, the more they have yet to go.
Try as they will, they never seem to fully measure up. Or, if they do, it is short-lived and fleeting at best. There is no arriving to the point where they find what they long for so badly ‒ the peace of mind that comes from self-love and self-acceptance.
Because the foundation of their ladder is grounded on quicksand, they often find themselves sinking as rapidly as they climb. In fact, from their perspective, they will never reach the perfection they seek so badly. They will always find evidence to highlight their flaws and reinforce their fears of being unworthy, unlovable, defective in some way.
No one needs to settle for a dimmed existence due to a lacking sense of self-worth. If our energy is spent by being preoccupied with our weaknesses or being incomplete with our past, we can never be fully present to today and so we sacrifice our true potential to bring about a result.
Our relationships suffer as we will misinterpret the words and actions of others in a way that invalidates us and has us feel badly about who we are. We may be so driven to prove we are good enough that we sacrifice our personal effectiveness and charisma by focusing on ourselves and our deficiencies rather than on the wants and needs of others.
We may play small and hide out in social situations or whenever the possibility of looking bad or “being found out” comes up for us. Or, we may overcompensate and turn to workaholic tendencies out of a desire to prove our worth to others or to ourselves. Because of this misdirected focus, we trade our ability to impact others maximally and to best contribute our gifts to the world.
The answer to escaping the vicious cycle of lacking self-esteem, diminished confidence, and the never-ending, frustrating quest for fulfillment lies in the 3-step process I lay out in detail in The Self-Esteem Book.
The process starts with healing one’s past so that it no longer robs us of energy and consumes our attention. Once the pull of past ghosts is complete, we can then turn our attention to properly analyzing our present state of affairs.
We can identify what’s working in our lives and what’s missing to support living an upset-free life in choice, a life that honors our most important values and inspires us to live passionately. And finally, we can take that magic wand that is our birthright, wave it over our lives, and design our future deliberately.
We can choose to do so in a way that excites us, as we cast off that gloomy state of low self-esteem, unhealthy resignation, and self-pity that no longer supports us. We can live with the intention to honor our God-given magnificence and lead happy, fulfilled lives that fully contribute to others as we share our gifts with the world.
Dr. Joe Rubino is an internationally acclaimed personal development trainer, life-changing success and life-optimization coach, and bestselling author of 12 books available worldwide in 23 languages. He is the CEO of The Center for Personal Reinvention, an organization that has impacted the lives of more than 2 million people through personal and leadership development programs, providing participants with tools to maximize their happiness, self-esteem, communication skills, productivity, and personal effectiveness.
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