Self-esteem, self-respect & self-confidence


Self-esteem can be simply defined as having a very good opinion about yourself. 

It comes from within.  No amount of technique or gimmick can put it there.

Self-confidence is knowing you’re right, knowing you can do it, belief in your ability, in your power, in yourself.

Self-esteem is bigger than self-confidence. It’s a high feeling of worth.

But it’s not arrogance which is an offensive display of superiority of one’s self-importance at the expense of others, exhibiting an attitude and actions that demonstrate contempt of others.

Self-respect is honoring your ideas, beliefs, decisions, values, the products of your life, and treating them as important, even sacred. Protecting them and keeping them inviolate, free from violations. 

I can look at someone and see how much self-esteem they have because it radiates in their presence.

Self-esteem drives out fear. 

It also has a big impact on others when they see you have it.  I’ve heard people call it an “aura”.

It creates a definite unmistakable chemistry in all your relationships when you have it. 

It feels good.

People hate to lose it. Certain situations make it tough to maintain.

It’s especially difficult for people to feel a lot of self-esteem when they’re in front of a camera, being videoed making a presentation. They usually hate watching themselves the first time when we play it back. Why is that? Why are they so disappointed in what they see?

Because they’re not demonstrating competence at a level that would make them proud of themselves.

Which brings us to an important point. 

Competence is what raises self-esteem. 

It’s the fastest and most secure way I know how. 

Competence is a range of capacity or ability sufficient to meet the demands of the situation. It includes competent force, competent knowledge, competent skill. 

Demonstrated competence is a direct route to self-esteem.

That’s why I love teaching, helping others increase their competence, seeing their competence grow, followed by the prize of greater self-esteem.

As I write this, I was thinking about an email I received from our Lead Trainer, Janet, about 3 recent students in a presentation skills workshop. This is what she wrote:

"First of all, I’d like to tell you about Mary.  She was funny but extremely self-conscious, nervous and almost hectic. It took her a lot of effort to not have her mind racing all over the place and just be there comfortably. We coached her intensively to take all her attention off herself and to become very aware of, and connected with, her audience. She ducked her head while watching her final video, like she couldn't watch it, and I was concerned.  When I went over to inquire, she was crying. I was even more concerned. She looked up and told me they were tears of joy. She never had believed she could look so professional and relaxed.

"Next, our student named Mike. He is a big gruff guy, an engineer and manager. He presents frequently, mostly virtual. In his first video, he grimly told us to think of him as “Mr. No” because that’s his main answer when people ask him for something.  As we progressed through the training, he relaxed and learned how to make a deep personal connection. He told us that he had crippling stage fright that had ruined his personal life. His dad was a world-class magician. Mike wanted to follow in his footsteps and although he acquired the skills, stage fright had stopped him cold. He thought he would have it for the rest of his life and switched his career to engineering. He was truly blown away and grateful for the coaching that enabled him, for the first time in his life, to handle stage fright. He made a great final video. He warmly shook our hands and said that he found the class “truly transformative”.

"And finally, Aisha. She is a shy data analyst, in her 30's, new to her role in the cybersecurity industry. While brilliant mathematically, she is very insecure and self-conscious. She had many bad interviews and failures before landing this job. In her final video, she was confident and poised, and was literally GLOWING as she watched it. She felt like a whole career path had opened up for her. She could now think of herself as a leader, a goal she had never dared dreamed. She described the class as “life-changing”.

Experiencing and hearing about all the students transformed during these classes is one of my greatest pleasures in life. 

Rock solid self-esteem sits on a foundation of competence. Take every opportunity you can to demonstrate your own competence and watch your self-esteem grow.  I’d love to hear about it.