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Self-Esteem: It Can Make or Break Your Career

Did you know that self-esteem is more vital to a successful career than any given skill?

Brian Tracy, author of the worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement, believes that self-esteem is the critical determinant of a healthy personality. A simple definition of self-esteem is “how much you like yourself.” Tracy explains that the more you like and respect yourself, the better you perform – and the more efficient and effective you are in every facet of your life.

In short, self-esteem is the foundation of your ability to experience success and happiness.

The damages low self-esteem can inflict

It has been estimated that over 85% of the world’s population suffers from low self-esteem at one time or another. And low self-esteem can cost you your happiness, your health, your job.

Why? Because when you’re suffering from low self-esteem, you’re probably unconsciously engaging in behavior that tends to undermine your success, such as being afraid to ask for promotions or raises or even jobs you deserve. This type of behavior is particularly common with women. According to Lois Frankel, Ph.D., author of the bestselling Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office, people with low self-esteem often try to operate under the radar because they don’t want to be noticed. Obviously, this is the opposite of what a person striving for success should do.”

Low self-esteem can also turn you into a workaholic, driving you to work longer hours in order to try to appear “worthy” even when you feel unworthy of asking for compensation for all that extra work.

Four tricks for banishing low self-esteem

According to psychologist Ellen McGrath, one great way to raise your self-esteem is ask someone else hold you accountable–like a career coach or someone from your social network–because you’ll feel obligated to follow through with your plan.

Another way? Fake it! Lois Frankel swears feigning confidence will not only make you look more effective to your superiors (which can mean a raise or promotion) but it can lead to a real self-esteem boost. What it does is trick your mind into making certain behaviors second nature, and pretty soon, they will be.

A third trick is to speak up – but keep it short: the first few people to speak up at a meeting are seen as more self confident than the others. But remember that women in general use too many words to soften their message and end up looking like they lack confidence. Cut your word count by 25% and present the most important pieces of information first.

And a fourth tip: take on more challenges at work. Get out of your comfort zone. You’ll discover that fear can’t stop you. You’ll also show your superiors that you’re confident and possess leadership capabilities. Remember, nothing boosts self-esteem like a track record of success. And if you’re worried about failing, don’t be. Every successful businessperson has failed at one point or another. Most have failed many times. The difference is they’ve gotten back up and started over. And you can too.


About the author

Sophie Huss is the Global Director of Talent Acquisition & Training at Arkadin HQ in Paris. She has many years of in-depth experience in strategic and operational Marketing & HR in international environments. Fond of new technologies and digital transformation, Sophie uses her strong competences in digital marketing and lead generation to drive Human Resources (HR) to the digital world. In Digital Recruitment, that means employer branding, lead generation techniques applied to talent acquisition, central in-house talent acquisition organization, hiring processes, and deploying new HR Internal Systems, such as an Applicant Tracking System. For Learning & Development, it means developing onboarding and learning paths by job families, and deploying a Learning Management System (LMS) and global training programs. Building the Digital Workplace around the three pillars of Lifestyle, Workspace, and Tech Services is central to her philosophy, in order to transform and streamline Arkadin’s candidate and employee experience and lifecycle.

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