Elizabeth Lombardo Ph.D.

Better Than Perfect


How You Can Be More Confident

Here's ONE thing you can do to boost your unconditional self-worth.

Posted Jan 27, 2017

Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In a previous article, we talked about the difference between conditional self-worth and unconditional self-worth. Conditional self-worth refers to believing in yourself under certain circumstances. Unconditional self-worth occurs when you believe in yourself for internal (rather than external) reasons.

There are many ways to boost unconditional self-worth, such as doing a values assessment. Another way is to complete the following exercise:

(1) Identify someone you look up to: a role model, mentor, hero or heroine. This person may be alive or deceased. They may be real, fictional, a famous figure or a person in your life.

(2) Now, list the three qualities you most admire about this person.

The qualities that you listed are, in fact, qualities that you also admire in yourself. And when you apply these qualities in your life, your unconditional self-worth grows.

(3) The final step is to apply these characteristics in your everyday life. So, for each quality you identified that you admire in this person, come up with five ways you can practice it in your life.

Here is a form you can use to make it easier.

Here is an example from my book “Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love”:

Gary started seeing me after he received some complaints from his employees. Gary got the job done, no doubt about it, but, as his team described, “He makes us miserable in the process.”

Gary was both an asset and a liability to his company. Though he produced the highest revenues, his managerial methods also incurred the highest turnover rate. His bosses were tired of the effort and expense of replacing the string of employees who couldn’t work with him.

“I have to push them hard,” Gary said about his staff. “We have to get good results. We cannot fail. Failure is not an option.” Gary had strong conditional self-worth: He was only good if his team won, if he won.

To help Gary continue to succeed while at the same time cease the berating of his team, we decided to address his conditional self-worth.  Working with the values exercise, Gary identified the following:

Person I admire: legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden

Top three qualities I admire about this person:

1. He led by example. I admire his leadership.

2. He continued to learn, despite being so successful. I admire his love of learning.

3. He never gave up. I admire his perseverance.

Next, Gary identified five ways he could apply each value into his own life.

Characteristic: Leading by example

1. Have lunch with one staff member each week, asking for input about how to improve our team.

2. Elicit 360-degree feedback annually.

3. Hold quarterly “town” meetings.

4. Before asking someone to do something, ask myself, “Would I do this myself?”

5. Openly express my appreciation for everyone’s hard work.

Once Gary started applying these concepts in his work life, he strengthened his own unconditional self-worth, which allowed him to be more open to other people’s differences. He learned a great deal by truly listening to what his staff had to say rather than just telling them what to do. With this better understanding of his staff’s strengths, he could leverage them to greater benefit for all.

Now it is your turn! Click here to download your form to help you cultivate your unconditional self-worth. You deserve it!