March 2004
  Pure Agony

Hello Again Everyone!

Here I am again – we’re already in March and things are very busy. So what have I been doing?

Well, last week I gave a Masterclass at a Business Link Exhibition in Sandown Park, Esher. The venue was big because there was an exhibition going on at the same time. Primarily designed to help women in business for themselves or who aspired to run their own businesses, my Masterclass was entitled “Creating Excellence – Maximising Self-esteem”. Catchy title huh?

There turned out to be about 40 people in the audience, most of whom were women. I had 1 and _ hours to help everyone understand what self-esteem was, how to protect it, how people became successful in life and what they could do to become the same. It was fun! So that you can follow some of the messages, here’s a couple of excerpts from what I tried to teach.

Self esteem is the estimation we each have of ourselves. It’s critical in the process of achieving success because if you think you can do something even when you’ve never met it before, you’re infinitely more likely to try it because you’re telling yourself you can. I liken it to the fabric on an umbrella. I literally show people an umbrella: -

If the fabric of the umbrella is self-esteem then it’s there for protection. To protect you against experiences that may damage the rest of how you see yourself. The spokes of the umbrella are the structure, they hold it up and hold it together. In the metaphor, each spoke represents some aspect of how you see yourself. These are as follows: -

· Self-awareness = how well do you know yourself, your moods, your strengths
· Self-belief = how much conviction do you have about yourself
· Self-confidence = how you project yourself to others
· Self-worth = how much value you feel you have
· Self-image = what you see in the mirror and whether you like it
· Self-respect = how much do you like yourself and what will you tolerate

It is not so important what the separate aspects of self are and whether you agree with the definitions, my research and study suggests that this metaphor works for two simple reasons. The first is that like an umbrella, if you can recognise when the fabric’s torn and repair it, you do not get as wet as if you leave it. Leaving the fabric to further tear exacerbates the damage and like a series of dominoes, it starts to affect the rest. In real terms, this is like receiving a piece of criticism that you believe to be true and letting it affect your confidence. It doesn’t just affect our confidence at work though, it upsets you and furnishes self-doubt in your personal life, your relationships or with friends. This is the effect damage to the spokes can do.

Secondly, self-esteem is at the top for a reason, it is more important than all the rest. It is the combination of the other aspects of self that make the umbrella work. If you have self-doubts, then try to identify which aspect of yourself is truly affected and work hard to target that area for repair. Do not let either the fabric or a spoke prevent the whole umbrella from working.

You have a choice to erect an umbrella. It does not need to be up all the time but it helps to know you own one!

The other point I made of value is this one: -

Successful people learn that when they act on something it is by planning it first. Once planned, they act on their idea, review it and change or modify it if needed. What they get right in this circle, is that they put in a bit which most of us miss out. THEY REWARD THEMSELVES!.

It’s not that this needs to be a financial reward, all you need to do is sit down with a blank piece of paper and write the top 10 things you most enjoy doing. Prioritise your list and the next time you achieve something you value, plan to do one of the things on that list. The next time after that, do another and so on. Reward yourself and your brain connects reward with action! Simple isn’t it?

The more you reward yourself with something you enjoy, the more motivated you become. This is an important connection with self-esteem. It begins to rectify self-doubt and build a positive self-image. These are powerful tools.

If you want to know more about self-esteem, I have an audio tape which is available for purchase on my website shop. It’s called “Tap in to your Potential – how to maximise your Self-esteem” and you can find it on There’s a full page explanation of what’s on the tape so log on and have a look.

Best wishes to all of you,

Sue Firth

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