Do you know your worth?
If you were to ask others what your strengths were, what would they say? I’m guessing you’re about as likely to ask as I am to walk on the moon.
Here’s another question
What’s your response when you’re given a compliment?
If it’s about your clothes, it’s highly likely you’ll bat it away and say “oh this thing, I got it for £3.50 in Primark”.
Or if it’s about how you look, get embarrassed and walk away?
How often do we compliment people for who they are, and how would we react to that?
Getting used to praise – it is a skill
We’re part of a culture that doesn’t do praise well, and therefore doesn’t accept it well either. I’m not proposing we all strut around like an American athlete that just won Olympic gold (although there’s something lovely about Simone Biles’ style) not meaning to offend any Americans, this is just a long way from the British style. The truth is we could all do with hearing a bit more about our value, and definitely learn to own it.
If we don’t know and own our value, there’s a very real impact. We won’t get it! We won’t be paid the money we deserve, we won’t get the promotions we deserve, and we won’t get the recognition we deserve.
Link to gender pay gap
The most recent reports show that the UK gender pay gap is 18% (Institute for Fiscal Studies) and increases after children. It has also been found that male managers are 40% more likely to be promoted than female managers. Of course there are a lot of factors that contribute to this, which I won’t be going into here, and it’s also clear men and women are very different in the way they view their value. Studies have shown that women will only go for a job when they have 100% of the criteria, whereas men only need 60% to feel qualified.
A 2006 survey found that while 80% of women felt underpaid, two-thirds had never asked for more money – and those who had, described it as one of the most stressful things they’d ever done.
Coaching women and men has also shown me, albeit anecdotally, that women will put their heart and souls into doing a great job and will await recognition (even non-financial), whereas men are much more likely to be open about their achievements.
So what’s going on? And even more importantly, what can we do about it?
Women are trained throughout childhood to be perfect. Getting it right is more important than getting it done. Being a ‘good girl’ is paramount. Failure is bad. And then if we dare to speak up? We will likely be labelled ‘full of ourselves’ or ‘a bitch’. I think this is why Simone Biles is such a great role model. She owns how good she is without fear.
“I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles”
Our inner critic is always ready to pull us down when it thinks we’re getting a bit ‘above our stations’. This little voice inside us is an amalgam of all our lifetime’s critics, it’s controlled by our erratic, and not in the least bit logical, emotional brain. It’s purpose is to protect us from danger, but it can be a little over-zealous in this pursuit so tends to stop us from getting outside our comfort zone.
What we can do to know our worth
We need to do a bit of work on ourselves to become confident in our value, which will make it easier for others to see, and for us to talk about more comfortably.
Ask yourself what are you really good at, and write a list of everything, big and small. Be proud of that list.
Be brave enough to ask others what you’re good at, you’ll likely be surprised by what they’ve noticed
Do your lists match? Are there things you know you’re good at but go unnoticed? If you haven’t been brave enough to get the feedback, think about what you want to be known for, and ask yourself realistically is this what others see? If not, what can you do to change this?
Think about what you’re doing to highlight or demonstrate your strengths. Studies (and common sense) show, that when we get to use our strengths we perform better, we get better results (not just in the tasks where we use those strengths), and our overall happiness and well-being is higher.
The question now is, what can you do differently to make more of these strengths, and get more recognition for them?
Practise saying positive things about yourself. For every item on both of your lists, say out loud ‘I am good/ great at…’
If you don’t believe what you are good at, it will be difficult for others to see it. Keep doing this until you can say it without cringing and it actually becomes easy!
Self-belief is so important, when you believe it for yourself, it will radiate out in everything you do.
Practise accepting praise. When someone gives you a compliment, say ‘thank you’!
Give more feedback. Recognise others for the good stuff, it’s so important to put positivity out there. Be very specific ‘when you did X, it had an impact by Y’. It will give them a boost, they will get better at it, and you will feel great too! They will also be more likely to pay it forward.
Give yourself feedback. Every day capture 1-3 (or as many as you want) things that you did well that day. This will change your life, because it changes your brain and your being. Imagine reviewing yourself with a view of having done things well, instead of being critical. Your view of yourself will change if you do this regularly. Your brain will rewire so that you filter the world very differently…and shut up your inner critic to boot.
In the words of Simone:
“To go out there and prove what I can do has taught me a lot about who I am.”
And when you know you are brilliant, imagine what that will be.