Self-Acceptance: The Gift Most Neglect Themselves
My job involves a great deal of personal interactions. Whether it’s by phone, meeting, or email, you can bet that I’m talking to someone. And that’s just my everyday reality. I also have to deal with interacting with others on a larger scale, such as leading professional development seminars, teaching staff training classes, or speaking at a business conference. I’m confident that for every person out there, there’s a meaningful role within the workforce they’re destined to occupy. To me, it’s not a romantic idea; it’s simply a fact. But, sadly, a vast majority of those tens of thousands of people I speak to are crippled by the same negative mindset that’s keeping them from achieving their full career potentials.
Let’s face it – we’re a bit behind in our beliefs. We were taught to believe that a college degree would bring us instant success, that our relatives know best when it comes to our next career steps, and that if you work hard at your current company, you’ll be safe from cutbacks. Our parents and our parents’ parents have perpetuated these beliefs – beliefs that, in one form or another, were once true. Traits that made us stand out and challenged those precious traditions were suffocated by our desperate desire to fit in and to please mom and dad. But what most people don’t realize is that the most innovative leaders in business crave those differences.
And after spending 22 years learning, we’re left with a whole lot of baggage. “Why aren’t I more popular? Why aren’t I athletic? Why can’t I see eye to eye with my parents?” It’s the same high school bull@#$% that sets the foundation for how we view ourselves in the work world. Suddenly, those insecurities translate into “What if I don’t have the skills to do the job? What if I fail?” This poisonous line of thinking gets in the way of securing major opportunities and growing our skillsets. But hey, at least we can recite Homer’s The Odyssey and point out some arbitrary themes in Shakespeare’s plays. At the very least, it could help score some points on Jeopardy.
In all seriousness, I urge you to recognize your accomplishments and potential, and ultimately learn to truly value yourself. After all, ‘tis the season to give thanks, yourself included. In order to build a sustainable, fulfilling career, you must change your thoughts, which will in turn change your actions and, consequently, your outcomes.
HOW TO STAY TRUE TO YOUR CAREER DREAMS
It’s not too good to be true. Too many people believe that there’s no good-paying job that corresponds to what they love to do. If you’re a great talker and love dealing with people, guess what? There are jobs for you. Are you a puzzle maniac, a video game fanatic, or a Photoshop master? You guessed it – there are plenty of jobs that require those exact skills. In fact, job creation is at an all-time high, but most people have no idea what’s out there. Take a break from Facebook to do some research. Once you find some viable options, set small, manageable goals and celebrate every tiny win.
Be your own best advocate. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Negative self-talk will get you nowhere. Stop looking to outside forces to solve your career problems. Take matters into your own hands, seek out guidance from qualified professionals, and map out a career plan you can commit to.
Admit to your mistakes and shortcomings. We all have them so why be afraid to own who you are – the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good news is, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Being mindful of qualities or inefficacies that are holding you hack is the first step towards self-acceptance. Plus, employers respect and appreciate candidates who are forthcoming about areas they fall short in.
Remember that you ARE worthy and only you can give yourself the gift of self-acceptance. I know it’s corny, but I couldn’t care less because it’s the absolute truth.