A surge of pleasure coursed through me as I read the invitation to speak for about twenty minutes to a regional group of fellow journalists. My appearance would be through the courtesy of my employer.
Imagine though, how shocked I was when my boss asked me to decline the invitation because of a conflict. I told him there was no conflict, that the date was open and that being gone those three days wouldn’t affect my workload. He gave me the same answer, so I pushed him even harder. That’s when he told me I wasn’t mature enough to make such a presentation.
Here I was, thirty years old, a college graduate, military veteran, with almost five years experience in my profession, including almost three solidly successful years with the present company. Yet, I wasn’t mature enough to make a short and simple informational presentation to my peers?
I put up more resistance by explaining that had I not been qualified, I never would’ve been invited. He waved me away and closed the conversation by instructing me to write the letter and show it to him before it was mailed.
I turned and had taken only a few steps toward my office when it flashed through my mind that regardless of how challenging and enjoyable my job there had been, it was time for me to leave. Logic said that if I stayed, my “maturity” would surely be questioned again. Five months later, I was offered and took a job that promised and eventually delivered many opportunities for professional growth.
I’ve had to defend my self-worth many times since then, but never with such serious consequences. I suspect you’ve had similar situations when you either stood up and defended what you were or you caved in only to later regret having done so.
None of this has anything to do with ego or being overqualified. Rather, it goes to the heart of the trust and genuine confidence you have in yourself. After all, if you as creator and curator of your worth are honest, you know what value you can promise and deliver.
Indeed, self-worth is the most private and valuable of all your attributes, the reason you hurt so much when it’s assaulted by jealous people attempting to drag you down to their level. Bow to such demands and you’ll discover painfully and regretfully that once you’re in that hole, climbing out of it will be much more difficult.
Accept the cards you already have and play them to the best of your ability. Each new opportunity will add still more to your sense of worth as you strive to perform at an even higher standard of quality.
Also consider this: With the internet, all of us are everywhere out there. Location and situation are only the beginning of what everyone knows or claims to know about us. No one, however, knows your self-worth as completely as you do or can assess it as accurately as you can.
Surprising, however, is how easy it is to become unaware of drifting in the wrong direction. A couple of years ago, I was conversing with a person I’d met less than five minutes before. At one point and without any thought, I blurted out that because of my ignorance I’d never be able to do “X,” only to receive this response: “Don’t ever put yourself down like that. Speak from your strengths, guard your sense of self-worth as if it were pure gold, because that’s exactly what it is.”
All of us are learners. Some are faster, some are slower. Some will allow themselves to be compromised as they travel their mortal path. Here’s hoping, however, you will always choose to honestly believe in yourself and in your self-worth.
That’s all you have that you can truly call your very own.