My wife turned to me and said, “I respectfully disagree.” We were discussing self-esteem. It turned out that we both actually DID agree with each other. We just had a different approach to the topic. No one gets a prize for just showing up. Showing up is your job.
And, sometimes we need a cheerleader in our corner, someone to remind us that we can do it. That’s different than being given a prize for just trying. If you get in the game, I’ll cheer you on. If you win, I’ll celebrate that win. If you don’t win, I’ll remind you that you’re capable of figuring it out and help you strategize for how to do better.
That’s different than telling you that you’re wonderful just for even having the dream of maybe wanting to try to put your toe in the water sometime soon maybe kind of.
Welcome to this week’s Wednesdays With Wayne!
No, I’m not a big fan of entitlement. I’m not a big fan of participation prizes. You know what, here’s a great analogy. I’ve run a few half-marathons. The people who start out don’t get medals for just showing up in their running gear. The people who come in first, second, and third get special medals. The people who cross the finish line are acknowledged with a participation medal. I got in the race, I ran my 13.1, and I got a medal for crossing the finish line.
It’s important to be acknowledged for having done the work. And, that’s actually what people specifically sign up for. We race, at our own pace, to get across the finish line. But showing up in the running gear or posing with the new shoes and shiny spandex doesn’t get you the medal. Getting sweaty does.
Showing up AT work doesn’t get you the medal. Doing the job doesn’t get you extra recognition. Doing what you agreed to do and then doing a bit more – that will get you the recognition you deserve.
My wife and I agreed that there is a HUGE difference between self-esteem and entitlement. And this brings the discussion to you. I believe that it’s our job to grow young people into independent individuals who can get through the tough stuff in the face of adversity. Our job is NOT about growing narcissists. And that’s where the self-esteem movement took a left turn.
Self-Esteem is born from learning that you are capable of figuring things out. You can get through the hard times. Fall seven times and get up eight. Learn each time. Fail forward.
When our daughter was in junior high school facing the “mean girls,” we taught her something that served her well. She came home telling us that the other kids called at her, “you’re weird.” Two key lessons were given to her: 1) What others think about you is none of your business, and 2) say “Thank You.” Doing that took the power back and allowed her to rise above what was supposed to be an insult. When she realized that she was, in fact, a stand-out kid, she became impossible to ignore. And now, in college, she’s navigating the path really well.
So check your self-esteem. Can you recognize that you need to do the work (not just show up to the work, but actually do it) to get the recognition? Can you remember that you are capable of getting through the hard stuff and that you, if you think about it, actually learned a lot from the times you struggled.
You made it here, right? I mean, you’re the oldest you’ve ever been in this lifetime, right?
When you KNOW that, that’s self-esteem. That’s what you teach to others, okay? That every individual has the ability to figure things out. That the challenges are different for each one of us. And that no one knows what anyone else’s challenges are. AND, that it takes more than just wanting a medal to get one.
What is your next level? Who are you willing to become to get there? Can you do it? Of course you can! Might you need help along the way? It’s likely. Get a coach or advisor with a perspective that you don’t have!
Keep making your magic™!
~ Dr P ~