by Morton Patterson
Graeme has worked in the same role for the past 15 years. He is technical, creative and very conscientious, and has been instrumental in creating an application that will transform the way in which his organisation delivers a core aspect of their business. This change will automate what is a hugely labor-intensive operation and will impact how they do business in the future. It will also mean that certain roles will no longer be needed.
What Graeme is not aware of, however, is his value; he lacks the confidence and awareness of the crucial role he has played in developing the new system and the impact it will have on the company’s future.
Knowing Your Value is an emotional subject, and when I ask this question people are often confused as to how to answer. It is easy to identify when you don’t feel valued, respected, or appreciated, but knowing your value is somewhat different.
But what exactly is knowing your value? Is it having a positive self-esteem? Is it knowing your worth and being able to identify all of your positive qualities? I’m not sure.
In my view, knowing your value and self-worth are inextricably linked. Self-worth is defined as “the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person.” I think that is one part of it, but the other aspect is being able to understand how much of a difference you have made in any given situation with the contribution you have made.
Over dinner recently, I asked my partner: Do you know your value in this relationship? She initially said no. But when we talked it through, and I highlighted a number of situations where her presence made a significant difference, she could then see her value.
In this short piece, I would like to outline seven things that can indicate you know your value:
Self-Worth Value #1: You have positive self-esteem.
You believe in and like yourself. Self-esteem is confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. You are comfortable with who you are — your weight, height, and everything that makes and represents you. You are confident in the work you deliver and your sense of professionalism. You like and have a great relationship with people. I think that without positive self-esteem it would be difficult to know your value.
Self-Worth Value #2: You recognise the difference you make.
When you know your value, you will confidently approach a negotiation with full belief in your knowledge, skills, and experience and the difference you can make. For example if you help a client introduce a new process within their organisation, you are not too consumed by the process used but in how much they have benefited. Have they had an increase in sales or productivity or have they saved money? Or it might be that you’re the main carer for a disabled or elderly relative and your presence and support is invaluable.
Self-Worth Value #3: You see yourself as a peer.
In any given situation, knowing your value means feeling that you are an equal with anyone you interact with: clients, bosses, colleagues, or friends. You are not a supplicant. Nor do you feel privileged to be with someone or to work in a particular type of organisation. You have a personal sense of value and deservedness and assert yourself as an equal in personal and business relationships.
Self-Worth Value #4: You do not undercharge for your services.
Quite often out of fear of losing business or the desire to win more business, people will undercharge for their services. This is a classic situation where they end up doing much more than they’re paid to do. But, somehow, in a desire to prove themselves, these people still feel that they are not doing enough in relation to how much they are being paid. This can set a precedent which could be hard to remove. I recall many years ago driving to a client site and deep inside I was unhappy and annoyed. This was because I was hugely undercharging and unhappy with myself for continually doing so.
Self-Worth Value #5:You are clear about your values.
You know your boundaries. You are clear about what is acceptable behavior, how you like to be treated and spoken to, and you have the courage to speak out when necessary. You don’t need external validation to prove your value — instead, you have an internal compass of what is right and wrong.
Self-Worth Value #6: You are engaged in work that is exciting and fulfilling.
When you are involved in work that is fulfilling as well as financially rewarding, you are more inclined to work with even greater commitment. I believe that when you love what you do, you are prepared to do more and to become more.
Self-Worth Value #7: You believe that you are good enough.
When you pitch for new business, you believe that you have sufficient experience and have the qualifications, case studies, and testimonials to back them up. You don’t need another certification, course, degree, or further experience for validation before you feel you are good enough. You simply are.
Some of these indicators may resonate with you and others may not, but, in my view, being clear about your value leads to a greater sense of clarity and confidence about who you are and what you stand for. This can be in your personal life as well as in business. This confidence will be reflected in how you interact with people, deliver your service, and in the fees you charge or the salary you earn. People who are confident and believe in themselves stand out.
Here is a suggestion; for the next seven days, use the above list and write down how many ways you value yourself. Be honest. From your list select an area where you may not feel valued or would like to change, and ask yourself this question: If I valued myself more, what would I do in this situation? Who would I be and what would be the first step I would take in asserting my self-worth? The purpose of this exercise it to encourage you to recognise the qualities that lie within you and the areas that you need to work on.
As a client of mine recently commented, “By understanding our own value, we are able to add value to our clients and provide a better service to them.” Remind yourself every day that you are worthy and have value.