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  • The Self Esteem Trap

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    trap

    Results are important, but you are not your results.

    And there is a great risk in attaching your self-esteem to your results.

    The risk is that if you allow your self-esteem to be determined by the results you are experiencing, then it will always be volatile as it fluctuates with the inevitable ups and downs of life.

    It becomes a self-esteem trap because when results are coming in, you feel great about yourself. But when they are not, you feel terrible.

    Ultras performers don’t want that. They are much more interested in consistency. And they have the perspective of knowing there are good days and challenging days.

    Instead of allowing their confidence to ebb and flow, they have developed a different strategy than most people.

    They put their self-esteem into their work habits rather than their production.

    They derive their confidence from focusing on things they can control rather than the things they can’t.

    Results in most walks of life are things that we can influence, but they often aren’t things that are fully in our control.

    It’s not solely in our control as to who wins and who loses, who buys and who doesn’t, how certain things are valued, or the exact financial balance that is left at the end.

    You don’t want to have extreme highs and lows. You want steady, consistent, positive direction.

    In addition to volatility, the other weakness of having self-esteem tied to results is it causes us to under perform.

    Because when results are poor we often feel undeservedly bad. And it affects the confidence by which we work and thereby lowers the effectiveness of our work and the likelihood we will produce positive results.

    Similarly, when results are pouring in and we are “winning” we also need to be careful about feeling uncharacteristically proud of ourselves. Positive results can be a source of complacency for someone who has their self-esteem tied to their performance. Not to mention that sometimes results come in by way of luck, circumstance, or positive changes in the market rather than by way of our own efforts.

    The best baseline then is to put your self-esteem into your work habits rather than your results.

    You want to be a person who lays it all out on the line every day.

    You do your dead level best regardless of whether or not the results are coming in.

    You are consistently and dogmatically focused on doing what you know how to do and controlling what you can control.

    You know that the challenging days are just a part of the journey to great performance and that the great days are fleeting and that they both come and go.

    But you have faith, and trust, and confidence that if you do your best, and you focus on simply putting in the work over and over each day, then over time you will win.

     

    Self-Discipline Strategist Rory Vaden’s book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller. As an award-winning entrepreneur and business leader, Rory Co-Founded Southwestern Consulting™, a multi-million dollar global consulting practice that helps clients in more than 27 countries drive educated decisions with relevant data.  Additionally, as the founder of the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline (CSSD), his insights on improving self-discipline, overcoming procrastination and enhancing productivity have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc and Success Magazine.