LEADERSHIP AND MOTIVATION
DAN PINK AND MOTIVATION

THE SELF ESTEEM QUESTION

I was recently on a coaching forum and found a question about self-esteem: what had readers seen of literature specifically about coaching to build self-esteem? The person asking the question was doing an MA on the topic, so great for him to get loads of helpful references. For me, however, it reminded me of the importance of not just reading about self-esteem, but thinking constructively about how we do build our clients’ self-esteem – or not?

I like to cite Nathaniel Brandon’s comment that self-esteem is the most powerful force in the universe! That certainly makes it pretty important. And of course there is general unanimity that one’s performance in life at anything is directly correlated with one’s level of self-esteem. Put crudely: the higher one’s level of self-esteem, the greater one’s level of performance.  But performance is not the end benefit – the better we perform, the more we enjoy life – in fact, enter the zone where time stops and we are fully absorbed with actually two things – the doing and the mastery. There is something incredibly satisfying – whether one has or has not got an audience – about performing at the level of complete mastery. The dancer at this point becomes the dance.

 

On a practical level, as a professional mentor, I frequently encounter issues of low self-esteem in some of my clients. When I do it is important to distinguish between the use of left and right brain tools. In short, for some people, it is enough to explain concepts and provide what might be termed logical exercises that enable them to move forward. These exercises can be very small steps indeed; in fact, the whole principle of kaisen suggests that working on very small steps has far more likelihood of succeeding than the big radical shifts.

 

Here is one, small, left brain tool that anybody can do. Fill the right side of your pocket with 10 small coins (in the UK 5p is ideal). I like to ensure they are all shiny although that isn’t essential. Then, during the course of the day, every time you think a positive thought about yourself, or correct a negative one with a positive substitution, transfer one coin across to the other side pocket. Aim to transfer all 10 during the course of the day. If that becomes easy, try to get all 10 transferred back again. The brilliance of this is that the small chinking of the coins reminds one to be positive and create positive self talk. It is also a very small step – seemingly inconsequential. Who could not do it?

 

However, for some, the problem is more deep-rooted and these ‘left brain’ activities and ideas simply will not work. Right brain, holistic, tools are necessary. These can include things like NLP, especially when weighted with hypnotherapy techniques. I personally prefer image streaming, meditation techniques, and EFT - these are astonishingly powerful ways of impacting the self esteem. What this is really about of course is aligning the sub-conscious mind to support the rational mind - and if it doesn't, there is not much chance of progress.

Out of ten, how would you rate your self-esteem? (10 is high, 1 is low). Does your self-esteem need a boost? Remember, what we focus on, grows in our experience.

James

 

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