Imagine this: You came to the meeting thoroughly prepared, ready to give your best. While giving your presentation, somebody cuts you suddenly in the middle, asking some silly questions. It could have been easy for you to throw a counter-punch, a silly answer. Trouble is, that silly person is your BOSS. What a tough situation!
So how do you stay calm, composed and maintain self esteem in a tough environment?
Have you ever played bowling? Or at least have been familiar with the game? It is normally played with ten pins arranged in an orderly fashion. The player then throws one ball at a time, hoping to knock down all ten with each throw.
Come with me to the wonderland of visualization . . . Let´s go to your favorite bowling alley and develop a strong self-esteem while playing mental bowling. In this world, you set the rules, and of course, play to win. Here we play with five balls and one pin, throwing the ball one-at-a-time and . . .
. . . all of a sudden you realized that you are the pin, and everyone else is holding the ball ready to be thrown at you. These balls will destroy your self esteem and break you down in ways you won´t even remember. Yes, you will be destroyed, but only if you let them. Bear in mind, this is your world, and you are here to win. Don´t let them destroy you, or get the best of you. You always have the option not to be hit.
So, which balls should you avoid?
Ball #1: Negative Environment
Be aware of "dog-eat-dog" theory where everyone else is fighting just to get ahead. There is too much politics in this type of environment. This is where non-appreciative people usually thrive, and the handwriting on the wall says; "When I am right, no one remembers. When I am wrong, no one forgets." No one appreciates your contributions even if you miss lunch or dinner, or stay up late just to finish your job. Most of the time you are left on your own - you get to work too much without getting help from people concerned.
If you can´t stay out of this, learn how to deal with it. Otherwise, it will ruin your self esteem. Be prudent to know that competition is at stake anywhere. Be healthy enough to compete, but in a healthy competition that is.
Ball #2: Other People´s Behavior
Bulldozers, brown nosers, gossipmongers, whiners, backstabbers, snipers, people walking wounded, controllers, naggers, complainers, exploders, patronizers, snuffers . . . all these types of people pose bad vibes for your self esteem, as well as your self improvement scheme. These are downers that tend to pull you into a quagmire of low morale and self-deprecation. Be aware, and beware.
Ball #3: Changing World
Everything is moving, changing, transforming. One must go with the change. You can´t be a square peg in a round hole! Change challenges our paradigms. It tests our flexibility, adaptability and modifies our way of thinking. A lot of people look at change as a restraining force. I would rather look at it as a catalyst for improvement. Change makes life difficult for awhile - it creates temporary stress necessary to compel us to move forward. Change is man´s twin factor. Without it, life has no meaning. Accept change as inevitable, and learn how to manage it well.
Ball #4: Things of the Past
It´s okay to cry and say "Ouch!" when we experience pain. But don´t allow painful experiences to create a mental cage of fear, which we often call by the name "trauma." It certainly grabs you by the tail and swings you around. Treat each failure and mistake as a lesson to be learned. Remember, there is no such thing as failure - only result. Keep this perspective in mind, and look at past mistakes with a triumphant eye, knowing you will never commit the same in the future.
Ball #5: Your Own View of the World
Look at what you´re looking at. Don´t wrap yourself up with all the negativities of the world. In building self esteem, you must learn how to make the best out of worst situations. While some react by building fortresses to protect them, others create bridges to connect. To which group do you belong?
Life Is What You Make It
You may notice there are those who are born negative thinkers, while others are born positive thinkers. WRONG. Being positive, and staying positive, is a choice - not an inborn talent. Sometimes you wonder why some people are born lucky, and at times you wonder why others are born at all. DON´T. You create your own luck. You brand your own life. Life is what you make it.
In life, it´s hard to get going, especially when the going gets hard - when events and people around pull you down. But this is not enough reason to quit. When one goes to battle, he does not go there as is, where is. One should prepare instead, by choosing the appropriate equipment, the right armory to bring for future use. It determines success, or negative consequence, during encounter in actual combat.
Life is just the same. Nobody comes into this world complete and endowed with all the best. We all start with specific handicaps, in our attitude, behavior, way of thinking. As you go through life, you are presented an array of options, and the power to choose is yours. You can choose to remain handicapped and mediocre, or you can decide to improve yourself and become excellent.
Building self esteem eventually leads to self improvement, once we start becoming responsible for who we are, what we do, and what we become. It´s like a flame that should gradually spread like a "bush fire," from inside-out. When we develop self esteem, we take control of our mission in life, the values we hold dear, and a character reflective of our personal integrity.