Increasing Self Worth
In part one of Mindfulness in Business I listed several significant benefits to business, if principals, management and employees of a business were committed to living mindfully. The first benefit I listed read: You have an established sense of your worth. You cannot sustain being mindful if you lack self-worth. Here is the simple explanation for that statement. In Western Mindfulness, mindfulness is defined as remembering in each moment, that there is a self-honouring (loving) option or alternative. Choosing a self-loving alternative will only happen if you know that you are worth it, and therefore, act more self-lovingly. You won’t choose a more self-loving alternative if you don’t see the value in it. That value being YOU!
Most people take two approaches to dealing with a lack of self-worth. They either become actively engaged in proving their worth, or they avoid anything that might bring their perceived lack of worth into focus. It’s an established understanding that the value we see in ourselves as adults comes off the back of the value that we saw in ourselves by the age of seven. What that means is that our adult-self, in terms of worth, is the puppet whose strings are being pulled by a seven-year-old puppeteer. From my own experience I learnt that, no matter what my adult experience was, and I have had plenty in my life as evidence that I truly had great worth, the seven-year-old was blinkered to it, only able to believe its story of poor self-worth.
That means, as an adult we keep pushing ourselves harder to establish our worth, or inversely, we withdraw so as not to be put in the spotlight. In the case of the former, some employers might think that would be the ideal employee, someone driven to prove their worth. They would have KPI’s up to… and will do anything in their power to avoid being seen as worth-less. Those who are more keen to avoid the spotlight are the ones a business can rely on to turn up every week, and do their job consistently. Often, these people are afraid to think outside of the square, functioning habitually, and that is all you will get.
I call this filter of the seven-year-old, ‘The Story’. The Story is our rudder. It controls every decision we make, and if, as most of us do, we function 95% subconsciously, then The Story sits at the foundation to our programming. If you don’t know what your Story is, then you are living habitually. In other words, you are being controlled by a form of fear that has you believe you are not good enough. In addition, you have created an automatic lifestyle that minimises your exposure to that fear. Of course, the effort it takes to do that is exhausting. The addictions, the strategising, the judgements, the control and any other way we can avoid feeling the fear, is unsustainable. The result, is typically one or more of the lifestyle diseases.
I know – because I did it. Obesity, depression, divorce and bankruptcy were the consequences of me trying to live a life where I worked hard at proving my worth, my value. Exhaustion, burnout, poor work/life balance and boredom are typical of the dis-eases people experience who have found their Story coping strategies unsustainable. We know that this is an epidemic, because lifestyle diseases are at unprecedented levels globally. This means that a high percentage of staff will be dealing with these conditions, which ultimately will impact on their capacity for engagement and productivity. Not only will that impact the bottom line, but the cost of training new staff will also have a significant effect.
Ok, enough of the doom and gloom. So how will mindfulness and self-worth make a difference. When someone possesses self-worth, they are more likely to make more self-honouring/loving choices. Physically, they will take more care with their diet and exercise, because it is the self loving thing to do. They will be much less likely to use stimulants like drugs and alcohol, for the same reason. They will make healthy sleep patterns a priority. This means your staff would be less inclined to take off sick days and their heightened state of health will support clarity of thinking.
When someone has self-worth, their values change. They will be more inclined to want work/life balance. Sure they may work less hours (no over-time unless absolutely necessary) but the hours they do work are substantially more productive, which is equivalent to someone working longer hours, but healthier. More about this in my next blog.
Alchemy was the ability to find the gold in the lead. The key to resolving The Story, is much the same. Yes, The Story was the set of beliefs that emerged from the formative fears, but it also afforded us a range of skills that helped us avoid those fears. Therein lies the gold. Invariably you became good at a whole range of things, which made it possible for you to survive. I refer to these skills as, ‘the gifts you gave yourself to serve a higher purpose’. In working with hundreds of clients over the last decade, I have witnessed people identify the gold and find ways to use those skills and abilities to bless the lives of the people with whom they come in contact, in both their personal and professional/work arenas.
Seeing the gold in the dross helps to establish a sense of self-worth. Entertaining the possibility that these skills could be used to serve others, makes it possible for someone to see themselves in a new light. Suddenly they have a way to make the world a better place. I have seen doctors, nurses, builders, construction workers, healers, engineers, home-makers, unemployed, business executives, and the list goes on, who on recognising their story, were free to live a life they loved. Free to be aware of more self-loving choices that would better serve them, better serve others they came in contact with, as well as the planet.
In the extreme, a nurse/nun becomes Mother Teresa, a doctor becomes Patch Adams and a politician becomes Mahatma Ghandi. That is mindfulness. When we are more aware of our worth we can be mindful, and from that, more purposeful.
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