Has something ever rattled your confidence? Because you’re human, the answer is likely yes. But the real question is whether that “something” was rationally or irrationally linked to your insecurities.  

I woke up one morning (ironically it was International Women’s Day) and marched into the bathroom and stepped on the scale. I glance at the number in sheer shock. My immediate reaction was, I can’t speak in front of a large room! I can’t teach leadership and work-life wisdom to others! Why would anyone listen to me?

Although I work hard to take care of my health, lately I’ve been having health issues. And although I exercise regularly and try to fuel my body with food that makes me feel great (and yes, thin crust pizza makes me feel great), recently, I have been dealing with a health  issue that has caused my body to gain weight. 

The good news: I’m learning about the issue and understanding what I need to change to protect my health.

The bad news: I discovered the weight gain right before I was about to embark on two months of travelling for work and speaking to large rooms full of people. 

And that’s how I discovered irrationally linked connections. 

It would have made sense for this change in weight to make me feel uncomfortable with the way my clothing fit. What didn’t make sense was for this change to make me question my 25-year career, my knowledge, and fundamentally, my value.

In seconds, I was tipping my own scale of value. And I’m ashamed to admit it. I was wondering if these organizations would still want me to speak to their teams. Even worse, I was asking myself if I deserved to be the one in front of them. 

It was absolutely diabolical and insidious, yet very common to so many.

We attach our value as professionals (and sometimes, even humans) to things that have no effect on how well we do our jobs or how much value we bring to our businesses. It can be looking too old (hello, grey hair!) or looking too young; it can be what school we went to decades ago (Ivy League vs. community college); it can be the car we drive; the clothes we wear; sometimes, it’s whether or not we’re married or have children. 

All of these things have no bearing on how we show up in the workplace. They don’t affect our ability to do our job or the experience we bring to the table. Yet, somehow we connect the unconnected dots and let them rattle our confidence. 

Can you relate to any of this? Has this ever happened to you? 

If so, here’s what I did and what you can do to manage this feeling the next time it rears its ugly head:

Find your worth 

Where do you find feelings of worthiness? Where and from whom do you draw correlations about your qualities, the value of your personhood and leadership, and your ability to influence those in your circles and our world? 

When you think about your value, whose face do you see and whose voice is the loudest? Listen to those people to help quiet the irrational voice in your head. 

Remember to disconnect the dots

Do you have something on which you judge your value, your leadership value, and your contribution that doesn’t make sense? Recognize that and try to pry those things apart. 

For me, it was all about how I allowed this weight gain to affect my sense of self-worth. And from there, being mindful of the journey I’ve taken to add incredible value to my clients (which was never contingent on my pant size). 

Do you have any insecurities that impact the way you view your capability? I’d love to challenge you to explore them. I know I’m not alone in this part of our collective journey.

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