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According to legend, many battles were fought over the beautiful Helen of Troy. Unfortunately, Helen was lost after one of the battles. When the army returned to Greece, Helen was not on any of the ships.
Menelaus went out to find her, at great personal peril. He finally found her in one of the seaport villages. She had been suffering from amnesia and forgetting who she was, she had stooped to the lowest possible level. She was living as a prostitute.
Menelaus found her in rags, dirt, shame, and dishonor. He looked at her and cried, “Helen.” Her head turned. “YOU are Helen of Troy!” he said. And with those words, her back straightened and the royal look came back. She had been redeemed.
You may be a bit like the lost Helen of Troy, as well. You may have forgotten the greatness inside of you. Or you may have never realized it in the first place.
Well, I’m here to tell you that that is no way to live. Because you will never rise above your own self-esteem. If you have a miserable or a mediocre level of self-esteem, you will experience a similar level of achievement and happiness. And if you have a high, unstoppable self-esteem, it can take you to the top.
To build that kind of winning self-esteem, start with these tips. More to follow in next week’s Tuesday Tip.
► 1. Abandon perfectionism.
At Walt Disney Productions, they say, “We are striving for magic, not perfection.” Because they know that “The cost of perfection will drive you out of business.”
Similarly, the cost of perfectionism is the driving away of your self-esteem … because it’s not possible to be perfect. Perfection is NOT a human attribute. Only God can make that claim.
So the more you try to be perfect, the more you realize your inability to be perfect. You might even label yourself as a failure, which is a far cry from self-esteem.
To have an unstoppable self-esteem, you must accept the fact you’ll never be perfect. You must accept the fact you are not finished making mistakes. You will fail again. And you’ve got to be patient with yourself when you make mistakes, fail, or do really stupid things.
So abandon your perfectionism, if you have any. Instead…
► 2. Strive for excellence
Read this carefully. Don’t misunderstand me. Some of my clients think that I when advocate “abandoning perfectionism” I’m basically saying they should let go of all their standards. They should “do just enough to get by” and settle for work that is “good enough.”
Not at all! There is no way you can do the bare minimum or turn in sloppy work and feel good about yourself. Self-esteem comes when you know you’re doing your best. It may not be perfect, but you know it is excellent.
That’s what Carmen Fish learned at my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program. She writes,
“Your Journey made a huge change in my self-esteem. One example, I do not like speaking in front of a group of people, and in the past, I would not ever consider doing so even if someone asked me to do so. Because I knew I couldn’t do it perfectly.
Well, I was recently asked to share a few words at a farewell party. I agreed to do it. That may not seem like a huge achievement to some; however, for me to even agree to this was a milestone. I envisioned myself in this situation, rehearsing what I would like to say, using a strong clear voice. It went so well. In fact, it was excellent. And my direct supervisor commented that he can see a change in me, which reaffirms that I am applying the lessons I learned at your Journey program.”
My next and last Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program for 2020 will be November 12th and 13th in St. Louis. And whether you want to attend live onsite or virtually at home, don’t miss this opportunity.
So strive for excellence, not perfectionism. I like the way one poster puts it, “Success is not beating everyone else, because there will always be someone faster, smarter, better, stronger, and wiser.
The only thing that matters is raising your own bar. It’s only important to continue to beat your own previous best.”
► 3. Tell yourself “I’m going to make it.”
Whatever is pulling you down, right now or in the future, you’ve got to say to yourself, “I’m going to make it, no matter what!” You may have to say it thousands of times, but you’ve got to say it until every fiber of your being believes it.
After all, you’re always going to have problems. But it is your response to those problems will make or break you and your self-esteem. That’s why American blues singer and guitarist L. C. Robinson said, “Things may happen around you and things may happen to you, but the only things that really count are things that happen in you.”
I’m going to make it. That’s what you have to tell yourself when your spouse leaves, when your job is terminated by COVID, creditors are banging at your door, or a thousand other problems land on your doorstep.
That’s what Nelson Mandela, the late former Prime Minister of South Africa, had to say to himself every day of the 27-1/2 years he was in prison.
That’s what poet Maya Angelou had to say – as a rape victim who was physically abused and pregnant at age sixteen.
That’s what Olympic speed skater Dan Jansen had to say after his sister died and he fell time and time again in front of millions of people.
That’s what Walt Disney had to say after he filed for bankruptcy seven times and suffered two nervous breakdowns. I’m going to make it.
That’s what J. C. Penney had to say when, at age 56, he was $7 million in debt and committed to a mental institution. I’m going to make it. And he did, living to age 92 with $2 billion in assets.
They all made it, against the odds, because they all used this strategy to build an unstoppable self-esteem that took them to the top.
Action Question: What are you going to do this week to build your self-esteem?
Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 1056– How to build unstoppable self-esteem that takes you to the top