What happens on the inside determines what happens on the outside. When we don’t truly believe in our own worth, it’s harder to recognize our gifts, reach our potential and live purposeful lives. If you’re struggling to take meaningful action or are wearing yourself out with a never-ending task list, it’s time to look in the mirror and explore your feelings of worthiness. Today, I want to talk about why you’re worth it and how to overcome feelings of “not enough.”

What is worthiness?

The dictionary tells us that worthiness is about having “adequate or great merit, character, or value” or “commendable excellence.” 

We often see our own worthiness reflected in other people’s eyes. When it’s obvious someone else appreciates or loves us, we feel worthy. 

Why don’t we feel worthy?

While it feels great to see our own worthiness reflected in another person’s eyes, this is fleeting. When we (knowingly or unknowingly) let other people’s opinions determine our worth, we sell ourselves short and fail to tap into our own inner resources for strength.

We also grow up surrounded by messages that subtly undermine our sense of worth. Then we pass it along to the next generation; I remember when my daughter was young, I shushed her for speaking her mind. We were out and she said to me, “Mom, why does that person look so miserable?” It was such an innocent question, but I said, “Oh my, you can’t say that!”

If I knew then what I know now, I would have taken a much different approach. I would have said, “Well, let’s go talk to that person and find out. We may be the only ones who even talks to that person today.”

But instead, I took the gift of expressing herself away from her and I took a gift away from the person that she clearly had a connection with. I gave her the message that she wasn’t worthy of making that comment and the other person wasn’t worthy of our time. 

It wasn’t intentional but I bring this up because these types of subtle messages affect us and can have long-term consequences. They form the foundation of unhelpful stories we tell ourselves later in life. 

What are some signs of not feeling worthy?

Whenever you’re not taking care of your own needs or going after the life you want, it’s a sign that your self-worth needs attention.

For example, when we don’t feel worthy, the stories we tell ourselves revolve around “not enough.” Your inner voice (also known as your gremlin) wants to keep you safe by playing small so it tells you that you’re not smart/good/ambitious/rich/pretty enough, etc. 

If you’ve ever decided not to apply for a new role because you don’t meet all the requirements, deep down, you might have been feeling unworthy. And do you remember the time you took a few days off and spent them running errands and catching up on administrative work instead of resting? 

Have you ever jumped back on the hamster wheel instead of contemplating what you really want? 

Or maybe each morning starts with, “There’s gotta be more than this.”

Did it take you getting sick for you to slow down enough to start asking the right questions? (This happened to me and though it was a good lesson, I don’t recommend the experience!) 

These are just some of the ways that unworthiness shows up.

What happens when we don’t feel worthy?

When we don’t feel worthy, we don’t have the confidence to uncover our gifts, explore our inner most passions and go after what we truly want. This hurts us and the people we’re meant to help. If we don’t bring our own unique gifts and talents to the world, who will?

A few years ago, I met this amazing and accomplished woman after she resigned from her job. I asked her, “What do you really want to do? What do you feel you’re meant to do?” After a few minutes of silence, she said, “Oh my gosh, I’m embarrassed to share this with you. I’ve never even thought about it.”

That’s not uncommon; most people don’t think about these big questions. Instead, they run on autopilot, jump onto the hamster wheel and end up with no time or energy to consider what their gifts, passions and desires are—or how to use them.

There’s a better way and it starts with being kind to yourself and exploring your own worth.   

How to discover, recognize and strengthen your innate worthiness

Are you worth believing in? Yes, you are! I’m writing this to encourage you to start your journey today because the world needs your gifts and talents. 

Six ways to recognize and strengthen your worthiness: 

  1. Be gracious with yourself – Just as you offer kindness to strangers, offer kindness to yourself. Self-compassion is essential, especially when you’re on a growth journey.
  2. Say goodbye to negative self-talk – What we repeat to ourselves becomes true, even when it’s false. When you catch yourself using negative self-talk, pause and ask yourself, “Does this message serve me?” If no, replace it with self-talk that does serve you. 
  3. Stop comparing yourself to others – The perfection we see on social media isn’t real life, it’s marketing. When we compare ourselves to others, it robs us of living in the moment and we can too easily end up feeling bad about ourselves. This doesn’t help anybody, especially you.
  4. Inquire in the mirror – Look in the mirror and ask yourself some big questions. Who am I? What do I really want to do? What is my purpose? What am I meant to be doing right now? What are my gifts? 
  5. Recognize your gifts – Now that you’ve uncovered your gifts, embrace them! Figure out how you can use them to the fullest and be proud of what they allow you to accomplish.
  6. Get support – On your own, it can be hard to uncover and remove the obstacles that keep you from feeling worthy enough to live your best life. Get support from a coach or counsellor if you need it because … you’re worth it!

Building a firm connection with your own worthiness is one of the most positive things you can do for yourself and for those around you, including the next generation. This week, I challenge you to write down your gifts and ask yourself what you’d love to do with them in 2021. 

And speaking of 2021, be on the lookout for my new program designed for those who are searching for more meaning and empowerment in their personal and professional lives. More information coming soon! 

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Hi, I’m Vicki Bradley, an executive coach in Toronto and the Founder and CEO of Women in Leadership Empowered.

I work with individuals pursuing success in leadership roles and the presidents and CEOs who understand that strong businesses are built with strong, diverse leadership. 

WIL Empowered is a year-long program where we use all four aspects of leadership development: coaching, networking, peer to peer mentorship and skills development. Our mission is to help women develop the skills, motivation and accountability required to succeed in their business and personal lives.

Take our five-minute leadership quiz to discover where your leadership skills are now and where you’d like them to be this time next year.

To discover more about the WIL Empowered program, visit the website

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