To feel valued is invaluable; it is a a priceless confidence booster and exudes from your physical self. Most people move through this world with their head down on the hamster wheel. They may see their life as boring or mundane. There is no such thing. It may be ordinary, it may be boring, but always unique. Opportunities are endless. Have you ever noticed the phenomenon of finding a new interest or wanting something badly? Let’s say you really wanted a smartwatch. The next day you notice for the first time that the owner of the newsstand is wearing a smartwatch as she puts change in your hand. Waiting at the crosswalk a bus drives by with the smartwatch ad plastered on the side. At work your co-worker is standing periodically because his smartwatch signals him to get up and move. The examples go on. I think it is a pure fact that once something enters our internal awareness we recognize it in external awareness and vice versa. Especially when it comes to character and personality traits. If your brother said you were acting like an asshole, your friend told you the same thing, and then someone on the subway said it again, you’d probably wonder why. Depending on your level of self-awareness you might examine how you’re going about your day, carrying yourself, and treating people. This goes for the good traits too. It always helps to find out what successful people do and how they act; it’s an exercise in modeling that gives you a leg up in your personal and professional life. With that said, here are the 10 things that people who feel worthwhile do:
1. Believe in themselves. Those that feel valued often develop an intrinsic value for themselves. Once a person recognizes their positive worth that feeling extends to their daily interactions. A friend of mine was concerned that she was “burnt out,” which means “fed up, compassion fatigued, drained” in therapist language and was afraid to leave her job. We talked and the conversation highlighted her passion, kindness, and skill set. She decided to look for other jobs. Once she saw that she was qualified and desired, it reinvigorated her in her present role. She needed to be made aware of her original sense of intrinsic value. We can lose sight of how much we are worth and reminders help.
2. Know what they do well and what they don’t do well. People that feel worthwhile are interested in growing. To grow, you must know your strengths and weaknesses. Are you an excellent public speaker but are shy when it comes to speaking with small groups intimately? Are you a solid copywriter but have difficulty clearly expressing your ideas in meetings? Are you a fast and competent worker but you’re interpersonal customer service skills need work? These are all common. Notice that in every question there is a positive trait and a trait for improvement. Those that feel worthwhile take the belief they have in themselves to praise what they do right and use the trouble-spots as areas to enhance their value.
3. Have a support network. The left turn out of our apartment complex in the morning is pure mayhem. Two-way traffic on a busy road with a telephone pole and street signs blocking the left view and a winding curve to the right that betrays if you think a car is coming around the corner. When I have someone in the car with me, almost always, they instinctively look to the right and tell me if it’s clear. True supports look out for you even when you don’t ask for it and make sure you’re all right. This in turn feeds that inner human need to be cared for by others, which fosters a healthy sense of self-importance. No matter how subtle the gesture, it registers.
4. Value relationships. Relationships are important when it comes to feeling valued and worthy. Human beings are social creatures. We talk, walk, and think in a way that is conducive to bringing us closer to other people. This can be a traced back to our primitive survival mechanism. Worthwhile people take the time to appreciate the relationships in their life that bring them that close and included feeling.
5. Attentive to others. Knowing the level and nature of the relationship is not enough for worthwhile people. They have an inner drive to care for others and see that their needs get met. Oftentimes, they will pick up on body language, latent content, and the emotional states of those around them. Once they recognize the states of the other person, they look to connect, show appreciation, and make others feel worthwhile.
6. Persevere. A person who feels worthwhile enters tough situations with a “Can do” attitude. This does not mean that it is easy or enjoyable, but they can approach the difficult situation with a perseverance that rests on the confidence they have in themselves. The chips may be stacked against them and they intend to find a way. They understand that the discomfort is temporary and know that their self-efficacy- the belief that they are able to change the circumstances with personal effort- will carry them onward.
7. They lay off the BCC. BCC is the acronym I use for blaming, complaining, and criticizing. The worthwhile person is able to recognize that complaints without solutions are like bicycles without wheels. They also see criticizing as unhealthy. This does not mean that they do not critique. Critiquing is good. Think of critiquing as looking for points of improvement, whereas criticizing has a degrading feel that has little benefit. When it comes to blame, the worthwhile person, or leader, knows where responsibility lies. They are able to take responsibility for their role and the roles of their colleagues and subordinates, while recognizing the totality of the situation.
8. Seek solutions. This one seems so obvious that any professional would know and do it. Wrong. Many people are happy with mediocrity. They are willing to let the status quo continue without any significant changes or improvements. Those that are worthwhile have a perspicacious perspective of what can be improved and set about getting it done.
9. Act intentionally. A course of action with the flexibility to overcome obstacles is a key tool for these worthwhile types. Their actions are compelling winds pushing them towards their instinctual desire for achievement and connection. Years ago I worked with a mother who had experienced compound traumas. She lost many men in her life and was unsure whether she could have a relationship with a man ever again. She sought the help of professionals and used her intuition for action. Her actions became pristinely intentional as she worked towards supporting the family and relationships that still remained in her life.
10. Present focus. The worthwhile individual has an ability to stay focused on present moments and tasks. The value they have of themselves- created from an intrinsic sense of worth, an external connectedness and validation, and certain degree of success- situates them in a unique position whereby they do not get trapped in the quicksand of overanalyzation. Decisions are fluid and attention is concentrated. One client described their present focus, “I’m not even thinking of failure or success. I’m working on a level where I trust myself, my team, and the process.”
These are the 10 observations I found in common of those that feel worthwhile to themselves and others. Some of them are undeniable, others obscure, but all relevant. Awareness of that which is happening outside of us can stimulate the transfer of the external spotlight to our inner stage. It generates a dynamic shift that brings us to a crossroads where we see discrepancies between who we are and who we want to be. Our awareness broadens to the point that we can finally realize that we too are wearing a smartwatch.
Ask yourself: Using these 10 traits, what would it be like if today you were to practice living like a person who is worthwhile to themselves and others?