Dr Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip — How to build unstoppable self-esteem that takes you to the top, Part 1 & Part 2

Part 1

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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

Part 2

Need virtual or remote presentations? I am providing live, high-energy, content-rich, results-producing virtual presentations to all my clients. Plus one-on-one coaching.

Did you notice the Subject Line or the title of today’s Tuesday Tip? How to build unstoppable self-esteem that takes you to the top.

I chose those words quite intentionally because … whether by design or accident … most of the news about the elections, the candidates, the economy, the pandemic, the street unrest, the school chaos and everything else can easily take you to the bottom. The bottom of your patience, hope, energy, motivation, and confidence.

One of your best weapons to keep yourself out of the bottom is your self-esteem or self-confidence. And you can actually build that into a formidable weapon of defense.

Last week I gave you three strategies for doing exactly that. Here are three more strategies. Pick at least one of them and decide to use it now.

► 1. Don’t look back for too long.

I learned this strategy a few years ago on the beautiful tropical island of Jamaica — where my stepsister lives.

I could see why she chose it as her second home as it is a place lush with vegetation, mountains, and turquoise waters.

Nonetheless, as I was walking through a hotel lobby, I saw an old map hanging in the hallway. Across a remote, uninhabited part of the island I saw some faint lettering going across that part of the map.

I struggled to make out the words. I eventually did. It read, “The Land of Look Behind.”

Intrigued, I asked the hotel owner what that meant. He said in the days of slavery, the runaways from the sugar plantations sometimes escaped into that lonely barren territory. They were often pursued by slave owners with guns and dogs. He said the fugitive slaves, who were always on the run, kept looking over their shoulders. So that’s where the term, “The Land of Look Behind,” came from.

I never forgot that phrase… because it describes so many people today. They live so much of their lives in their own private land of look-behind. They keep dwelling on the mistakes they have made or the bad things that have happened or are happening to them.

That’s not smart. The past can only serve two purposes: hurting or helping.

If you keep looking behind at the bad things in your world and in your past, and if that’s all you do with those memories, it’s hurting you. It’s hurting the very self-esteem and self-confidence you need to move ahead.

If, however, when you look back and look for a lesson in that experience, it’s helping you. You are building the self-esteem you need to defeat the stresses that are trying to take you down.

So stop looking at your past and start learning from your land of look behind! 

► 2. Change your language from “I want” to “I will.”

It’s a sign of maturity and responsibility. Immature people will often say, “I want this and I want that.” Mature people move away from merely talking about what they want; they move on to talking about they will do to get what they want.

Sarah came up to me during a break in a seminar I was conducting. She said, “Dr. Zimmerman, I really WANT to move up in my job, but I just can’t.”

I asked about her personal development plan and about all the things she was doing to move up in her job. She admitted that she avoided the various training programs that her company offered — as much as possible. When she did go, she didn’t listen that carefully to the speaker or follow through on what she learned. And she never invested any of her own money into training programs outside the company. I knew immediately why she wasn’t moving up in her job.

Sarah went on to say, “I also WANT to be respected by my coworkers, but I don’t think they like or respect me.”

So I asked about the way she interacted with her coworkers. She mentioned how they seemed to enjoy her comments, especially the witty way in which she put others down — behind their backs. After all, they laughed at her comments. But at lunch time no one wanted to eat with her. Once again I knew why she wasn’t getting what she wanted.

Her comments were filled with, “I WANT… I WANT… I WANT.” Never once did I hear her say, “I will…” She didn’t mention one single thing she was willing to do get what she wanted.

Sarah was a WANNA-BE. She wanted a better job, but she was doing just enough to get by. She wasn’t doing anything to get better. She wanted more respect, but she would never get it by showing disrespect for others.

So I gave Sarah a brief, on-the-spot coaching session. I said her problems could be traced to her lack of self-esteem. In fact, she would not move up at work until she believed enough in herself to keep on upgrading herself. And she would not get the respect of others until she respected herself.

Of course, Sarah wanted to know how she could change all that in three minutes. Well I’m good… but not that good. That’s why I do one-on-one coaching with people and that’s why I deliver my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary 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.

My advice to you on Point #2 today? Stop talking about all the things you want and start talking about what you will do to get what you want. That’s how you build your self-esteem.

► 3. Talk away your fear.

For most of us, there are two separate and conflicting entities inside our minds: the “brave me” and the “fearful me.” Many times the “fearful me” paralyzes and frustrates the “brave me.” To build greater self-esteem, you’ve got to talk away the “fearful me”.

At the beginning of his opera career, the famous Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso, was unsure of his talent. On an opening night, Caruso stood in the wings waiting to go on stage when he was seized by an overwhelming attack of fear. He actually shook with fear. Nearby, astonished stagehands heard him whisper the command, “Out! You miserable ‘little me.’ Get out of the way! Out! Out!”

Caruso was changing the way he viewed himself through self-talk. He told the fearful element inside him that his “brave me” would prevail. In the face of this fierce counter-attack, the “little me” shrank-away and Caruso went on stage and sang with beauty and power.

Maybe it sounds crazy, but this technique really works. Tell yourself, over and over, that you are capable of accomplishing the things you fear. Tell yourself you can do it, that you’ve got what it takes, and that you’re equal to the task. Your fear will die and your self-esteem will grow.

Concluding Thought: One of my good friends is magician Rob Peck. He uses a line in his show that I love. He says, “You don’t have to believe in magic — because the real magic is in believing.” Absolutely. Believe in yourself!