I’ve had a strange relationship to self-esteem in my life. If you’d met me in my twenties I would have told you that I was smart and confident and thought I could do anything. And I would have believed it. I’d always gotten good grades. I worked for one of the top companies in the world. I did well in my career and got gold stars, which reinforced my confidence.

Yet if you were perceptive, you might have noticed the frightened child behind my surety.

Had you asked me at the time if I was scared, I would have denied it. If you had asked me if I had issues with my self esteem, I would have been so worried about what you were seeing in me that I you would have lost me. And if you’d mentioned the word shame I would have been completely unfamiliar with the concept. I would have related to the word like a foreign object that belonged to you but would never be mine.

I had a pretty tough shell.

I needed it. I needed to be certain about my view of life in order to survive to the point at which it felt safe enough to let me guard down and look within.

Everything felt scary growing up, from being sent with my dad who was often couch surfing with friends or relatives and I never knew what I was going to get, to my mother’s critical eye pointing out what was wrong with me. I had eaten shame for breakfast so many times it was the water I swam in and I had no idea.

I needed to crack that shell.

Looking within happened for me in a series of introspective live retreat experiences where the environment was one that was safe for me to ‘go there,’ and to see myself differently. I began to see that there might be some other rules for the game of life that would make a difference for me.

And I had to first own the Truth that I didn’t have a very nice opinion of myself deep down. All the confidence and achievement were a big cover-up for an underlying shame. If my own parents didn’t treat me like gold, how could I ever expect it anywhere else?

I took the achiever route out of this internal failure, and I’m grateful for learning how to create success in the external world. Yet it’s as much of a trap as any behavior pattern that keeps us in a place of not feeling good on the inside.

This brings me to today’s Captivation Factor.

And I want you to know that if you struggle with this one, you are not alone.

And I also want you to know that if you think you don’t struggle with this one, you may be like me and just need a little crack in your shell. <3

Captivation Factor IconCaptivation Factor #5: I love and value myself inherently and don’t need others to reinforce my value.

Wow this is a big one! I’ve worked with entrepreneurs at all levels of success, supporting them in developing their business model and marketing, and most recently developing their own small retreat. Yet inevitably the work I do with clients that makes the biggest difference is the work on this Captivation Factor.

I love and value myself inherently and don’t need others to reinforce my value.

Just read it again. How do you feel when you read it? Does it light you up and make you feel great inside? Do you roll your eyes at the idea of loving yourself? Do you feel sad because you are still in process of owning this idea?

Wherever you are know you are not alone.

And I can tell you that it does not matter how together someone looks on the outside, they have their own relationship to owning their value that they are working on as well. In fact I am constantly shocked as I have strategy sessions with business owners. You absolutely cannot tell by someone’s website how successful they are. I talk with women who have the sleek and together package on the outside, online, yet their businesses are making less money than I think anyone can live on and run a business. They aren’t thriving in a way that allows them to treat themselves like a CEO. And they cannot grow without valuing themselves in that way.

The problems with not valuing yourself and looking outside of yourself for validation are many.

  • You will overgive so people love you.
  • You won’t be able to give the best of yourself however. They will eventually become entitled and resent you.
  • You’ll hold back on saying what you really want to say in your marketing because people might not like it.
  • You won’t help your client to see what’s really going on for them because you think maintaining the peace is more important than speaking the Truth.
  • You won’t hire the support you need to achieve your goals. You’ll work in areas that aren’t your genius and walk through life weighted down by the burden of that. (Hint: Not Captivating)

You won’t receive money. If you don’t love and value yourself you won’t receive money. You’ll undercharge or sabotage your visibility so as not to conflict with your hidden belief about yourself. If you are an achiever you may play the game well enough to receive it, but you won’t use it to care for yourself and treat yourself well. It will go right back out the door without you enjoying it as a reflection of your value.

You’ve got to decide you’re worth it.

No one else can give that to you. Yet it’s also something that most people will never discover on their own. I didn’t. I couldn’t even see how deep my shame was running. I really didn’t know that I held such a low opinion of myself that I would do anything to make sure no one saw it. I needed support outside of myself to help me see my Truth. I needed a safe space where I could get real and explore my patterns without anyone judging them or using them against me in the ‘outside world.’

And I still need that. Regularly. You do too.

And so do your clients.

I’ve devoted the rest of my business career to serving entrepreneurs who want to help make this type of safe space available in every city around the world. This means first and foremost that we do our own work to heal our shame and own, love, and value ourselves, so we can be a space for others to do the same.

This means understanding the principles of transformation so that any person can count on you and your retreat as an opportunity to crack the shell and look within and own what’s so for them, freeing them to love themselves just a little bit more as they walk through life.

This means having the courage to love yourself, out loud, in front of the room, so that your tribe knows it’s possible.

As I share this I smile deep inside.

Because I’ve made friends with my shame. And because of that I see that making friends with our shame, one person at a time, is the way we heal the world.

I’d love to hear your experience! Please comment below and let us know if this resonates for you.


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