This article was also published in the Trinidad Express Woman’s Magazine 19.01.2014
Ever wonder if you’re under-earning?
Barbara Stanny, author of Secrets of Six Figure Women, who writes, teaches and coaches with one aim in mind: to empower women financially shares that all under-earners have one common trait: A high tolerance for low pay. “But that description can be deceptive”, she cautions. “Low pay” is a relative term. You can make six figures and still be an under-earner. Conversely, you can earn far less and not be.
Her definition of an under-earner: someone who makes less than she needs or desires despite efforts to do otherwise. Under- earning is not the same as VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY, which is a conscious choice to live on less in order to create a simpler, saner life. Under-earning is not the same as A MINDFUL LOW EARNER who does work that feeds her soul and still makes enough to meet her needs.
The distinction is that under-earning is never a conscious choice. It never leads to a more sane and satisfying life. It is always a CONDITION OF DEPRIVATION, not just of money, but of time, joy, freedom, choices and self-esteem.
While it can be difficult to spot an under-earner there is one I trait I find most under-earners share: they almost always underestimate their worth. They constantly devalue what they bring to the table, making light of their natural strengths, choosing instead to make their peers bigger than life. And therein lies a hint:- we can only see that which is in others because it is also in us. We tend to use this only to rationalize the so-called negative traits. So we’re more likely to pinch ourselves when we are being critical or putting down someone else because we know that the fault we’re seeing is a chink in our own armor. But the same goes for the positive traits. Like when we think others are courageous, inspiring, decisive, intelligent, genius, brilliant dependable or dedicated we are all those things too BECAUSE we see them in others.
The relevant discussion though is not about what’s IN or not in us; it’s how we PERCEIVE ourselves. And however we treat ourselves is how we will be treated in our world. So if we’re constantly putting ourselves down, devaluing our worth and making light of our natural talents then that’s what will be reflected back to us. We do this not because we’re humble. It’s actually self-denial and an attempt to almost fade into the backdrop of life and lessen the impact of our presence. On the flip side, there are those of us who boast of and exaggerate our talents and skills. Some may think that people who do this have a high estimation of their self-worth but au contraire – these folks are in a game of deceit and are really terribly insecure.
Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, your self-worth is tied to what others THINK about you and how you need to BE/BEHAVE in order to be perceived in a particular way. This lie cannot last forever. Pretty soon you’re going to break down or break open and this may not be very pretty.
We all yearn to take ideas that excite us and accomplish them through action but sometimes we lose sight of our goals and dreams:
- We chase what other people dream for us
- We become distracted
- We compare
- We imitate
- We begin to trust our voice less and less
- We hold back so we don’t stand out
When you try to live up to an image of what you THINK others want to you to be, you begin to LOSE your self-worth. Unfortunately, many of us live this way. Why? Because we are afraid to stand up for ourselves; afraid to be WHO WE REALLY ARE. Without consciously realizing it – we disrespect our own self-worth. And how do you know you’re disrespecting your self-worth? Take a look at how you allow people to pick your brain, how you give away your knowledge, how you give of your time when your gut is screaming “NO!”
Dana Clark, blogger ‘Kale for the Soul’ speaks for all of us. “We give out our power…We immerse ourselves in need, we let success say no one loves us if we’re not successful, models tell us we’re not thin enough, celebrities tell us we’re not funny or enjoying life, sports teams tell us if we’re losing; our children tell us we’re failing, romantic interests determine if we’re valuable or not, schools dictate if you have the right answers, magazines inform us we don’t look good because don’t have the clothing they recommend, news coverage announces that we should be scared at night, books tell us what products our babies need for survival, the government says we have one vote [for one party], and the winner will or will not save our humanity.”
I love this quote by Dana “In the misinformed guidelines of achievement and virtue, we depend on approval. We’ve forgotten how to listen to the only accurate compass of worth there is – which is ourselves.” When we begin to respect ourselves again, when we can learn to hear OUR voice from within, when we begin to deeply understanding who we are and appreciate WHY we are the way we are then we will no longer be swept away by instincts and habits that may not serve us. We will pursue goals that are conducive to our health and happiness and we won’t act in ways that we later regret, producing results that hurt us and those we care about.
Peter Drucker, famous American Management Consultant, in a Harvard Business Review article titled “Managing Oneself” says “It’s up to you to carve out your place in the world. To do this you will need to cultivate a deep understanding of yourself.” And never settle for less than you’re worth!