On Knowing Your Worth (and Betting on it)

November 22, 2011

This post was written by  Ega Jones, who is just one of my absolute favorite bloggers. I feel really honored to have her permission to reprint it here for all of you.

Let me tell you something about the world that I tried desperately not to know, but was forced to learn.

No one else will believe in you, or invest any time or money or love in you, if you can’t tell them honestly and confidently how much you’re worth. Self-deprecation gets you nowhere. Modesty is for the birds. If you want anyone to take a chance on you, you have to show them that you’d be willing to take the same chance.

Let’s try a hypothetical situation. You are an unemployed, over-educated recent college graduate. Finding work is next to impossible, so you take what you can get. You’re paid minimally. You’re respected minimally. You work your butt off and people grow to trust you to do their menial tasks; they show their appreciation. You think that means that maybe they might want to pay you more, to promote you, to place some faith in you.

So, you wait. You keep working hard and being appreciated and underpaid and underused. Here’s the thing: Waiting, while sometimes necessary and inevitable, will never, ever just magically lead to the thing you want the most.

You have to do it yourself. You have to look at yourself honestly and think about what you’re worth. Think about what you give, what you bring, what you mean. Then, you have to speak it out loud. You have to gamble on yourself. Because if you don’t, who the heck will?

There’s a risk to this, or the fear of one—the risk that you’ll say “This is what I bring to the table and this is what I want and deserve,” and that someone will shoot you down and tell you that you’re not worth that much or that they can’t give you what you want. You might have to shut it down and walk away. Your feelings might get hurt. But that’s kind of the point—to stand strong in yourself and know deeply and fully how much you are worth, and to breeze past anyone who doesn’t get it.

I feel like Georgia O’Keeffe really excelled at this.

If you’re not betting on yourself, if you’re not saying, “I’m worth more than this and I want more than this,” you’re in trouble. If you accept whatever comes your way, then that’s precisely what you’ll get.

You are a force to reckon with. You are someone to watch. The only person who can really know this is you. Your work, as a person, is to make everything you say and do speak to how fabulous you are. No one else can or will do that work for you. I used to think that my sense of self worth could somehow be gifted to me by other people, but the real, hard truth is that other people take their cues from you. It all comes from you.

When I figure out how to actually do this, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Ega Jones writes about the stuff that keeps her up at night, which, likely, are also the things that keep YOU up at night, and, thus, worth a read. I feel extremely grateful that I came across her site and I highly recommend that you “like” her on Facebook and follow her on twitter. Her writing is real and sensible and incorporates all of the things you really need someone to say out loud about your life.