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October 26, 2011 / mike54martin

Self-Esteem: The One Thing That Only You Can Do Something About

How you feel about yourself is totally an inside job. Yes there are external influences and other people and situations can impact you. But you are responsible for your own self-esteem. And don’t let anyone else talk you out of feeling good about yourself. Author and motivator Brian Tracy is an authority on the development of human potential and personal effectiveness. He speaks to a total audience of a quarter of a million people a year so he must have something going for him.

Tracy says that your number one job is to keep your self-esteem high if you are going to be successful in any aspect of your personal or professional life. He has developed a formula of six elements to build and maintain your self-esteem. They are goals, standards, success experiences, comparison with others, recognition and rewards.


Just setting challenging and measurable goals for yourself, writing them down and having a plan to achieve them can make you feel better about yourself and raise your self-esteem.


The higher your standards and ideals and being consistent and true to them will increase your self-respect and the more and longer you respect yourself, the more positive you will be and the longer this enhanced self-esteem will last.

Success experiences

Having measurable goals allows you to chart your progress and as you start achieving pieces of your goals you start experiencing success, small steps at a time which makes you feel like a winner.

Comparison with others

You can have high self-esteem and be successful all on your own but if you want to have even greater success then surround yourself with other successful people and read about them and learn from them.


We all need to be recognized by those closest to us in our professional and social lives. These people are the mirror by which we judge ourselves and if it reflects a positive image of us we will feel better about ourselves. If it doesn’t, get a new mirror!!


You may get tangible or material rewards from your successes but they need to be supplemented by rewards that you create for yourself. They can be small like a night out or big like a vacation but they are a sign to you that you value yourself and your achievements. The more you give yourself the more you will receive in positive self-esteem.

So what do you think? Does this formula work for you? What would you add or delete. Comments, as usual, welcome and appreciated.

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of “Change the Things You Can” (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit:


Leave a Comment
  1. Doreen Pendgracs / Oct 26 2011 3:00 am

    Hi Mike: Great post!

    I think that recognition is HUGE when it comes to self-esteem. If no one else notices our efforts, it’s pretty hard to continue believing we’re doing a great job.

    And I think the importance of that positive reinforcement begins right from childhood. My father had a huge influence on my self-esteem. He had a tremendous amount of confidence and I think he taught me to believe that I could do ANYTHING I put my mind to. I really thank him for that.

  2. Dennis Salvatier / Oct 26 2011 4:24 am

    Mike, as an artist there is always a degree of low self esteem that is normal for the creative type, but there are days that it can get a little crazy. This is a great reminder that we need to be vigilant of our mental health everyday, because everyday the things that consume our lives can slowly eat away at it without us noticing.

  3. EllieDi / Oct 26 2011 2:11 pm

    it’s amazing how much we give away our power, isn’t it? We let everyone else decide how we’re going to feel, think, and act – much more than we actually let on (or believe, in some cases). But the good news is that we can totally fix that, using what we’ve already got within us to build up our confidence and gain the strength to deny those outside influences. It’s totally okay to have a bad day here and there, but to let out self-esteem be determined by others all the time is destructive.

  4. Jennifer Woodard / Oct 28 2011 7:55 pm


    Another great post. I like all the ideas. Most people who struggle with self esteem view themselves unfavorably when they compare themselves against others. I do agree that we should try to surround ourselves with successful people and it will help to motivate us. The mind is wonderful and dangerous thing. It really is all about what we think.

    Happy blogging,

    • mike54martin / Oct 28 2011 9:46 pm

      Thanks Jennifer.
      Energy suckers are sometimes called vampires. Here is an extraxt from my book on them.
      Dealing with Vampires
      By Mike Martin

      Excerpted from Change the Things You Can (Dealing with Difficult People)

      Difficult people live in the deep end of the fear spectrum of emotions fearing they will lose what they have or not get what they want. Caroline Myss in her book “Sacred Contracts” calls these people vampires. They feed on other’s negative reactions like sharks to blood they are attracted to fear, anger, and distress. It is their prime energy source. And of course they have to get it from other people.

      One of her colleagues Dr. Judith Orloff, the author of “Positive Energy” calls these difficult people energy vampires and to deal with them she suggests a four step process:

      1. Identify the Energy Vampires, and begin to evaluate ones you’d like to limit contact with or eliminate. Then plan at least one complete afternoon with people who give off positive energy and avoid the drainers.

      2. Set Clear Boundaries. It’s crucial to limit the time you spend discussing a vampire’s gripes. But how you do it is just as important. Instead of saying, “You’re selfish and self-obsessed, I can’t take you anymore,” which a part of you likely feels, take a breath and shift to your heart.

      3. Meditate. Sitting in meditation will ground you when you’ve been struck by a vampire. Try and calm your mind. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Maybe they will be gone by the time you open your eyes. If not, you’ll feel better anyway.

      4. Visualization. When you’re with vampires you can’t get away from, visualize a protective shield of white light surrounding every inch of you. This lets positive energy in, but keeps negative energy out—particularly efficient for vampires at meetings or social events where you’re trapped.

      Beware of the vampires that lurk in the corners of your life. They are waiting to suck the positive energy out of you. Don’t let them!!

      Mike Martin is a freelance writer and workplace wellness consultant. He has written and published thousands of articles about workplace issues for magazines and publications in Canada, the United States and New Zealand. He has worked in human resources for over thirty years and has experience both as a senior manager and a union leader. For the past fifteen years he has worked with dozens of small, medium and large organizations in the areas of workplace intervention and conflict management.

  5. Lanre / Oct 31 2011 5:08 pm

    Brian Tracy is one man whom I respect a lot. Self esteem is one issue I’ve always had since childhood. I used to have a huge inferiority complex which made me really vulnerable. I overcame it by simply believing that I am better than I think I am and by setting high goals for myself which mates wouldn’t dream of achieving. This really worked for me. Reading Brian Tracy’s book, ‘Goals’ was a real turning point for me. Nice post.

  6. fringster / Nov 12 2011 3:44 am

    Self-esteem is really something that comes from inside. . . You mentioned about surrounding yourself with positive and successful people and then comparing yourself with them. I know for some it’s a booster, but I don’t think this works for me.

    • mike54martin / Nov 12 2011 1:47 pm

      Whatever works is a good thing. You may not have to eb around successful people but to be around negative people all the time will bring down your self-esteem.
      Thanks for posting

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