People who respect themselves and believe they’re capable and competent, smart, kind and reliable, automatically act in those ways. They don’t have to remind themselves to be that way because that’s just how they are. Sadly, the opposite is also true. People who think they’re lazy losers, careless, stupid and undependable automatically act in those ways. That’s what self-esteem is all about.
We can take that one step further and say that with high self-esteem, you’re more able to achieve self-mastery. That’s when you accept responsibility, have the confidence to tackle tough tasks and learn new things, make mistakes and learn from them, look for answers to problems, and act with integrity.
It isn’t about domination or being on top of the pyramid or controlling others. It’s about controlling yourself and having the self-discipline, for example, to choose to say or do something. Or to choose not to say or do something or to say or do it later, at a more suitable time. Self-mastery gives you the wherewithal to keep working at getting better, improving, learning, growing and to always do your best and tackle chores, duties and responsibilities with gusto and pleasure, not with indifference and lethargy.
Self-mastery isn’t about being self-righteous either, because it encompasses compassion and respect for others. Once you’ve mastered yourself, you’re directed from the inside, not the outside. You do things without needing to be reminded to do them.
This linked to the concept of locus of control. When your locus of control is internal, you believe you can control a large part of your life. You’re in charge, so you’re likely to be proactive rather than reactive. When your locus of control is external, you believe other people and events largely control your life, which leads you to sit back and let things happen to you.
Clearly, the most effective leader-managers have high self-esteem, have mastered themselves and have an internal locus of control. How about you?