I have an absolutely amazing older son. When my ex-husband left, Eli was there to help pick up the pieces. When I had my emotional collapse, again Eli came to the hospital everyday and even now continues to keep a close eye on me.
He and I are never far from one another, with healthy parameters.
So this weekend when we were headed to our Fourth of July festivities and he was chattering on about his job. Eli is a 22 year old software engineer and programmer and owns his own business. Sometimes when he talks work my mind drifts off because, well it's hard to follow along. He continued to tell me about his clients, what kinds of projects they are doing and how he was handling his billing. As he discussed the types of activities they were doing, I could hear the excitement in his voice. I began wondering what makes my son so much more effective at what he does, than I am.
I mean, I'm a businesswoman, albeit beyond burned out. I was once as successful as he is. I once had youth on my side. But what does he have that I've NEVER had? What is the one ingredient that keeps him loving what he does and loving the people he works for? I had difficulty putting my finder on it until I was home in the quiet, mulling over my day as I'm so apt to do anymore.
Eli knows his worth.
Wow. That was a crazy epiphany. You see I had lost myself long ago, before I even became a business owner. I lost myself as a wife, a mother, a daughter, an employee. I neither had, nor have, any idea of what I am worth. I didn't view myself as valuable and I didn't see myself as contributing worth to anything I do.
And I still don't.
And once you allow that mindset to set in, it's awfully hard to resurrect the opposite.
I know that the service I provide is great. I know parents trust their kids to my school, expecting amazing things to happen. But the problem is in the way I view myself as an asset to my business. Whereas Eli sees how much he is appreciated and how much he contributes, I view my role as an asset that is constantly subpar to the final product. I used to think that I was just being humble, but now I see that I'm allowing myself to not be valued.
When you don't see yourself as adding value to what you do, whether that be as a stay at home mom or the CEO of a corporation, you haven't even made it into the game. Seeing yourself as valuable and worthy means you are taking an active role in whatever it is you are doing. It means knowing you are THE BEST in your field. It means not allowing other people to pull you down into the crowd. Knowing your worth means you can't be replaced, no matter how much someone tries and it means believing in what you have to offer.
That's a tall order for me.
I've never been one to lie to myself and sugarcoat anything I'm telling, so changing my frame of mind, especially at the age I am now, is tricky. Yet, I want to be valued, I want to believe that I'm making a difference where I am, and I want to be paid for that worth without feeling guilty.
So this year, I will be making that change. I will carry that change into my school and into my classroom and I will live up to my own expectations, just like I expect my students to live up to theirs.