The Law of the Mirror

Adding value is the 3rd law, “The Law of the Mirror” from John Maxwell’s 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. The premise is pretty straightforward, you must see value in yourself to add value in yourself.  

The most important question that people ask when I say that is “how can I add value in myself?” That’s a tough one because it’s not just a matter of signing up for a few online (or offline) courses, reading books/magazines or trade publication or perhaps listening to some podcasts or audiobooks. It’s a matter of your own self-worth, your self-esteem and most importantly your self-belief.

The world’s an ugly place. If you don’t believe you’re worth a dime, you will be treated accordingly. Now, I understand beginners who are new in the game (a new job, a new enterprise or just a new gig) would want to start slow and would thus “position” themselves as a “rookie.” You know, the one who can deliver commendable result for a lower price.

Your intent might have been noble but instead of scaling your way up, you just remain there. Because you don’t want to hurt your chances or have mouths to feed or other super-serious aspects of life. So, you just stay there, hoping that someday you’ll outgrow yourself but you and I know what happens next. Nothing.

So, what gives? Building a healthy self-image. That should be your top priority if any of the above resonates with you. It sure did resonate with me a couple of years back. And I’m still working on it. The good thing is that once you get going, the momentum will take care of the rest. All you need to do is to show up.

John suggests the following 10 steps to build a healthy self-image.

  1. Guard your self-talk — what you say matters the most. How do you feel after missing a deadline or making a blunder and calling yourself an idiot? Not better for sure. But what makes you do that? Can’t say for sure but that’s the way we’ve been raised. We’ve heard NO thousands of times more than YESes. And that sure makes a difference. Try giving yourself a compliment for a change. It works but will take some getting used to.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others — it a waste of time. Period. The only person to compare yourself with is you. That’s it! People may be better or worse than you, but that wouldn’t pay your bills, improve your life or put you on the path to success.
  3. Move beyond your limiting beliefs — have you ever been guilty of saying this, “I’m not good with names/mathematics/directions?” What usually happens is that your subconscious accepts these messages for real and ensures that you continue to be NOT good at those things. I know this from my high school days when I used to tell myself that “I can’t ever crack Maths. It’s complicated. I can’t understand it well.” Things changed when I understood that everything is logical in Mathematics. Nothing happens without any reason. Though I realized that a little too late, I applied the newfound understanding to score big in Accounting!
  4. Add value to others — we’ve spent a good chunk of our lives trying to add value to ourselves, in some way or another, but adding value to others doesn’t come naturally. In my opinion, and John would back me on this, adding value to others is the fastest route to build a healthy self-esteem. It really works wonders to your self-image besides making an impact on the people around you.
  5. Do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing — I don’t want to get into a moral science discussion, but being true to yourself is a great confidence and character builder. Sticking to your beliefs and values when things don’t look good isn’t easy but if you try hard enough, you will see yourself through.
  6. Practice a small discipline daily in a specific area of your life — pick one area and commit to improving it every day for the next 90 days. This could be meditation or eating well or perhaps writing a book (heck, I started this year with a 90-day commitment to post something every day)! All you need is a little discipline. Brain Tracy says it the best, “inch by inch, everything’s a cinch.”
  7. Celebrate small victories — I suck at this. In fact, I don’t even take the time to acknowledge victories. But don’t worry, I’m working hard at this because not being able to celebrate is an indication that I’m too hopeless to value the hard work I’ve put in. And you would agree that doesn’t go down for a great “self-talk.” Does it?
  8. Embrace a positive vision for your life based on your values — what do you value the most in your life? It could be something specific or perhaps a list of values that you ought to live your life by. Whatever the case is, working towards a positive vision of your life that is based on your unique values is an exercise in finding inspiration. In my experience, many people just wade through life letting the waves take them anywhere. Having a vision ensures that you are intentional about living this life. You’ve got just one to live after all.
  9. Practice the one-word strategy — this is an interesting concept. What defines you as a person? I’ve had friends say that they’re like a “flowing river” or a “sponge” that soaks up all that knowledge. That’s so powerful because it allows me to see things from their perspective. It also allows them to have a better perspective and realign their goals, values, and vision based on the meaning of this word. For me, it were the words “karmic-warrior.” What about you?
  10. Take responsibility for your life — I don’t wish to expand on this as it’s quite self-explanatory. But I do have a hard question for you to answer: do you take responsibility for your life? Because if you don’t, we will get what we’re willing to tolerate. If we don’t have a plan or a purpose for our own lives, we will become part of someone else’s master plan. And who would be responsible for that?

That’s it, folks! As John would say, “learn these, live by them and lead with them.”

%d bloggers like this: