How Working to Prove Your Worth Keeps You from Succeeding


This is a post inspired by Brene Brown’s appearance on an Oprah Soul Sunday. In the video below, Brene talks about “the Hustler” AKA her ego. She speaks about how “the Hustler” tells you ‘you don’t have any inherent worth, you have to hustle for it’. It encourages you to do as much as possible to build up a track record as proof that you deserve some recognition.

Running yourself ragged to prove something so basic as the fact that you do, in fact, add something of value to the world can end up holding you back from what you’re actually supposed to be focusing on. When you’re passionate about something, or eager to start working on something new, your worth comes out through that. In today’s job market, we all are striving to climb over each other and prove our uniqueness. Everyone wants to stand out and I know that I, myself, can end up in some crippling and/or exhausting situations because of it. I run myself into the ground trying to be the one that did something first, best or the most efficient.

It wasn’t until the time I spent working for the think tank that is the Missourian Community Outreach team that I felt the freedom to be my naturally creative self. I was allowed and expected to pitch new ways of thinking about a classic job and when I wasn’t doing that I could relax into completing tasks that were familiar processes to my instructor and yet completely new to me still. I was able to be inspired and filled by the things that others just months before me had come up with. It was the best of both worlds!

But when we’re running ourselves ragged, stacking up the remedial tasks that someone else has put on our plates – the ones we ourselves don’t even believe in – that’s when our creativity gets blocked and when our ability to see our own worth starts to wane. It gets harder and harder to see what’s unique about ourselves because we’re doing what everyone else is doing and expecting to be praised over it. If you have a new way of streamlining filing or scheduling, that’s great but if you’re doing it the same old way it’s always been done don’t get caught up in making employee of the month because you did the basics of your job. Instead, focus on doing what you want to do the best way you know how. Otherwise you’ll get stuck being the best filing assistant ever.

You have to go in the game knowing your worth because then you won’t waste your time trying to prove it in ways that don’t matter. Your faith in your abilities will become your strength and your drive. There will be times that it will take your far and there will be times when it will keep you from places you think you should be in. Success is not always linear though (or timely), and if you let it, your worth will surprise even you. *See impostor syndrome.


3 thoughts on “How Working to Prove Your Worth Keeps You from Succeeding

  1. I used to think that my worth was connect to the tasks I completed. Now I know that they aren’t important. I am more concerned about the impact I have on the lives of others. Creating positive change is how I measure my self-worth- its much bigger then completing every tasks.


    • There’s so much truth in that statement. I think I’ve finally come to understand that weighing every little thing you do is not the same as the sum of your worth.Ironic as it is, worrying over the small stuff is counterintuitive to getting the big stuff done.

      Liked by 1 person

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