Updated: Oct 7
It was a regular Friday morning at the office. We had visitors from an offshore team that week, and some of them had to make their way back home, except for one, who stayed to work with the local team. The caring leader within me wanted to let the lone visitor that he was part of the team. The marketing team was clearing out their old supplies and offering them to members of the team. I thought it would be a nice gesture to offer him some branded trinkets. What happened next turned the following four and a half days into a period of deep depression, questioning my self-worth.
My manager noticed and reacted to my “charitable” actions and made me feel as if I sent the company into bankruptcy. I had to stop him in his tracks just so he can give me the time of day and offer an explanation for his reaction. I guess not offering the other visitors, who had already left, something and the one who stayed behind a little gift, ended up being my problem. He said he was going to escalate this situation to his superior. My heart is racing at this point and by the afternoon, I was still left with no answer of the outcome of the escalation.
I was in the limbo of uncertainty and anxiety, which dunked me into a dark abyss. I was no fun around my family. They didn’t deserve my emotional downfall. Monday, I didn’t want to be a part of any activity. I just stuck to my work and wanted to be alone. The fun and caring Josef was out the window, until a close colleague, a VP from another department, reeled me back in, and reminded me that I was, indeed, a huge asset to the company. This was the following Tuesday afternoon.
A couple of weeks later, I recounted the events to Stephanie Weichert, a life coach I had been working with. She assured me that if my values have not been impacted, that I’m still me, to keep moving forward and not let anything stop me from being me.
Defending Your Self-Worth
In life, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you’ll always come into contact with those who will, emotionally, put you down and, what may seem, without remorse in some cases. In some cases, you believe they’d go out of their way to do so. It will feel like everything you valued about yourself, your self-worth, and your beliefs is put into question.
There are a number of reasons for this to happen that are beyond our control. However, we, thankfully, do have control over our mindset and how we respond to protect our values and beliefs.
As an extension to my 5 Principles of Resilience, which were inspired in part due to my experience and lessons from such challenges, the Resilience Readiness Checklist will help you with the foundations to prepare to protect your mind and your values when your self-worth is being challenged. The Resilience Response Protocol outlines the actions to engage in order to respond to an attack on your self-worth.
Resilience Readiness Checklist (RRC)
As with physical training, the following five items will help to strengthen your emotional response and be ready.
1 - Identify your Personal Values
Values are beliefs that drive your behaviour and decisions in life. They give you he ability to distinguish between what is right or wrong. In essence, ask yourself what makes you feel good or what’s important to you.
Some examples of values include creativity, growth, honesty, leadership, and service. If you value “honesty”, do you feel good when you tell the truth in a situation when you could have easily told a lie?
Write down 3 to 5 personal core values. You can find inspiration from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, at https://jamesclear.com/core-values.
2 - Create a Mission Statement
A mission statement is a representation of your WHY (your purpose). As explained by author Tommy Newberry in Success is Not an Accident , it describes how you see yourself in the best given potential written in the present tense. It’s often 1-2 sentences and written with I AM statements. Keep in mind that it’s not written in stone. It’s fluid; it will grow with you.
Write down your Mission Statement; however, take your time and make sure it resonates with your heart.
3 - Write positive statements of Self-affirmation
Saying some positive words or statements of self-affirmations aloud will strengthen the belief in yourself.
Also, saying them first thing in the morning will help set the tone of your mindset for the day.
List 3-5 positive self-affirmations that you can write on sticky-notes and put on your bathroom mirror. Why the bathroom mirror? So, it's the first thing you read in the morning.
4 - Practice Mindfulness
Being mindful is about being in the present, not just about meditation. It’s being able to recognize and understand the thoughts and emotions that are knocking at the door which, will help you respond. Meditation is a method to strengthen mindfulness. You will have thoughts; you will feel emotion. You will simply be able to see them as if they are cars passing by on a freeway. They won’t become you.
Practicing mindful can done through meditation or a guided meditation with an app like Headspace, which I personally use. Walking in nature while noticing and feeling the wind touch your skin or practicing yoga are other methods, just to name a few.
5 - Seek Your Choir
Who’s in your corner to listen and ensure you maintain a belief in yourself? They must be people you deeply trust. These people must have the ability to listen with the goal of listening and understanding, not to listen with the only goal to reply. It is recommended that these people emit a positive energy that you can feed off of.
Can you identify 2-3 names and their respective phone numbers (at least one coach or mentor)?
Resilience Response Protocol (RRP)
It's game time. The following five protocol items will help keep your mind and heart level. You may only need the first item; you may need to go through all five; or, any one of them, in no particular sequence. Use what works for your current situation and state of mind.
1 - Check in on your mind
Use your mindfulness abilities to clear the traffic jam of thoughts creating chaos in your mind and reboot the emotions. Sit in a safe and quiet area and “meditate” for at least 2 minutes. Alternatively, go for a calm walk for 5 minutes, preferably outside. Seek the positive whispers from the heart and dial them up to an 11.
2 - Check in on your values
Have your values been impacted? Do you feel like you’re no longer the same person? If that’s not the case, you are ok. If you feel like there’s an external force threatening your values and pushing you to change who you are, leave or separate yourself from that force. Alternatively, be the influence of change your organization or circle needs.
3 - Shift perspective
Sometimes, getting out of yourself and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes can help you create possible scenarios where you can gain a better understanding of the “offender’s” reaction in order to respond. Maybe the person suffered a personal loss or got some bad news.
4 - Obtain clarity
Try to get the other person (offender) out of themselves. One of the hardest things you can do after having your values challenged is expressing care for the offender. Ask questions like, “What made you say it that way?”, “What made you say it that way?”, or “Do you truly believe that?”
5 - Call in your Quick Reaction Force
If you're really in tough spot, call at least person you identified in your choir. Ask them if they can give you 5 minutes of their time to simply listen. If you desire, you can ask them to help you with a little outside perspective as well.
Your values and self-worth are a part of who you are. They are part of you for a reason. They make you the hero in your own story. Protect your values, protect your self-worth, and embrace them. Make a positive impact in the world.
 Clear, J. (n.d.). Core Values List: Over 50 Common Personal Values. Retrieved July 2020, from James Clear: https://jamesclear.com/core-values
 Newberry, T. (2007). Success Is Not an Accident: Change Your Choices; Change Your Life. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.