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March 26, 2018

Self-Esteem: Be Relentless in Building It

Self-esteem contains the word “self” for a reason. You are responsible for your self-esteem. You have to earn your self-esteem. It is not given to you. Receiving a participation trophy will not build your self-esteem. You earn self-esteem by doing your best and striving to become the best you possible.

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self-esteemSelf-esteem is about self-respect and having a favorable impression of yourself. It is having pride in yourself without being too proud. It involves an element of self-love without being a narcissist. It is liking who you are, what you do, and what you stand for and represent.

Self-esteem means having high standards. It means expecting much from yourself within your range of abilities. Settling for less, doing less than we are capable, becoming less than we can become may be the biggest contributors to unhappiness, depression, and internal stress.

If you find yourself depressed or unhappy you should ask yourself, “Am I doing my best to become the best I can become?” Chances are you are not. Real happiness that endures come from within, not from possessions or external factors.

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Self-Esteem and Excelling

Self-esteem is about making the effort to excel. It is about conquering the daily struggle to become better.

Some times we fall short in achieving the results we desire but there is no excuse for not making the effort to do what is necessary to achieve those results. And, at the end of the day, that’s all we can ask of ourselves and others – to put forth our best effort.

“Scott, just look at it as another opportunity to excel.”

That’s what our sports medicine fellowship director told one of my fellow sports medicine fellows when he voiced some discontent after being assigned another project (one of many we did that year) during our sports medicine fellowship. Those words, “look it as another opportunity to excel” have since stuck with me.

The effort to excel serves as the foundation of self-esteem. How can you respect yourself and like yourself if you don’t make an effort to excel?

Everything we do, everything we say is an opportunity to excel. And, our actions and words are a reflection of who we are. While writing this article a fortune cookie I ate had this message, “Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.

Having self-esteem enables one to handle situations in a professional manner. High-esteemed individuals take the high road.

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Self-Esteem and Confidence

Self-esteem and confidence go hand in hand. Each helps develop the other. Confidence is powerful. Confidence is believing in and trusting your abilities. Very little meaningful has ever been achieved in the absence of confidence. People who exude confidence most likely have high self-esteem. Positive thinking is a key quality of both confidence and self-esteem. You have to believe you can accomplish something and believe that your life matters and has value.

Self-Esteem and Being Relentless

Recently, I listened to an interview of Darren Hardy interviewing Tim Grover. Mr. Grover was Michael Jordan’s personal trainer and also trained Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade. Mr. Grover is also author of the book Relentless.

According to Mr. Grover it is being relentless that separates good from greatness. There is not much difference skills-wise among professional athletes, but athletes like Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, and Jack Nicklaus of the world are/were relentless in their pursuit of excellence. That is what has largely separated them from their peers.

Becoming your best means being relentless. All the athletes mentioned above were driven by the pursuit to be the best athletes they could be during each phase of their careers.

Mr. Grover says that being “satisfied” is not the goal in life, but rather the goal is grow. To get better, to improve. Success is the natural outcome of being relentless. To be the best you can become – that is the goal.

testosterone gelPeople who are relentless typically don’t take much time to celebrate their accomplishments.  In fact, individuals who are relentless many times come across as being dissatisfied. Nothing is ever seems enough. Michael Jordan would win his fifth NBA championship and the very next day he would be in the gym preparing for the sixth.

Such people are motivated by the pursuit. The goal to become better is their real motivation and they find joy in journey towards that goal. Usually they don’t take much time to celebrate their successes. They quickly move on to the next goal – to become better still.

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Why is that? Why don’t they celebrate? Mr. Grover says that if you set a goal, develop a plan to achieve, put forth the effort to achieve it, then why should you be surprised when you do achieve it? You expect to achieve it.  You may not know when you may achieve a particular goal, but you do expect to achieve it. You know that no matter what happens you are going to achieve it. So achieving the goal is no big deal. You expect it. So you celebrate briefly and then move on.

To improve to become one’s best requires self-awareness. You must recognize your weaknesses and then act to strengthen them to continuously improve. 

Being Relentless Leads to Great Work

Doing great work is the outcome of being relentless. That was the focus of Steve Jobs throughout his life – doing great work. You should do everything well enough that you would want to put your signature on your work Mr. Jobs felt. Do what is necessary so you can be proud to sign your work.

You Are Your Competition

Much of what has been discussed thus far is a long way of saying that in the end, you are your own competition. You are competing against yourself.  Take action to become a little bit better each day. That is within your ability and your control.

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Do that and self-esteem will follow. Be the best you!

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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