Is Your Self-Worth Driving Your Net Worth?

Self-Worth = Net Worth?


Heart and money

Meggan Watterson, Harvard trained theologian and author of the critically acclaimed new book REVEAL: A Sacred Manual For Getting Spiritually Naked, sees a relationship between self-worth and net-worth. 

If your net-worth is not where you want it to be today, consider the state of your self-worth: is it reflecting your net worth? Chances are it might be.

So why is that? Let’s take a look…

If you’ve been to any of my Art of Negotiation for Women seminars or presentations, you’ve heard me say there are 3 types of worth at play when it comes to earning your worth – really claiming your worth and getting paid what you’re worth. This is true for professionals AND entrepreneurs.

Three Types of Worth:

  1. External: Your worth in the marketplace
  2. Situational: Your worth to the other person (hint: this is all about their needs, wants and desires)
  3. Internal: You got it – this is all about your self-worth

It might be easy to think you can handle each one of these separately, but it usually doesn’t work that way, especially for women. You want to look at, examine and even enhance all three – and often enhancing your self-worth can be solved through your actions in one of the other two areas.

Let’s take a look at the third type of worth – your Internal or Inner Worth. How you view yourself, how you value yourself, how you LOVE yourself.

A Woman’s Worth

We know that our self-worth as women is generally tangled up in society’s views of women, what a woman should do or be, what a woman’s worth. And that includes our own family’s views. We often internalize these views that others hold, even on a subconscious level where they gain a firm foothold as a limiting belief. If this is you, your inner worth – your self-worth – becomes a reflection of what others think.

Sound familiar?  Well I want you to know it’s not your fault.

Heck, we have millennia of history (herstory?) and generations before us that show women in very limited roles in society, and most often without rights to earn their own money or own their own property.

Did you know…?


Did you know that women in the United States  could not apply for their own credit card until 1974??? (Yes, really that is true – it took federal legislation to change that).  Sadly, these rights remain unavailable for women in many other cultures. {Although arguably we would ALL be better off with less access to credit! :-}

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, first: let’s ask instead “what’s a WOMAN would to do?” Because really, we aren’t girls anymore, and how we refer to ourselves matters. Language is powerful – the words we choose convey a lot.

As Rachel Wilkerson said recently on her blog,

…referring to adult women as girls is problematic. First, it seems to undermine our experiences and maturity. I don’t want to be referred to as a girl at work; I’m a capable adult and should be given the appropriate title that reflects that. Second, the term “girl” seems like a way of excusing our own bad behavior or our lack of responsibility. To me, “girl” implies that I’m young and therefore allowed to be irresponsible…I feel like calling myself and my peers “women” helps me raise my standards and expectations.

Here are Three Things you can do, right now:

Hang Out With Others Who Demonstrate High Self-Worth

It’s been said many times that your net worth is  the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The same can be said about your inner worth and personal growth.

Role models and mentors are key to bolstering your belief and trust in yourself – in building up your Inner Worth, and fending off any contrary views, regardless of whether they are internalized or verbalized by your family, your friends or your foes.

This is so much easier today, where you can “hang out” with high level mentors and role models on-line! Follow those you admire, and really listen.  Be on the look-out for what they do, what they say, and what they believe. Especially where their self-worth has been challenged and yet they have succeeded in forging a strong sense of self and self-worth.

See if you can model what you are learning from them.

Protect Your Inner Sanctum

Be careful what views you allow into your Inner Sanctum – your Mind: your thoughts, beliefs and emotions.  Watch what conversations you are having with others: if they are anti-role models for you, find a graceful way to nip the conversation in the bud.

Daring GreatlyI love what Brené Brown said in her recent interview with Oprah, about dealing with negative feedback (in particular that toxic, anonymous, tear-down feedback) about her work: “I made a commitment that if you are not in the arena getting your butt kicked on occasion, I’m not interested in your feedback.” Then check out her latest book, Daring Greatly.

Value What You Do

We’ll dive deeper into increasing your sense of self-worth in future articles.  For now, here’s the thing I want you to get:

I can teach you everything I know about negotiating, and about negotiating for yourself (a key differentiator for women as it turns out – but not for men).

But at the end of the day, if you don’t feel worthy of asking, then you won’t. It’s that simple. I know this is true because you’re telling me the truth. You won’t ask for what you want, and you won’t ask for more than they offer.

Let me say this another way:

In order to be able to ask, you have to FEEL that you are worthy of asking.

Before we even look at how to ask for what you want, we want to first get clear that you ARE worthy of asking, and you are worthy of receiving what you are asking for.

The place to start is to VALUE what you do, and that includes everything you do, whether you exchange it for money or not.  Value how and where you spend your time and your money. If you do not value your time and energy, you block your flow of receiving in exchange for your services. And that includes money.

If you’re hoping that other people will see your value and give you more… (You know who you are)

If you’re hoping someone else will unlock your prison of under-earning for you…

Well, my friend, you are going to be waiting for a long time.

As the results show after 50 years of the U.S. Equal Pay Act and 30 years of aggressive Pay Equity legislation in most jurisdictions in Canada (except my province of BC) – there is a slow and painful reality to waiting for someone else – your boss, your spouse or even the government – to wake up and give you what you’re worth.

When YOU value your gifts and your services – truly value what you do and who you are – when YOU stand in that energy and YOU are willing to see your own magnificence, then others are able to see that too.

It truly is A Matter of Simple Justice to know your own worth! And if you’re having trouble inventorying your value on your own, ask for help!  Ask colleagues, friends and family (those whom you trust to give you a straight answer) what they value about you – your gifts, your strengths, and your assets.  You might be surprised to find out what they see in you.

It’s time. Time to do a little exploring. Time to inventory. Time to clarify. Time to ask.

Time to ride your own white horse to your own rescue.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it…

Journal this question: What could you do right now to honor your worth more? Right now. Commit to implementing one thing for the next 7 days.

Then come back in one week and journal this question:  What has changed for you?