Recently I was talking with a group of friends, congratulating one on a recent graduation from grad school. She ducked her head and mumbled her thanks then proceeded to discount her happiness with statements like, “…Thanks, but it ‘s not really that big of a deal…” She felt too prideful and almost guilty for her success!  

We tend to do that even with the small stuff, like when someone compliments your new outfit, you tell them you got it on sale – you know, just to make sure no one thinks you deserve to buy something all full price! Ever talk yourself out of that loaded baked potato or wine pairing at a special dinner? You may not even know you’re devaluing yourself and what you deserve.  

In a recent Harvard study, about narrowing the gender gap. Researchers found that women won’t advocate as strongly for themselves as they do for someone else. When it comes to raises, women won’t negotiate as tough as they would if they were negotiating on someone else’s behalf! It’s time to stop that!  

Worth It

My friend hadn’t made room for the possibility that she would actually reach her goal and so now she was struggling with the end result – success! Sometimes we keep our head down, so focused on the immediate goal that we fail to pat ourselves on the back at the milestones (or allow others to toot our horn!).  

It’s time to shed that feeling! If we don’t know our own worth, how will others? When it comes time to ask for a raise, or a job, or help with a project – you need to know you’re worth the time, expense or effort. We all deserve to be rewarded after hard work. Embrace your achievements! You deserve to be happy – it’s all part of knowing your worth. So how do we get there?!  

Support System

First, surround yourself with friends and colleagues that lift you up and don’t tear you down. Don’t spend time with those who wallow in self-pity or jealousy. People who celebrate your achievements will also challenge you to reach new levels. These friends should also be part of your plan – remember the plan for your life? If connections and your support systems aren’t in your written plan, go add them right now! 

Second, take a moment to reflect on your hard work and all the steps you took. It wasn’t effortless – I promise you that! Chances are, you’ve been plowing through life and forgot to look up and catalog your successes. Do your successes match up with your plan? Are you on the right track? Set a schedule every two months to review your plan and keep your successes on point.  

Finally, go do something nice for yourself. Get a massage, go out to a nice restaurant, take a day off and read a favorite book, buy the dress or suit – go get that baked potato! You deserve it!  

Then when you’ve reassessed your plan, leveraged your network, and done something self-congratulatory – go hit it again! Don’t stop now, you’re on a roll!