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How to Assess Your Value

This week I had an interesting conversation about value.

The person I was coaching said, “I didn’t really do anything yesterday – I was a real piece of s**t.” And something really important clicked for me.

There’s a huge difference between your economic value (what you output and give to society) and your inherent value as a human being.

I have been guilty of this for many years and still struggle with it. But a new way of thinking about people and their value can help you be a better human.

We often think of how valuable a person is by their economic value. How much do they make? How advanced is their career? How many things have they accrued? How nice are their cars?

But none of this matters to the inherent value of another human being.

I’ve had to fire people in the past for bringing down a team and not doing the work they were assigned to do. But that absolutely doesn’t mean that the person getting fired was less valuable. Yes, it’s true, they were no longer economically viable to keep on the payroll – but that fact DOES NOT diminish their value as a human one iota.

You can see it often – picture the person yelling, “Get a job!” to a homeless person asking for money on the street corner. Their misplaced value of that person says they are less than because they have less than others.

You see it when a person in the workplace is disrespectful to the janitor or the security guard or the delivery person.

Every one – EVERY PERSON – has immense value. And even if they can do nothing for you – that doesn’t diminish it at all.

This mindset shift is important – it will help you understand to be more compassionate with others. It will help you not be so frustrated the next time the panhandler asks you for money. It will help you transform the way you think about yourself too.

You are not your career – no matter how successful you are. That didn’t increase your inherent value at all. Sure, your bank account might have more than most people around you, but that does not mean you’re better than any of them.

Even if you’re great to those around you and see the inherent value in every human – I bet you’re not that way with yourself all the time.

It’s sneaky and insidious – you feel bad after an unproductive day. You forgot to run an errand – so you internally call yourself a name. You missed a key deadline at work – you call yourself a lazy son-of-a-… you get the picture.

You are valuable.
Treat yourself as such.

When you separate your economic value from your inherent value, you’ll be transformed into someone you might not even recognize. And others will see it too.

And the big surprise is, when you separate your work output from your value as a human being, you are freed up to get more done and create more economic value.