What is self esteem? The official definition of the defines it as . Do you appreciate your own worth? are you accountable for all your behaviors? do you act responsibly...and respectfully..towards others?

Can we continue to build our self esteem as we grow older? YES! Is our self esteem ever finally settled? NO!

The process of building self esteem goes this way: a new reflection, a new experience...leads to a new success or failure which, in turn, leads to a new or revised statement/image of the self. In this fashion each person's self concept usually evolves throughout his/her lifetime.
Dorothy Briggs

A commitment to awareness - the will to understand - is the central pillar of positive self esteem..it entails the behavior of seeking to integrate, to the best of our knowledge and abiltity, that which enters our mental field, as well as the effort to keep expanding that field.
Nathaniel Branden, .

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
Gloria Steinem, .

Our true personal growth begins age 40.
Carl Jung, psychologist


*And, use these 3 A's with each of the 8-As: be ACCOUNTABLE and ACCELERATE your growth by taking ACTION!

Acceptance means accepting ourselves, accepting who we are. Knowing our strengths as well as our weaknesses is an important aspect of building our positive self esteem. Accepting means knowing I am O.K just as I am; knowing IALAC (Sid Simon) = I am lovable and capable. When I know I don't need to DO anything to be worthwhile, that I can just BE, I am lovable and capable. Accepting means knowing that we are all born with one unit of worth which never changes, thus we are all equal AND we are also totally unique from anyone else in the universe. (Each of us is one in 1,000,000,000,000).

Action Steps: Reflect on/Meditate on the specialness of YOU...Find times to just BE....Accept yourself for whom you are.
Read and watch Eckhart Tolle, author of discuss how to BE in the present by accepting ourself.

We need to ACKNOWLEDGE OURSELVES in order to build our self esteem: we need to acknowledge our actions, our positive behaviors, our courage and our caring. Do you acknowledge yourself whenever you do or say something admirable/constructive/positive ? How often do you take a moment to pat yourself on the back for a job well done or for a kind action or for an act of courage?
We also need to ASK for acknowledgment: tell others how we like to be acknowledged. Do you like to have a hug or do you want verbal or written acknowledgment? do you want public or private acknowledgment?
And, when you are acknowledged, remember to simply say thank you - just listen and take it in.
Do you TELL others of your positive actions? Others may not notice. Overcome that message from childhood that tells you not to “brag” or have a “swelled head.” It's good to tell others of your worth so that they notice it. Of course you need to notice it in yourself first.
Others see you the way you see yourself, so if you see yourself as a worthwhile person, others will also perceive you that way.
And remember to ACKNOWLEDGE OTHERS. Give positive feedback such as telling people what you appreciate, send notes, give pats on the back or hugs. How often do you acknowledge others? My clients often report that being acknowledged by me for their actions is the only time they get acknowledged! The basic premise from the The One Minute Manager books by Ken Blanchard is to catch someone being good...and tell them! According to him, the ratio of compliments to criticisms in life should be 4:1, yet for most of us this ratio is the reverse: we get 4 criticisms for every 1 compliment! and we've even learned to accept that! Accept it no longer! Change your feedback ratios for good!

Action Steps: Keep a daily list of actions that build your self esteem and acknowledge yourself for taking those actions. Tell others about your positive actions - Brag a little! ASK for acknowledgment and GIVE lots of acknowledgment.

The more we set goals and achieve them, the better we feel about ourselves. Self esteem is built over the years through our continued achievements: this is the DOING aspect of self esteem building. Achievements give us tangible and concrete proof of our successes...and (learning from) our failures. Our achievements are visible to others also, so we are more likely to be acknowledged for our achievements. Many of us take our achievements for granted and thus an opportunity is missed to build our self esteem. Notice your achievements. Remember past achievements. Ask others to help you notice and remember your achievements. Learn to take responsible risks to help you be more successful with your achievements.

Action Steps: List 100 Achievements throughout your lifetime: what were your achievements as a child? as an adolescent? as a young adult? as a parent? as a professional? - and continue to add to this list each day.
Read my chapter RISK-TAKING and BUILDING SELF ESTEEM> in the book edited by Marilyn Schwader

Affiliations are our connections and relationships with others. Connections bring us happiness and health and high self esteem. Numerous studies prove that relationships with our significant others reduce the risk of death as well as increase health! We survive and thrive with our affiliations, so we need to appreciate and nurture our relationships and continually build new ones.
Action Steps: Increase your affiliation bank: make a list of 100 people you know. Contact people with whom you have lost touch, call someone you haven'’t talked to lately, make a date with a friend today, network to make new connections to create new affiliations.

Attraction is a way of life; it is our modus operandi. We are always attracting things and people into our life, so why not be conscious of what/whom we are attracting and be purposeful about it. Let'’s learn to attract what/whom we want into our life and stop attracting what we don’'t want. We are attractive when we are whole and present so that we effortlessly draw into our life what we want. Attraction is more than physical appearance, although how we look is part of our attractiveness. Being attractive involves being physically healthy, being confident, being present, being sensitive and supportive, being honest, and much more.
There are 28 Principles of Attraction, according to Thomas Leonard, author of We first need to become attractive to ourselves by working on our personal foundation before we can become attractive to others. The current movie tells us that the real secret is that what we focus on we will attract...so we need to be sure to focus on what we want, not what we don't want.

Action Steps: Practice Attraction Principle #1: Become Selfish: you must satisfy your needs and wants before you can give to others. Fill up yourself in order to reach your potential, become fulfilled, find your passion: this is extremely attractive...and always keep your focus on what you want.

Attitude is everything, they say; we are in charge of our attitudes. Our attitude about ourself is the cornerstone of our self esteem. We need to be aware of our attitude..is it positive or negative? How strong is your inner critic? We need to learn ways to argue with our inner, negative self-talk, often called our vulture or gremlin, and then we need to find ways to reduce or eliminate this inner critic. Most of us need an attitude readjustment in order to build our self esteem!
Remember Eleanor Roosevelt
There are many techniques and methods to help you make shifts or even breakthroughs in your thinking. The good news is that you can change your attitude to better serve you; the bad news is that it is not easy; it takes time and hard work.

Action Steps: Keep track of all your negative self talk during the day in order to become more aware of all the negative messages you give yourself. Then ARGUE with these negative statements! Replace them with positive statements such as Affirmations. Simply notice your self talk and let it go.

Affirmations are strong, positive statements that are said as if they are already true about you. The theory is that by stating these affirmations, eg. I am a dynamic and interesting speaker,
we see ourselves AS IF the statement is true and thus create a gap that we are naturally drawn to close. We become what we believe. There are specific guidelines on how to write, verbalize, and integrate affirmations into our lives; it is a technique that can be learned. Using visualizations along with Affirmations can add even more power to the statements.

Action Steps: Write three affirmations and repeat them 20 times each per day. Read Shakti Gawain's book, to learn how to integrate affirmations and visualizations into your life. Read by Michael Losier, for the best way to write and use affirmations.

Assertiveness means getting your needs met while respecting the rights of others as well as respecting yourself. Assertiveness is first an attitude based upon your belief that you have the right to get your needs met. Then there are specific techniques/skills that can be learned to help you set boundaries and standards to be assertive.

Action Steps: Take an Assertiveness Training Seminar at a local community college.
Read by Linda Adams. Take my 6-session eCourse on Assertiveness Training.

To be AUTHENTIC = genuine, veritable, bona fide, being actually and precisely what is claimed; not imaginary or false . Webster's Dictionary
When I’'m being authentic I feel confident, focused, present, energized, creative, loving, happy, joyful. Finding and expressing my authentic self is crucial to achieving my high self esteem. Living my whole Self is the only way to be truly happy and at peace with my Self. When I am authentic I am congruent with my feelings and thoughts and behaviors; when I am authentic I express my honestly and freely; when I am authentic I have the best chance to reach my potential, connect with my passions, create my perfect life, become fulfilled and self actualized.
There are many ways to learn to be authentic; it is a lifelong process but well worth the effort.

Action Steps: Take assessment tools (self esteem profile, risk assessment..and more found at www.ingearcoaching.com) to determine your current level of authenticity.

(copyright - all rights reserved - Laurie R. Geary, 2008)

(Entire articles on each A in this article are available for free at my website: www.ingearcoaching.com/newsletters)

Author's Bio: 

Laurie Geary, M.Ed, Professional Certified Coach, of In Gear Coaching & Training, has over 25 years of experience as a trainer, educator, and consultant and over eight years of experience as a personal and professional coach. One of the first graduates of CoachU and one of the first to be certified by ICF (International Coach Federation) she is currently on the Board of Directors of ICF New England.

She was a frequent presenter (Interactive Games and Initiatives for Learning) at the International Coach Federation Conferences and, as a certified Teleclass Leader, she has designed and facilitated many teleclasses on subjects related to coaching (eg. Responsible Risk-taking, Building Self Esteem, Coaching Yourself to Success).

Laurie specializes in coaching clients in transition: life, career, retirement, as well as supporting new coaches in building their business. She helps clients find their passion and learn to attract what they want into their life. Fluent in Spanish, she also provides coaching and training in Spanish. As a corporate trainer, Laurie currently works for Outward Bound Professionals, Right Management Consultants, and the Teacher Education Institute.

Laurie has developed unique models for taking risks and building self esteem, and is a co-author of the book: which includes her chapter on . She has also written the workbook: . She has also produced a manual for trainers (based on her years of experience as an instructor for Outward Bound): She has recently written a 6-session eBook on Assertiveness Training. Archives of her newsletter, …with over 150 articles related to coaching concerns… can be found at her website: www.ingearcoaching.com

Laurie has been featured in the or Retirement Coaching and was recently spot-lighted in the new coach magazine from England: She has also been heard on the radio and seen on Cape Ann Cable T.V. Most recently she appeared on WBZ Boston television with host, Liz Walker, discussing which can be viewed at her website..