Being proud of your work and showing some self-esteem and confidence will get you a long way in life. However, at the office, sometimes it’s the ability to forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes that’s more valuable than pure ego. Self-compassion can help you learn and grow, which is key to succeeding in any career.
Dr Heidi Grant Halvorson, of the Columbia University Business School, explains in a post at the Harvard Business Review that self-esteem is less valuable to your career or professional success than the ability to really learn from your mistakes and forgive yourself for making them:
A growing body of research, including new studies by Berkeley’s Juliana Breines and Serena Chen, suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key to unlocking your true potential for greatness.
Now, I know that some of you are already sceptical about a term like “self-compassion.” But this is a scientific, data-driven argument – not feel-good pop psychology. So hang in there and keep an open mind.
Self-compassion is a willingness to look at your own mistakes and shortcomings with kindness and understanding – it’s embracing the fact that to err is indeed human. When you are self-compassionate in the face of difficulty, you neither judge yourself harshly, nor feel the need to defensively focus on all your awesome qualities to protect your ego. It’s not surprising that self-compassion leads, as many studies show, to higher levels of personal well-being, optimism and happiness, and to less anxiety and depression.
Ultimately, her point is that you’re more likely to succeed if you’re willing to see your own weaknesses as changeable things you can correct, understand when you’re making a mistake or when you’re told you’re in error, and move on committed to learning and improving. Everyone makes mistakes, Dr Halvorson explains, but the truly successful people learn and move on precisely because they know how to forgive themselves first.
Picture: Neil T/Flickr