When I first ventured out into the world of entrepreneurship, self-esteem was something that I struggled with constantly. I was insecure, worried and fearful. Many people said I didn’t have the qualifications necessary to venture out as an entrepreneur because I was too young and inexperienced.

My lack of self-esteem stopped me from reaching my full potential. I was constantly seeking external acknowledgment in order to feel good about myself. Hence, I ended up wasting a lot of time, effort, and money focusing on unimportant things that didn’t really add value to my business. I also found myself falling into the procrastination trap where I began to postpone my tasks day after day.

Needless to say, my business didn’t grow and I felt really demotivated after a few months. This was when I realised it’s time to change and take some serious action towards building my own self-esteem.

As a budding entrepreneur, everything was new to me. I felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available when I was starting out. There was just so much to do, so much to learn and it’s really tough being an entrepreneur! So how do you stay calm, composed, and maintain a high level of self-esteem in a tough environment?

This is what I did as a starter guide to my own personal self-improvement.

Let’s use this as analogy. Imagine yourself as a dart board. Everything and everyone else around you may become dart pins, at one point or another. These dart pins will destroy your self-esteem and pull you down in ways you won’t even remember. The goal is not to let them destroy you, or get the best of you.

So which dart pins should you avoid?

Dart Pin #1: Negative Work Environments


Beware of the dog-eat-dog theory where everyone else is fighting just to get ahead. This is where non-appreciative people usually thrive. No one will appreciate your contributions even if you miss lunch and dinner and stay up late. Most of the time, you get to work too much without getting help from people concerned. Stay out of this: it will ruin your self-esteem. Competition is everywhere. Be healthy enough to compete, but in a healthy competition that is.

Dart Pin #2: Other People’s Behaviour


Bulldozers, brown nosers, gossipmongers, whiners, backstabbers, snipers, people walking wounded, controllers, naggers, complainers, exploders and patronisers: all these kinds of people will pose bad vibes for your self-esteem, as well as to your self-improvement scheme. Avoid these types of people like the plague! They tend to suck the positivity out of you. Eventually, you’ll end up feeling pessimistic about life and that is going to be really destructive to your self-esteem.

Dart Pin #3: Changing Environment


You can’t be a green bug on a brown field. Changes challenge our paradigms. It tests our flexibility, adaptability, and alters the way we think. Changes will make life difficult for a while, it may cause stress but it will help us find ways to improve our selves. Change will be there forever, we must be susceptible to it. Throwing yourself into a brand new environment is challenging but it’s also a very effective way to boost your own self-esteem quickly. Get up and do something new and scary today. That’s how you’ll grow and become stronger in the long run.

Dart Pin #4: Past Experience


It’s okay to cry and say “ouch!” when we experience pain. But don’t let pain transform itself into fear. It might grab you by the tail and swing you around. Treat each failure and mistake as a lesson. Learn from the past and be excited about the future because there are infinite opportunities for you out there. Do not let your past experiences define who you are in the future. Instead, use them as a stepping stone to becoming a better and stronger you.

Dart Pin #5: Negative Views of the World


Look at what you’re looking at. Don’t wrap yourself up with all the negativities of the world. In building self-esteem, we must learn how to make the best out of the worst situations. Embrace and acknowledge the negativities because they are a part of our life. The positives will never exist without the negatives.

Sometimes, you may want to wonder if some people are born leaders or positive thinkers. NO! Being positive, and staying positive is a choice. Building self-esteem and drawing lines for self-improvement is a choice, not a rule or a talent.

In life, it’s hard to stay tough especially when things and people around you keep pulling you down. When we get to the battle field, we should choose the right luggage to bring and armors to use, and pick those that are bullet proof. Life’s options give us wide arrays of more options. Along the battle, we will get hit and bruised. And wearing bullet proof armor ideally means self-change. The kind of change which comes from within. Voluntarily.

Building self-esteem will eventually lead to self-improvement if we start to become responsible for who we are, what we have, and what we do. It’s like a flame that should gradually spread like a brush fire from inside and out. When we develop self-esteem, we take control of our mission, values, and discipline. Self-esteem brings about self-improvement, true assessment, and determination. So how do you start putting up the building blocks of self-esteem? Be positive. Be contented and happy. Be appreciative. Never miss an opportunity to compliment. A positive way of living will help you build self-esteem, your starter guide to self-improvement.

Chloe Hung

International Actuarial Consultant and Coach at My Actual Resource
Chloe Hung is an International Actuarial Consultant and Coach and author of the book, “Strength in Numbers: An In-Depth Look at Actuarial Science for Math Enthusiasts”. One of her passions is to educate and empower aspiring individuals who wish to pursue sophisticated careers. Putting her actuarial knowledge and background to good use, Chloe is currently venturing in a partnership investment firm to help people increase their passive income via the stock market and ultimately achieve financial freedom. She also recently launched her own "Making the Shift" program, where she provides one-on-one coaching to university graduates and young individuals.

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