My Salary is My Self-Worth

There are many different ways to consider your own self worth. Depending on your perspective, you either compare yourself to what you are doing for others or what you are doing for yourself. This pod explores how we identify worth with ourselves and those around us.

March 23, 2021

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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long in features your hosts, JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:18  
Most I'm super excited about today's topic, meaty is it's about self worth.

Unknown Speaker  0:27  
Yeah, which,

JJ Parker  0:28  
when barf maybe are like our first thought on self worth is it's about your income. Right?

Melissa Albers  0:37  
Yeah. That's how the topic originally came up. Right?

JJ Parker  0:39  
Yeah. But it's like, it's about so much more. Like, when I started thinking about it this morning. I like wrote this entire notebook of No. Which was kind of fun. So like, let's dive in like, so you said, that's how this topic came up. We were doing our TSA Jay live like our live podcast with a bunch of people on it. Yeah. And we're talking about how you advocate for yourself. Right? Yep. And the topic came up about advocating for your compensation, right, advocated for how much you get paid at work, which kind of morphed into this, this conversation about how a lot of times your income is tied to your self worth?

Melissa Albers  1:29  
I think more than a lot of times, I think most of the time, it is. Yeah, so the time particularly younger in life.

JJ Parker  1:38  
Well, that's super interesting. I want to dive into that a little bit. I might want to, I might challenge you on that. Okay.

Melissa Albers  1:49  
Okay, good.

JJ Parker  1:51  
In my notes, I wanted to start off. So I started off with Okay, what is like the definition of self worth? Because I wanted to get like a better understanding of of what those words mean. Because I think a lot of times like the definition of our language, right, even though we make, we might not be able to like come up with these definitions, they certainly impact how we think for sure. So one definition, straight up in the dictionary said, self worth another word for self esteem. And the definition of self esteem is confidence in one's own worth or ability. And I was like, that's the like, that doesn't align with my view of, of self worth is I don't feel well, it's a little bit of self esteem. But I think it's more than that.

Melissa Albers  2:44  
Okay. And

JJ Parker  2:46  
then a second dictionary, this is why like when dictionaries don't agree, that should be a game show. dictionaries don't when dictionaries don't agree.

Unknown Speaker  2:57  
He feels like

JJ Parker  2:59  
you can win prizes if you guess which dictionary is right or wrong.

Second dictionary, well, yeah. All right. A feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect. That is a another definition of self worth from a different dictionary.

Melissa Albers  3:24  
That is interesting. Isn't that interesting? Yeah. Very.

JJ Parker  3:28  
So what would you say? Like your definition of self worth is? How would you define it if someone just asked you?

Melissa Albers  3:37  
Yeah, that's an interesting question. I think, for me, what comes up is self worth, as it relates to how I think about myself is, do I think I am worthy of something in a given topic? So do I think I'm worthy of sharing my opinion in front of others? Do I think I do. I think I'm good enough to be this person in this role. I think it's, it's tied to, if I think I'm good enough for something.

JJ Parker  4:12  

Melissa Albers  4:13  
How about you?

JJ Parker  4:13  
Do you? Well, do you think that is a confidence thing? Are you alluding to like, it's, it's confidence is part of your self worth?

Melissa Albers  4:23  

JJ Parker  4:23  

Melissa Albers  4:25  
For sure. I think so. Yeah. How about you? Yeah.

JJ Parker  4:30  
Well, refer me. Like, my self worth. Seems to be tied to like, like what I'm doing for others, like what I'm doing for the world, like, like, like I, my self worth increases as I'm able to, like produce and provide for others. And it decreases if I can't do that.

Melissa Albers  5:01  
That's so interesting.

JJ Parker  5:02  
Yeah. Other way it moves for me, is based on, as I was reflecting on this, frankly, it's like, it's based on my, like, the way I identify, or myself like, I, I feel like I am a creative person I like really attached to the idea of being creative. Yep. Right. Yeah. And if I'm not being creative, like my creativity is, like, seems to be fairly, like, attached to my self worth. So it's

Melissa Albers  5:41  
super interesting.

JJ Parker  5:42  
But it but it shouldn't be. And, and it shouldn't be. And we talk a lot about that particular thing, especially like in the artist community, because we all know that attaching yourself worth to your current creative output is a very dangerous thing to to mentally write, actually, you

Melissa Albers  6:06  
know what going along that string, what you just said, Does that make sense? Like, if I were to think about it like that, what you said is your greatest strength, your natural, greatest strength, which is your creativity, or one of your greatest strengths, you attach yourself worth to your ability to bring that to the world and help people with it. So if I already use that same analogy with me, I would say I think my greatest strength is to connect with people, and to be able to help people see themselves in a different way. And if I use that same way of thinking, I feel the same. So if I'm not able to do that, you know, and we've talked about that in the past, if I'm not able to do that role well, because I think it's my greatest gift to the world. If I can't do that for someone, then if I'm not aware, I can feel really bad and feel like, wow, it's I'm not. I'm not I'm not feeling good at all. Yeah, that's really interesting.

JJ Parker  7:04  
So there's a whole bunch of different ways that we might do that evaluation. Yeah. Yeah. But the other thing I was thinking about is salt. Like, like your self worth, like, we're talking about? Like, evaluate, evaluating ourselves, like this is a self evaluation thing. Totally. No one else is setting it. It's like, it's not external. Right? It's not external. It's like completely internal. And we're the only ones that are doing it. And we're doing it to ourselves. And it's usually not positive. Right?

Melissa Albers  7:43  
Yes, exactly. Right. Exactly. Why,

JJ Parker  7:45  
why are we doing that?

Melissa Albers  7:51  
I think I think as you know, and as we've been on this self awareness journey for the last several months, I think we're recognizing that when we are in more unaware states we do that more we judge ourselves more we go down the more negative perspectives, right, we don't give them equal time. The more aware we become, the less apt we are to judge ourselves harshly.

JJ Parker  8:17  
Mm hmm.

Melissa Albers  8:18  
I think. So I think a lot of it has to do with awareness. And then I think it also has to do and I'd be interested to hear what you think. But don't you think it has a lot to do with your peer group to like, the people around you, you want to be in alignment with them? We always talk about that tribe mentality. It's like, yeah, I want to be like that.

JJ Parker  8:38  
Well, I yeah, I wrote a whole bunch of stuff down like, that. Typically might affect someone's feeling of self worth. Right. And I think some of them are interesting, like, beyond your income, which is like, the the most in the most, like, immediate example that people come to, there's like appearance, right? How you look maybe like how you dress like kinds of clothes. Like there's a whole fashion thing. I think most of fashion is based on this idea. You're now net worth, right? Like maybe not just what you're making now. But your your total net worth. Who you know, right? Like you said, it's like that it's Yeah. Obviously, like, your career, but maybe more like what you've achieved. It's not maybe even matching up to what you think you should have achieved. So you don't you know, you have low self worth. Even some simple things like I had a really big to do list this week. I didn't get anything done. I'm so horrible. I'm a loser. Yeah, why can't I get anything done?

Melissa Albers  9:55  
Why am I not productive ever? Yeah, right. The self talk piece in there. To

JJ Parker  10:01  
the other thing that I think, really is not very healthy. Especially if you're not in a good place with, like, with self esteem is like social media, right? Like, how many likes did this post get? How many followers do I have? Like, right? And, and a lot of things on social media are so staged or produced that you're comparing yourselves against, like, fake reality is and and and if you don't have a good context for that it can be really harmful. Yeah, but even things like age, right? Like, well I can't do that anymore because I'm too old or whatever. I can't do that yet cuz I'm too young. Let's go with that second one. I like that.

Melissa Albers  10:56  
I like that one better. I was waiting to see if you were looking at me, especially when you said that.

JJ Parker  11:06  
And, like, even like your like you were getting to your relationships, right? Like, am I married or not? Like, Hey, I'm 35 and not married? I must not be a worthy, you know, partner or something. Yeah. Which is, which is not true. And that's a guy that's like a self inflicted? Yep, thing.

Melissa Albers  11:28  
Yeah, there's that there's a we could we could dive into all of those. I would really like it though, if we could come back and talk about the money one. Yep. And the reason I want to talk about that is because really, that was what got us on this whole string. This whole conversation started, because in that dialogue with the group, someone said that they had, they had to ask for a raise, or they wanted to ask for a raise. And they had a tremendous amount of fear doing it or something like that. I don't remember the exact context. Yeah. But you remember how that really got us thinking? Like, that's the thing people feel very tied to how much money they make will make them feel better about who they are? Yes. And there's a there's, you know, there's logical reasons for us to start in that thinking pattern, right, and we have to have our bills paid, we have to feel safe in this world so that we can provide for ourselves or for those that we love. But oftentimes, we go to that really slippery slope, where we tie how we're really valued. Are we valuable? Based on our w two?

JJ Parker  12:46  
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I've seen lots of really good people struggle, because of that very thing. And, and I think it's and it's, it's sad, like, it's, I mean, it, it makes me feel bad for them, because I know that their income like that, like you said that w two, yeah, isn't, isn't what they're all about. I mean, most people are about so much more, and have so much more to offer. And using that one metric to judge themselves is Yeah, is is not is not a great place to be,

Melissa Albers  13:27  
I think, do there's certain key roles and certain kinds of people where this bothers them even more. Yeah, I remember years ago, years ago, I was coaching a guy who made a great living. And he was a salesperson. And he did such a great job that they promoted him to the VP of the sales group, and he didn't want that job. But there was no one else better suited for him. And so they tried to attach a huge pile of money to it, and asked him to just kind of get over how he felt about going into it. He really didn't feel like that was going to be his place. And he had been the number one sales guys for guy for years and years. Anyway, long story short, he hated the job so much. And it messed him up his mind, his heart, everything he was so messed up. So they hired me to see if I could help him. And I asked, Can we have his old job back? And it was just a really interesting experience, because he was very emotional, as we talked over several hours. And he said, Do you think I could have that job back? And I said, Absolutely. And so he started to talk about it. And he said, I don't even care about this other money. I you know, I thought that would make it okay, I thought I'd be able to do things, you know, and just get over the fact that I really didn't feel like this was my thing. And anyway, short, long story short, he went back into his old role. He excelled there, and he is still there after years and years. But what's really interesting is this was in the summer and over the Fourth of July long week. And which was occurring the week after we met. He left a very long voicemail for me on purpose, knowing that I wouldn't answer because it was the weekend. And he said, Why do men tie so much of their self worth to their jobs? He said, I have these great boys. I love my family, my kids play basketball. And I have so many things in my life that I really love. And why is it that I got so wrapped up in what my job was and how much money I was making? And it made me absolutely miserable. And why do men have to be like that? So that was him talking? You know, he was putting himself and he was saying that all men feel like this. And I just remember being so blown away by the authenticity of the voicemail that he left me that day.

JJ Parker  15:49  
That's awesome. Well, that is really interesting insight. I didn't I hadn't. I hadn't really actually thought about how self worth might differ between genders. Right?

Melissa Albers  16:03  
Yeah. Well, I

JJ Parker  16:05  
did. Also I did. I was thinking about like, like, if, you know, if you're maybe a stay at home mom, how your self worth might be tied to? How like, if dinner's ready at 5pm, or something, or some like metric of how well your classic? Yeah. You might get tied up if like your children are misbehaving, that's a reflection on you. The work thing for men is, is really interesting, because I do think there is, you know, there is almost that, like, if you want to be really basic about it, there's almost those super classic hunter gatherer roles, right? still kind of in play across genders, even though in today's society, they don't make as much sense,

Melissa Albers  16:54  
right? Yeah, yeah.

JJ Parker  16:57  
1000s of years ago, they did. And they're still kind of like wired in the brain. Right? Yeah. So this idea that maybe men should be going out there, then hunting and bringing back the kill, which would be on stability, the salary, the the the income? Yeah. for the, for the tribe, for the for the family. That's really interesting.

Melissa Albers  17:20  
I think to like, if you want to take it to that, to that part, I would also say like from the female perspective, you have that archetype of the female wanting to be at home, you also have been wanting to be at home now. And switching roles, but the energy and the feelings within those roles, I think remain. But the other thing that's really interesting, I think about women and self worth is, and I've grappled with this myself, now I'm almost 54 years old. And I have always been somebody who has prided myself on being able to make money. And when I had children, I wanted to do both. I wanted to be at home, and I wanted to make the money. So that put me in such a hard position because I couldn't do either one of them to the level of experience that I would feel was 100%. Right. So I even so I remember saying to other salespeople, when I started hiring salespeople, and I was a sales leader, I would say, you know, if you're a mom, I just think the minute you have children, you don't really feel good anymore, no matter what. When you're at home, you feel guilty that you're not at work. And when you're at work, you feel guilty that you're not at home.

JJ Parker  18:37  
Yeah, that's a tough, that's a tough position.

Melissa Albers  18:40  
But it's all intermixed with this. It's the same thing. It's just a different perspective from someone else's experience. Yeah.

JJ Parker  18:47  
Here's a couple other questions. This The thing I wanted to push back on you about was was the age thing, right? Oh, yeah. What I was thinking, or, I don't know, I don't know. This is I don't want to be too, like, stereotypical here. But maybe I'm going to be because I feel like the baby boomer generation really, really prided themselves on on these financial metrics. Like, how much income do I have? Did I climb the corporate ladder? Do I have a big house? Do I have a fancy car? Like these were all very, yeah, these are very materialistic. Yeah. valuations of themselves. Right? Right. And I'm just wondering if, like it was, so I would I was observing is that generation and a little bit into the Gen Xers, right? Like still kind of carried that way of valuing themselves? Right? What I observe in some of our younger generations The millennials and the even younger, especially the ones that worked for me, they are valuing money, way less than my older employee population. Like they value time they value experiences like, like they would rather get paid less but be able to work from wherever they want. Yes. or they'd like, you know, like the pay is not the number one thing.

Melissa Albers  20:23  

JJ Parker  20:23  
you're right. You're which I think is super interesting.

Melissa Albers  20:27  
Hey, were you in that CEO roundtable group that had the speaker come in that spoke about generations? And oh, yeah, valued themselves?

JJ Parker  20:35  
Yeah, I think that was that was really fun. This is why I kind of like remembered some of that stuff.

Melissa Albers  20:40  
So So what it was was every fourth generation repeats itself. That was the premise. Yeah. So he was saying that the like millennials right now are very much like the generate their generation that they map to was the generation right after the war, which was an all for one and one for all mentality. And everyone needs to be come along together. Otherwise, we're not we're it's not working. And so that's exactly what you're talking about. So they were no longer interested in standing out alone. Like, I'm all these things, you know, and I'm Yeah, everybody else. Yeah.

JJ Parker  21:13  
I don't want to beat up on the beat up on the boomers too much. But there was like a lot of ego in that generation. Right. I mean, that was like the Mad Men, right? That whole scene? Everyone watch that show?

Unknown Speaker  21:27  
Now you be careful. We

Unknown Speaker  21:28  
have not you. You're you're younger than No.

Unknown Speaker  21:34  
I know that calling you out?

JJ Parker  21:39  
dangerously close. But

Melissa Albers  21:45  
I think but what actually, so I'm going to tell you, when I refer to the age thing, what I was actually referring to was being in your own skin longer. That's what I was referring to. I think that when you are younger, and you have to advocate for something for yourself, you don't have the experience, and perhaps know how to advocate for yourself in that self worth. That's what I was referring to an ad Yeah, the older you get a little more mature and a little more like, No, I've been around the block a little bit. I actually, I've proven to myself that I can do this.

JJ Parker  22:23  
Yeah. And I think that's where we, when we first started, we were talking about how confidence plays into self worth. And I think you're hitting that right there is that is that there is an element, just like that first dictionary definition that talks about self esteem, there probably is an element of confidence. That helps your self worth right. You feel more worthy. When you do get that bit of confidence. Yes. So I don't think that definition is completely wrong.

Melissa Albers  22:51  

JJ Parker  22:52  
I thought at the beginning.

Melissa Albers  22:54  
Yeah, that's really interesting. And I just think, you know, it's like I yeah, as you think about self worth, how do you create awareness about what you consider worthy?

JJ Parker  23:08  
You know, what's like your own value system, right? Kind of like what we're saying is like, some people do literally value the income as the most important thing, but some value other stuff, like their time, their contribution to the world, you know, who who they're impacting around them, maybe. Maybe they're more immediate family, maybe the universe at large. You know, what, it's different for everyone.

Melissa Albers  23:31  
It's different for everyone. And there's also times I think, where it's a really good idea to stop in and kind of evaluate it and see if you're still in your same spot that you want to be I just realized this week, I had a coaching client that came to a close in the in the coaching process. And we were talking about the experience, and you know, what he had found valuable, and he said, Well, the stuff that I came here for I you know, I got I definitely got but he said with I think the number one thing that I'm taking away from our conversations is that the people that I've been hanging around the longest, have been thinking like me, but I was stuck. And these conversations because you don't think like me, you made me realize that there's a lot of other ways to think about things.

JJ Parker  24:21  
Oh, that's awesome. And I was like,

Melissa Albers  24:22  
that is such a nice compliment. But it wasn't really about me. He was just reflecting on that perspective. And I thought, wow, that's an expansive shift. Anybody to be to realize that?

JJ Parker  24:35  
Yeah. Yeah, that's awesome.

Melissa Albers  24:37  
Yeah. So

JJ Parker  24:38  
one other thought, Yeah, I don't want to like make those podcasts too long.

Melissa Albers  24:43  
Was it supposed to be a car ride like remember that

JJ Parker  24:45  
that's a car a better we just do another damper on the parking lot. Want so they'll do the only last thing I was thinking about was with self worth. And was was it cultural or something Things cultural, because I remember hearing once that, and you'll probably like, notice right away is like that. Like in Britain, they have this phrase like, like they will openly talk about their salary. But they won't talk about politics. But in the United States, we don't talk about our salary. But we'll happily talk about politics. It's like reversed. Right. Have you heard this? No, no. Okay. Well, I don't think I'm making that up. I might be making that up. But. But I think that's interesting from a cultural perspective, right? Like where, yeah, in the United States, there is like this taboo conversation around how much money you make. And I think it's because the American culture is really ties just generally are across the board, our self worth to income. So we're just kind of like we don't like to compare. We're not people, you already are maybe embarrassed you maybe you don't want to brag, like all sorts of emotion all tied into this one number. You're right. Whereas on the other side of the pond, maybe like Beto cares, it's like, yo, salary is a fine conversation, or they don't want you to know what they think politically. Right.

Melissa Albers  26:18  
Very interesting conversation.

JJ Parker  26:21  
Yeah. Well, any other deep thoughts on on self worth? Like, one of my last questions for you is? How do you think, you know, if you are kind of feeling low in the self worth? bucket? Yeah. How do you how do you build that up a little bit? What are what are some things that you can think of that would help help boost that? Well,

Melissa Albers  26:52  
one of the things that I'm always fond of saying is give the positive equal time. So I think a lot of times we get into our heads and we start telling ourselves stories, you know, like, the story I'm telling myself is I'm not good enough. The story I'm telling myself as I don't make enough money, the story I'm telling myself is that this, the job I have isn't good enough or worthy of me, and I'm not doing anything to change that. So I think we tell ourselves a lot of stories. And I think that in order to start shifting that a little bit, it's then at least give the positive equal time meaning, this job is not worthy of me, and I'm not pushing myself. And there's been reasons that I haven't but that's okay. Because now I know that it's time to So just to give ourselves that other side to start to balance out that, you know, the real the real time talk and chatter that's going on. That's one thing that I think is a really helpful thing to do.

JJ Parker  27:46  
Yeah, for me, it's don't over associate with your art. And when I say art, that could be your job. your hobbies, your projects, but just don't over associate like, I am not my art. I am not my job, right. I am not my Whatever. I'm not any of those things. I'm all of those things, but I'm not any particular one of those things. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  28:12  
great advice. We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own thoughts and feelings. We'd love your support. First, share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy it. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast site. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey.com. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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