Self-esteem and career: understand the relationship and importance

Have you ever stopped applying for a job because you didn’t meet 100% of the requirements? Ever thought you couldn’t deliver a project at work? Or even stopped accepting a job opportunity because you felt like you couldn’t handle it? 


These and other questions are very harmful to the career and may be related to those who have low professional self-esteem.

If you identified yourself and would like to know more about it, keep reading!

What is self-esteem?

Before understanding how self-esteem can affect your career, it is important to first know what self- esteem is .

At first, it is necessary to understand that self-esteem is not something fixed, that you are born with it good or bad, in fact, it is built throughout life , according to the experiences of each one.


From your life experiences and the way you relate to other people, you will build an image about yourself, this self-perception is what we call self-esteem. That is, it is the way you see yourself in the world and what you believe you are capable of doing .

It is noteworthy that self-esteem is not associated with someone’s achievements, but with the thoughts that a person has about himself. For example, a person may have received several awards in their area of ​​expertise and still have low self-esteem, while another person who has never received any kind of recognition may have high self-esteem.

What is the relationship between self-esteem and career?

Imagine a fictional situation in which your manager calls you to lead a challenging project, something you have little knowledge and experience about, but she believes you are the ideal person for it. Would you accept the proposal or not?

It is possible that the answer is “Yes” if you have a positive self-perception, otherwise it is very likely that you have refused.

This is just one example of how self-image can harm you professionally, because, often, for personal and professional development to happen, you have to challenge yourself several times throughout your life.

You need to believe in your ability to be able to take a risk in your career, be it to change jobs , accept a new job front, apply for a leadership vacancy, etc. The important thing is to try and not let opportunities pass you by because you don’t believe in your capabilities.

Building good self-esteem increases your chances of taking more risks at work and, consequently, can bring you more opportunities and professional growth.

What is the importance of good professional self-esteem?

Self-esteem is what makes you believe that it is possible to face challenging situations in a realistic and positive way, and not give up or retreat without first trying.

That is, it increases resilience to deal with challenges and, in the professional sphere, it amplifies a person’s chances of accepting new opportunities and changes in a more optimistic and healthy way.

How to increase professional self-esteem?

Now that you’ve learned a little more about professional self-esteem, it’s time to put it all into practice and improve it with our tips.

1. Watch yourself

The first step is to self-analyze. How do you see yourself? How do you deal with criticism? Do you compare yourself a lot with others?

Ask yourself a series of questions and try to identify which scale you are on in terms of self-esteem, see if your self-image is more positive or negative, and only then move on to the next steps.

2. Adjust your perception

The misperception – perception of oneself that does not match reality – is the main cause of low self-esteem. That is, the way you see yourself is not always the way other people see you and when these two visions are very distant, your perception is possibly misfit.

To fix this and have a more realistic view of yourself, try to question thoughts that reinforce this negative image. One way to do this is, whenever this type of thought appears, to look for real data about it.

For example, imagine that you feel that you are not good at your job. Before accepting this idea as real, think “What proves that I am not good at work? Has anyone already given me feedback on this? Am I under-performing? What specifically am I doing that didn’t meet expectations?”

Always try to find data in reality that can prove that this happens, if you don’t find it, it is very likely that this interpretation is not real.

It is worth emphasizing that this will not always work, because there are cases in which the work environment is harmful or other atypical situations that may not be reliable to take them as definitive. To help with this, try to find more than one example to reinforce your idea.

3. Ask for feedback

To strengthen the previous exercise, ask for feedback from people you feel comfortable with at work, as they will help you build a real image of yourself.

Solicit both positive and negative feedback to gain a deeper understanding of how your co-workers see you.

4. Learn to deal with frustration in a healthy way

It’s not easy to deal with frustrations, but knowing how to deal with them in a healthy way is essential to boost your confidence.

Understand that mistakes and frustrations are not synonymous with failure, but a source of learning. Learning to deal with disappointments constructively and optimistically will help you not to blame yourself or doubt your capabilities.

So, when you make a mistake or fail to do something, see it as an experience and don’t blame yourself for it, learn and change for the next times you face similar challenges.

5. Ask for help from a professional

Finally, to help put all of this into practice, seek help from a psychologist, these professionals are experts in human behavior and can guide you in the best way possible to make these changes happen.