What is the measure of true self esteem?

While fine-tuning a business plan and flipping through the latest copy of Fast Company, I asked myself, "If people are the most important assets of an organization, then how to measure ‘importance’ of a person?" From an introspective perspective, what are the measures of my/anyone’s true self esteem.

I attempted to remember writings/sayings of entrepreneurs and cool people and found answer in an old paper on effectuation, titled "What makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurial?" by Saras Sarasvathy. The measure of self esteem can be depicted in answers to three simple questions:

1. Who am I? (What are my traits, tastes and abilities)

2. What do I know? (What is my education, training, expertise and experience)

3. Who do I know? (What is my circle of influence – my social and professional network?)

I realize that at any time, I find myself working towards making the answers to these three questions, richer, more meaningful and more special. To my surprise, I validated that most cool people around me find themselves, working on the same.

Knowing answers to these three questions is indispensable for any entrepreneur and I constantly find myself prioritizing and re-prioritizing the order in which I should focus my energies on these questions. Is "Who am I?"more important than "Whom do I know?".. The quest continues..

Oh well, let’s be cognizant of what we know that we know, what we know that we don’t know and what we don’t know what we don’t know and create something extraordinary!


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2 thoughts on “What is the measure of true self esteem?

  1. Don’t you think the answers to these three questions are heavily interdependent? They strongly influence each other.
    What I know and who am I has a huge role to play in whom do I know and vice versa. So what is more important? I don’t know but I am inclined to think that this answer depends on what phase of your career/life are you.
    I suspect in one phase, you need to have a strong circle of influence because that has a good impact on where you are headed, what you know, and who you turn out to be. And in another stage, who you are is probably more important. Which stage comes first, I don’t know. But I think as you gain more experience, what you know becomes more important, because you start to become the circle of influence for someone.
    What do you think?

  2. Hi Sonal,
    Thanks for the note. That’s a very valid point. But, the secret is in the relentless quest for curiosity in all three areas. At any stage in my life, if I stop working on “whom do I know”, then that facet is likely to suffer.
    For example, if a person becomes the CEO of a company, then he/she would be the circle of influence for a lot of people. But, if that person continues the quest of meeting new people (even in the lower ranks of his/her company), then the knowledge gained from such relationships could be critical in defining the true self esteem.
    This is along the same lines as the principle of continuous self-improvement – Kaizen- that is adopted/promoted by the Japanese Samurais.

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