“Sabbatical is over!” I told my husband when I returned from a 3-day conference in LA on Monday.

I returned on fire after three days with a thousand other course creators. I have a burning desire to share, coach, and launch stronger than ever before.

Stay tuned because cool things are cooking, including a FREE 3-day masterclass about using a life vision to create a life you love.  

Among the experiences I had over the weekend was bending a spoon! It was liberating to physically see how I can bend reality. How we all can.

But I wanted to talk about something else today. I wanted to talk about how feeling unappreciated holds you back.

After returning, I focused on hiring a new full-time member for my team to help me with my big plans.

I wanted to hire slowly this time. Take my time to find the right person for me and the business.

Soon, as I usually do, I fell in love with one candidate. The cognitive ability test results were sky-high, and the communication skills were excellent. The experience was on point, and she kept giving all the right answers.

Then, I went on LinkedIn to check out her profile. And this was her last post from about a month ago:

“Finally left that workplace where I was very unappreciated, and let me tell you… it feels good!”

Many of her other posts in the past years were talking about toxic leaders and toxic workplaces.

Based on this social media activity, I decided not to hire this person. Now, let me unpack the why.

Controversial Opinion

It is not your boss’s or your client’s job to validate your self-esteem.

I did not always know that. I would get frustrated if I did not get words of affirmation from my boss. I was literally traumatized when I did not get promoted. I was full of entitlement and expectations that made me unhappy.

But here is the deal. We are not supposed to get validation, therapy or cheerleading from our employers or clients. It is not their job to fill our self-esteem holes or heal our childhood traumas.

We are supposed to get money in exchange for our work. Money is the symbol of appreciation. They would not keep paying us if we weren’t doing a good job.

Obviously, we want to be respected and well-treated. We want people to be professional.

It is up to us to set boundaries about what is OK and what is not and choose to work with the people who are the right fit. In that respect, my job candidate did well to leave her previous job if the way she was treated was not OK for her.

I am not saying that money is everything. We want to do work we love, for a purpose we believe in, with people we enjoy working with. We want to keep growing.

But, what we should not expect is for our employers or clients to stroke our ego. They did not hire us for that.

I had a team coaching client who never told me I did a good job. But, quarter after quarter, they would invite me to come back to coach their team, and they would pay me really well.

It never occurred to me to feel unappreciated because they would never verbally recognise my work. If they did not see the value they would not keep on working with me and paying me top dollar. I had no place projecting any internal neediness onto them.

The problem with expecting someone else to “appreciate” us so that we feel good about ourselves is that it never works. Whatever someone on the outside does, it will never be enough to fill a hole inside.

It did not surprise me that my job candidate kept finding herself in unsatisfactory work environments throughout the years.

We are the ones who need to love and value ourselves. Once we do that, we stop seeking it externally. “As within, so without,” said the masters.

Neediness for appreciation has the opposite effect; it pushes people away. Have you experienced that needy friend who is fishing for compliments? It is not the most attractive energy, is it?

When we love and appreciate ourselves, we see this reflected in the outside world. The energetic exchange with our clients or employers becomes cleaner. We offer value. We get money back. Any additional appreciation is a bonus.

It is up to us to ensure we enter energetic exchanges that feel good. If we do not, there is no need to get resentful; we learn the lesson and do better next time.

If you feel unappreciated because your client or employer never gives you compliments, ask yourself: Would they keep on paying you if you did not do a good job? As a business owner, let me tell you. They would not.

Do not let any inner insecurities ruin your enjoyment of your work. In business, money is the symbol of appreciation.

What if you are underpaid?

A mistake people make when they feel underpaid is that they get angry and resentful at the other party. Like they themselves were not there when they signed the deal.

It is human nature to want to pay as little as possible for goods and services. We all do it. Why get angry at that?

What we can do is to set our price in a way that will not make us feel resentful. And understand the powers of supply and demand.

What is the point of being resentful for being underpaid? If you believe your value is higher, it is your job to communicate this value and ask for more money. It is your job to find the people who are willing to pay what you want.

If this does not work, it means that other people are offering similar perceived value as you at a lower price.

So, your job is to increase your unique value so that competition becomes irrelevant and the price/salary you want becomes a no-brainer.

The more you do what you love, you accept your purpose and uniqueness, the more value you create for others, and the more you can charge.

Resentment will only hold you back. It takes your power away. It puts you in a negative loop. It could even repel the people you want to attract. This happened to my job candidate when her resentment energy repelled me as a potential employer.

When we understand how the supply and demand system works, we stop complaining. We start solving bigger problems for more people in a unique way. And the money follows.

Biting the hand that feeds you?

One of my values is never to bite the hand that fed me. I have never publicly talked badly about an employer or a client. If I had an issue, I would talk it out with them privately, not behind their backs or on social media.

I can see exceptions to this rule when serious violations of the code of conduct exist, like a whistle-blower scenario.

Despite any imperfections, I am grateful to all my employers and clients for the work and money they gave me. A place of gratitude attracts more good things.

I also learned to hire for attitude over skill. I can teach skills, but it is tough to teach attitude. I do not want people with a victim and blame mentality in my team. The candidate who passive-aggressively talks about her employers on LinkedIn did not pass my attitude test.

I approach my work from a place of service rather than a place of entitlement. I want people in my team who share the same attitude.

Feeling unappreciated at home

But what if you feel unappreciated at home, you ask? By your spouse or your kids? What does that even mean?

Isn’t what you do for others in a loving relationship unconditional? Are you doing what you do to buy your family’s sweet words or gratitude?

Feeling resentful for being underappreciated stops you from setting clear boundaries. What do you want your family to do? State it clearly.

What do you need? Time alone? More contribution to the chores? More fun experiences?

When you drop the clutch of seeking appreciation, that is when you get it. And it is a bonus.

Call to action

In conclusion, seeking external validation will never sustainably raise our self-worth. It puts us on a needy, victim-mode vibe. It repels the healthy, mutually fulfilling relationships and partnerships we desire.

If you feel underappreciated, let go of the resentment and regain your power. What do you really want? Is it sweet words or something else? What can you do to get it?

Take care,

Caterina

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