In the first three parts of this six-part audio series, Murray Fulton discusses the value and importance of self-respect. How it manifests itself and how those manifestations can have a cyclical effect.  Those cycles are not unbreakable and neither do they determine a person’s character. At the heart of self-respect is the ability to help yourself – the ultimate selfless act. As long as the resources that come from helping yourself are reinvested in helping others.

Why it’s important

Part 1 of 6

We all want to help our families (or those that we love and care about). It’s natural to put them before ourselves (even though these ties can chaff at times!). But it’s hard to look after and help those we care about if we can’t look after and care for ourselves. Our modern world has an impact on us. We see a trend towards user-pays, a battle between state and individual control, constant fiscal pressures – a lack of money to look after those who really need it. An on-going battle between political correctness and personal accountability.

If we accept that our economic future in business and our personal life is going to be primarily the result of the effective output of our personal efforts, then looking after ourselves becomes an imperative, not a ”nice to have”. If we cut to the core of what ”looking after ourselves” really means, we see the role of self-respect. It’s important to have an appropriate level of self-respect. Part 2 explains what this is.



What an appropriate level of self-respect is

Part 2 of 6

What does ”appropriate mean” is it another politically correct term? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here are three examples to illustrate the critical nature that self-respect plays in business and in our lives.

The blow-hard – a person who makes a lot of noise and needs constant bolstering, validation and recognition, even if not deserved. They are quite likely to have low self-respect which they cover up with bluff and bluster. There is an internal conflict between their negative view of themselves and their ego drive to be recognised and valued.

The selfless person – no-one has a bad word to say about them. They tirelessly work to provide support for those who need it with discretion and no expectation of reward.  This person is usually the go-to in business, family or a group as no matter how busy they are, they always seem to be calm and able to offer the right advice at the right time. They have a realistic view of themselves with a well-developed level of self-respect. Which manifests itself not as cockiness or arrogance but as an ability to not only reach out and help those in pain. They also demonstrate the reliance and ability to cope with most if not all that life throws at them.

The victim – the glass is always half empty. This is a person who usually runs and hides at the first sign of a threat, real or perceived. When cornered they may become angry and defensive and may resort to cutting criticism or sarcasm. in short, The Victim is hard work and is either pitied or avoided. They have low self-respect and are withdrawn and suspicious of others. Often drawn to the selfless person.



Getting into a positive cycle

Part 3 of 6

We want to help our businesses so we need to be much more like the selfless person (from part 2) and much less like either The Blow-hard or The Victim. Both The Blow-hard and The Victim are in a vicious cycle, that is in danger of repeating and feeding upon itself, whereas The Selfless Person tends to be in a positive cycle where the rewards that come back from others regarding their actions, provide enough fuel to maintain this positive cycle.

It is important to note that not only is The Selfless Person, not a saint but that is is possible to improve the outlook for The Blow-hard and The Victim steadily over time. Sometimes we fail to recognise that in order to help others, we must help ourselves. It is critical to realise that the ability to help yourself on an ongoing basis is not selfishness. In fact, it is really the ultimate selfless act. As long as the resources that come from helping yourself are reinvested in helping others.

For most of us, helping others has a natural priority order – 1) helping our family, 2) helping our business, 3) helping those who are less fortunate than ourselves. So how do we help ourselves? – Murray expands on this in part four of this series.



You were listening to Murray Fulton | Partner | Director | Business Advisor