Are You Short-Changing Your Value?


When it comes to figuring out your true value, there’s really no easy calculation. Well I did hear of one way. Apparently if you were to break the average person down into their most basic elements such as oxygen, hydrogen and carbon you’d have enough to make about $1.

But is anyone actually going to go around and say that their life is worth only $1. Of course not, your life is worth much more than that. But this does raise an important question: what is your true value and are you short changing yourself?

Understanding Your Value

There really is no easy way to figure out your true value. It’s not as if people come with price tags so you can understand your going rate at any moment. So the question can seem pretty subjective and hard to answer. This makes many people avoid it altogether.

I think avoiding the question would be a mistake. After all, having a greater understanding of your value helps make sure you’re not settling for something that you shouldn’t. Without a true sense of your value, you might end up living a life below your potential.

For example, a friend of mine started dating this girl several years ago. He’s a fun, stable and good looking guy with an excellent paying job and lifestyle. She is unemployed, rude and lazy. To put it bluntly, he is too good for her.

The problem comes from the fact that he is undervaluing himself. He’s had trouble with women in the past, but over the years he’s landed a high paying job and a really great lifestyle. It’s not that he doesn’t have value; it’s that he doesn’t understand it. And this misunderstanding of his value has led him to a bad dating situation.

Miscalculating Your Value

That’s the biggest problem with being unable to understand your true value. If you don’t know what you’re worth, you won’t end up in the best possible situations. You may be missing out on much better things for your life.

And this could affect so many different areas of your life. Short-changing your value can lead to worse dates, friends and jobs. Worse still, if you underestimate your value, you might not expect as much out of yourself. How far can you really take your life if you think you’re not worth all the effort?

Getting a proper estimate of your true value can ensure you don’t end up with something beneath your standards. Of course there is some danger in overestimating your value. That could mean a lot of frustration and anger as you strive and fail to reach your goals. But at least you’re pushing yourself which is a better position to be in than when you short change your value.

Here are three ways to better understand yourself and make sure you don’t underestimate your value.

1. Be honest with yourself

In order to make sure you’re not underestimating your value, you have to calculate just what your worth. Taking the time to self-reflect on just what you have to offer can really give you a better understanding of your value. When you’re doing your self-reflection, you want to focus on what important things you bring. You’ll also want to focus on the possibility that you’re selling yourself short.

2. Ask someone you trust

Sometimes getting a true sense of your value can be as simple as asking someone you trust. They’ll have an outside view of what’s going on in your life so they can give a more objective opinion on if you’re short-changing your value or not. Just make sure they are someone you can trust.

3. Carefully evaluate your position

If you want to know if something doesn’t fit your value, you should carefully evaluate it. That means taking a look at what’s needed to be in the position and if you’re meeting or exceeding the expectations.

For example, your job should have a set number of skills and qualifications needed to perform it. Are you just what’s needed for your position or do you have more than what’s required? What do people with a similar skill level as you have? If you have more qualifications than what the job requires, you might be short changing your value.

Ask For More From the World

Even though no one wants to live below their potential, many still do. And I’d say a big reason for that is because people don’t take the time to understand and calculate how valuable they really are. Unless you take the time and figure it out, you’ll never know.

As you progress through life, you’ll need to constantly figure out your true value. Hopefully as you gain skills, confidence and experience, you’re value will continue to rise. So figuring out your worth will probably take a lifetime. At least you can rest assured it’s more than $1.
photo credit: LifeSupercharger

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  1. This is a great post. It’s really common to observe people compromising their value in the friends/romantic partners they keep and their jobs. In my own case, I’ve also struggled with both, though as I get older, the first one is easier to resolve. However, repatriating back to the US during a shaky economic time, I do admit feeling pressure to commit to less desirable jobs. But I’m sticking to my guns and trusting that the right assignments are out there which match my value.

  2. I’ve found this to be the hardest when changing fields. I know what I am worth monetarily in my current role, but in making the leap to a new track, judging it is hard. I used to work in human resources, and I was often confronted in interviews with people saying that because of their expenses they needed to earn a certain amount. I don’t want to be that person! Trying to figure out what they can earn off of my labor is a challenge.

  3. We’re worth more than any dollar amount. Life is far more important than money.

  4. Hey Steve,

    you’re worth what the market in question is willing to pay – and that depends upon a few things such as actual value and perceived value, which in turn come from things like expertise, position, charisma and rewards (all of which can of course be influenced via marketing, networking, references etc)

    If that’s all a little too confusing, then just charge X and if the market is happy to pay X, then that is what you’re worth 😉


  5. I think avoiding the question would be a mistake. After all, having a greater understanding of your value helps make sure you’re not settling for something that you shouldn’t. Without a true sense of your value, you might end up living a life below your potential.

  6. Determining your personal value (or self worth, perhaps these terms are interchangeable in this case) is a tricky business, as I’ve learned in the past few years in my personal soul searching journey. I think asking someone you trust is the best tip you provide in this post. It’s often difficult to step far enough away from your own circumstances that you can fairly evaluate if you’re “too good” for your partner, job, etc. without being biased. Thanks for the advice!

  7. Hi Steve,
    You are absolutely right. Sometimes people forget their value. It is so difficult to determine your personal value.
    I am afraid but I do that quite often: I underestimate my value. This is a hard period for me and I sometimes I have difficulties to convince my customers about the value of my services because I cannot convince my self either!
    THank you for the advice….

    off course underestimate is not not good but over estimate is even worse and can be dangerous!

    Have a good day,

  8. This is an excellent post! It gave me goosebumps. Really, it is so easy to shortchange yourself. I think there are more people who don’t believe in themselves than people who do. It would be wonderful if we all could be truly open and honest with ourselves, but I’m not sure this is so easy for most of us. Asking the opinion of someone we trust is probably a better way to get a true sense of our value. That is, if the person we trust has a good head screwed straight onto their shoulders. I’ve trusted people in the past who were indeed being honest with me but I later learned were possibly giving me skewed input due to their own issues. It’s important to surround yourself with good, trustworthy people who are also well adjusted so they don’t give you bad advice, even if they have good intentions.

  9. This is a good post. I’m 28 and still get paid like a fresher. I’m aware that I’m highly underpaid and don’t know how to go about it. My personal life is worse cause I dont have one. Help Steve really need it. Lately m thinking a lot about all this and desparately want to change things for good.


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