• Nancy Mendelson

Know Your Worth

Back in July, my column titled Why You Shouldn’t Let People Pick Your Brain struck such a powerful chord, it got infinitely more views than virtually any other topic I’ve covered. Well, if that resonated for you, more than likely you are no stranger to brain-picking’s equally evil twin, undervaluing yourself.



These self-sabotaging behaviors go hand in hand, and I speak from experience. In my earlier column, I wrote about how I allowed my brain to be picked by taking the advice of someone I assumed was smarter than I was because she had gone to Harvard Business School – a perfect example of undervaluing oneself, but I digress.


There are many ways we can (and do) undervalue ourselves, writes Energy Coach and author, Linda Bins. Some of them may seem quite harmless, but little by little, every time you do it, you chip away at your sense of self-worth, value, self-esteem, and confidence.


In my experience, and in numerous articles that surfaced while Googling, women are more likely to undervalue themselves than men. While not surprising, this disparity has always annoyed the crap out of me. Hell, I even had guys reporting to me who made more money than I did, although, in all fairness, it was a man who recognized the inequity and fixed it, without my even asking.


In her book, Money Can Buy You Happiness, Dr. Patty Ann Tublin lists 10 reasons why women don’t get paid what they’re worth. Her list is about women in paid employment, but it’s just as relevant for women in business who don’t charge enough for their services.


As a woman in business myself, I bristle at the notion that an hour of my time is valued based on the service I am being asked to provide and not the breadth of experience I bring to the table.

And while I understand that not all services are created equal, help me understand how people are willing to pay a premium for fine wine, an aged cheese…and not a seasoned professional!

While we may have little control over what society values and is willing to pay for––like the disparity between movie stars and teachers, athletes, and nurses (don’t get me started)––we can control how we value ourselves. For starters, you might want to check out this Self-Sabotage Quiz from the Ford Institute. It’s worth it for the questions alone!