When we measure our self-worth from any place outside ourselves, we fall victim to perfectionism, confusion and self-doubt.

If a college woman measures her self-worth by her GPA, tests are going to cause her quite a bit of anxiety. Getting a “B” or even an “A-“ can seen as a failure.

If I measure my self-worth by my ability to deliver the perfect keynote presentation or workshop, one less-than-perfect review may prevent me from being resilient and putting myself out there again. Or it may cause me to put on a mask when I step on the stage and cover up that what makes me most human, my vulnerability.

If a well-intentioned mom measures her self-worth by her ability to raise the perfect child, it may be unbearable to watch her kid make a mistake, or in some cases, to watch her grown kids choose a path that doesn’t match her expectations or dreams for them.

Ultimately it’s not the B, the bad review, or the child’s mistake that causes women so much shame, guilt, resentment and self-doubt, it’s the story we attach to it. If I’m not perfect, then I’m not … lovable, worthy, good enough or smart enough to hold my position and place in this world as a woman or as a leader. The root cause of perfectionism and self-doubt in generations of women is the attachment of our self-worth to our resumes, GPA’s and things outside of ourselves like our performance reviews.

What does an internally driven sense of worth look like? It’s a question that only we can answer for ourselves.

For me, it’s related to I AM statements rather than I do. Who are you when you’re just being rather than trying to accomplish something? I’ve asked this question to women and girls of all ages. Here are some of the responses:

I’m a light-bearer, a role model, a self-expressed leader, a change-maker, a sensitive soul, a beautiful being. I am grateful, playful, peaceful. I am love. I am whole, perfect and complete unto myself. I AM, not I DO.

If we can strip away our titles and labels, and still stand proud knowing who we are then we can be in a position to risk being vulnerable in front of others. We can risk “failure” to try new things, which really is the only way to reach success anyway.

We want accolades and recognition to know that we matter. How would our lives be different if we knew we mattered? If we knew we were good enough?

Needing becomes wanting. Instead of, “I need to be perfect” we can change our story to, “I want to be good to myself.” “I want to connect with others.” “I want to be an authentic leader.”

What do you think? I’d love to hear you share your voice. Leave me a comment below!

With love,