Chances are you’ve been around the type of nail tech who seems to be in a perpetual state of bliss, is always positive, and always has something nice to say about others. Everything comes easy to her it seems. Meanwhile, you constantly find yourself irritated with your clients and your coworkers and you lack motivation to do anything but show up for work and do your normal, everyday tasks. How, you wonder, does she stay so perky?

It’s easy. She exudes confidence and has high self-esteem. And having high self-esteem allows you to recognize your successes and feel good about yourself.

So if having high self-esteem is so important, why don’t more of us have it? A recent Gallup poll revealed that 75% of the American population suffers from low self-esteem, and salon professionals are certainly not immune to it.

“Nail techs can get physically and mentally abused by their clients,” says John Amico, chairman of Amico Educational Concepts in Crestwood, Ill. “They can get you down by telling you their life stories. Clients want to deliver bad news because that’s what they want to talk about. They form interpersonal relationships with their nail techs and tell them things they wouldn’t even tell their sisters.”

Listening to all that bad news can lower your morale and self-esteem, causing you to find more faults with others (and yourself) than you normally would.

Of course, clients aren’t the only reason why a nail tech’s self-esteem might suffer. Family background also has a lot to do with it. “A lot of us had parents who had no training in raising us,” says Amico. “And if you come from a large family, the older children may be less well-adjusted than the younger ones because mom and dad became more flexible as they got older.”

We hear all this talk of self-esteem, but what is it exactly? For starters, it doesn’t mean having talent, potential, or achievement, says Amico. Rather, it’s a deep feeling of self-love, and the good news is that everyone can achieve a high dose of it.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Self-esteem is important in the professional beauty industry, where confidence and assertiveness matter. When you sit across from a person and hold her hand, you have to be convinced that what you’re doing is right or you’ll have a hard time asking a client to try a new service, pay a higher price, or tell her that her chronic lateness is a problem. Since you work in a salon, you deal with all sorts of clients throughout the day and some may be a bit harsher than others. If your self-esteem is high, their complaints and critiques will roll off your back. Instead of feeling like you’re constantly being attacked you’ll be proactive and wonder if there is any truth to the matter of your polish job being a bit too sloppy and do something about it.

“You are always going to get the brunt of other people’s emotions based on what their level of self-esteem is,” says Amico.“Simply look for the solution.” And having high self-esteem also means you’re more willing to take bigger risks and maybe turn that dream you’ve had of opening your own salon into a reality.

Plus, if you have high self-esteem, you’re a people magnet — and that can work to your advantage.“People love to be around people who are positive,”says Amico. “When you have a positive attitude you have the ability to empower individuals to do things they thought they could never do. You have people around you who want to see you become successful. They want to take your vision and be a part of it.”

If you lack self-esteem, you probably don’t have enough confidence in yourself to attempt to expand and move up in your career. So even if you’ve been thinking of becoming a manufacturer’s educator, for example, chances are you won’t attempt it because you’re afraid you won’t do a good enough job or won’t get the position. “You can’t have healthy relationships if you don’t love yourself,” says Amico. “And how can you move up? You can’t because you’re your own worst enemy.”

Boosting Self-Esteem

The next time you find yourself complaining about something that happened to you, put a stop to it.And don’t be so hard on yourself.

“Always compliment yourself on doing good deeds,” suggests Amico. “Find the best thing you did with every experience. Find something good about a negative experience and learn from it.” Amico suggests identifying 10 good things you did every day and writing them down. That includes listing such things as getting up in the morning and getting to work on time.

“Praise yourself,” says Amico. “You can’t wait for other people to pat you on the back. If you don’t do it enough to yourself you won’t be able to do it to anyone else.”

Self-affirmations, statements that are written and repeated in the present tense as though the result was already realized, also work wonders on the soul. “With self-affirmations we are controlling our subconscious,” says Amico. “The more positive things we say about ourselves, such as, ‘I love myself totally and unconditionally,’ the more we lead ourselves to become it.”

Self-affirmations are ongoing and can change, so something you may have been telling yourself at first may evolve and change into something else a few years down the line, especially as you begin to grow in your career.

Remember, having a good dose of self-esteem can do wonders not only for your soul, but for your career as well.And don’t think that you’ll feel like a new person from one day to the next. It’s an ongoing process, but with time and practice Amico says you can nurture yourself to be whom and what you want to be.

The Signs of Low Self-Esteem

Often, when someone is complaining, avoiding, or judging another, it’s because they suffer from low self-esteem. Could your self-esteem also benefit from a boost of positive energy? Although there are lots of indicators, the following are some of the most prevalent signs of low self-esteem:

  • Making little or no eye contact. Someone who shifts her eyes and is unable to make direct eye contact is communicating low self-esteem, not to mention communicating an intention to avoid connecting with others.
  • Not accepting compliments well. Responding to a compliment with a statement of denial is another sign of low self-esteem. When you feel good about yourself you happily accept praise.
  • Constantly apologizing and feeling guilty. Apologizing often goes hand in hand with feeling guilty. The guiltier you feel, the worse you feel about yourself, and the worse you feel about yourself, the guiltier you feel.
  • Becoming easily frustrated, impatient, or angry. When you don’t feel good about yourself, you tend to have little patience with others. This lack of patience and understanding for others creates a breeding ground for many possible negative responses.
  • Using negative language. Low self-esteem seeps into one’s daily language. Negative, hopeless, low self-esteem language includes phrases such as: “It figures,” “I can’t,” “I should have,” etc.
  • Feeling depressed. If you are battling depression, chances are you are having trouble seeing the positive in any situation. If you are experiencing prolonged periods of sadness or hopelessness, consult a medical professional.
  • Taking things personally. The lower your self-esteem, the more you will feel unsure about yourself. Someone with high self-esteem will not take other people’s opinions and comments to heart.
  • Keeping to yourself. Your lack of belief in yourself may motivate you to hide away from reality or cloister yourself away from others.
  • Not taking risks. People with low self-esteem fear failure and worry about looking bad.

List courtesy of CoachVille, a community for coaching, coaches, and coach training.

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