Believe in yourself, whether you're making minimum wage or running a billion-dollar company.
My son was excited when he heard a local store was hosting a Pokemon club. A new collector, he was eager to swap cards and meet some friends with similar interests. I’m always happy to see him pursue his interests, so I agreed to take him to the club.
We arrived at the store, and he marched confidently over to the table where the club members sat. Cards were strewn across the table as kids flipped through neatly organized binders packed with holographic cards and pins. My son froze and whispered, “I’m not going over there.”
I stared at him in surprise. Assuming he was nervous about meeting new peers, I responded with, “What?! Why not? They look like nice kids!”
My son sighed. “Nobody is going to want my stupid cards!” he whispered in frustration, adding, “They have all the good cards! The ones that are expensive and valuable.”
“Not true,” I replied, explaining that what’s worth nothing to him may be valuable to others. I told him there’s a Pokémon card for everyone, and someone would find his card valuable. Just because something is worthless to us doesn’t mean others won’t enjoy it.
After a bit of coaxing, my son finally made his way toward a Pokemon collector. After chatting with a fellow fan for a bit, he successfully swapped his card. I smiled and whispered, “See? Everything has value to someone.”
This is true for everything in life, not just Pokemon cards. Some top writers get a lot of flack for writing self-help articles and listicles, but they wouldn’t keep producing this content if readers didn’t want it. It has value to someone, and your work does too.
Let’s say you write for a living but haven’t brought in much income yet. That doesn’t mean your work is worthless. In fact, a carefully crafted article can save relationships, jobs, and sometimes even lives.
Maybe you prompted someone to take up yoga or stop eating candy bars for breakfast. Perhaps your essay about mental health reminded someone they aren’t alone. Someone may be living their life differently because of something you wrote. Your words have power. You have power.
Next time you feel like your goods, services, or skills lack value, remember these 3 things:
1) Someone wants what you have
There’s a market for everything, and interested individuals will travel great lengths to get what they want. For example, my daughter collects Squishmallows and drives all over the state to build her collection. I admire her dedication, but stuffed animals aren’t really my thing. However, I can understand the appeal of these colorful, cuddly creatures.
What I don’t understand is why people collect things like back scratchers, traffic cones, and umbrella sleeves. Heck, there are even people who save feces fossils. Florida resident George Frandsen has an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest collection of coprolites, which is a fancy way of saying he collects dinosaur droppings. Keep that in mind next time you feel like your skills or services don’t matter.
There’s a reason the cliche that claims “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” exists. What you offer can benefit someone, whether you write love stories about underwater robots or sell hand-painted hangers covered in twine and lace. There are eager buyers available for every good and service imaginable.
2) Nobody offers exactly what you provide
Some of you are ready to argue this point, but hear me out for a minute. Let’s say you open a new store that only sells purple unicorns. Two nearby stores also specialize in purple unicorns, yet for some reason, customers prefer your store. Prices are similar, and all three stores are conveniently located near easily accessible roads.
After sending out a customer survey, you learn your high sales aren’t just beginner’s luck. Customers choose your store over the others because your employees are friendly, knowledgeable, and patient. Shoppers also love that you offer a weekly club, which you’ve dubbed Unicorns Unite, at no charge. They also appreciate that your store smells like pineapple and coconut — a tiny detail that you never realized anyone would notice.
All three stores sell purple unicorns, but you’ve found a way to stand out among local competition. You can do the same in other professions, whether you’re reselling designer purses from yard sales or delighting readers with suspenseful books. Don’t let competition derail you from chasing your goals.
3) Believe in yourself if you want others to do the same
Nobody will want what you have if you approach others with a negative attitude. Comments like, “This article won’t earn any money because I suck at writing” don’t attract readers. Telling customers, “You won’t like anything we sell here. It’s not as good as other places” doesn’t make them want to buy a shirt or burger or whatever you offer.
Believe that what you offer has value, then present that information accordingly. Instead of saying your article sucks, say, “Here’s a piece you may find helpful if you’re interested in productivity hacks.” If you’re selling apple pies in a city that loves cherry tarts, mention how your pies use a rich vanilla glaze just like the popular pastries. You can share facts about your products or skills without overselling them or pressuring others.
Everything has value in this world — your ideas, your skills, your actions, and your work. People want what you have, so go ahead and share it. We’re here when you’re ready.