Detaching your self-worth from your work

Let’s talk about the negative spiral you can easily fall into if you don’t detach your self-worth from your work.
For example, if you’re having a really slow month in your business and you’re not bringing in the income you want, it’s easy to start feeling like a failure.
And, as a coach, you’ll know that that feeling of failure will mean that you often don’t take the action of someone who is super successful. You will take the action of someone who feels like a failure, which is not the sort of action that is going to generate those results that you want.
So, I want to dive deep into this today, and show you how to break this vicious circle.
We’re going to talk about your intrinsic worth, and the importance of cherishing it amidst the rollercoaster journey of growing your coaching business.
I’ll also be touching on some of Brené Brown’s learnings because she is an expert on self-worth and brilliant at exploring the deep reasons why you might be battling with self-worth.

Navigating the coaching storm

The ship of your coaching business sails through serene seas and turbulent storms.
I love the meditation which says, “Drop down to where there is space beneath the waves.”
These words have helped me so much, on so many occasions, because it’s hugely powerful to send myself to that place – where it’s still and calm and quiet, instead of where we tend to spend most of our time, which is up on the waves, getting bashed and battered by whatever is happening in our lives.
What we are aiming for is for you and your self-worth to stand resiliently, like a lighthouse, amidst the successes and struggles of your business.
One of my clients asked me last week, “What one thing do you put your business success down to?”
I thought really hard about how to answer this because it’s difficult to choose one thing, and she’d specifically asked for only one.
I had to come up with two!
Passion was the first thing I mentioned. I said that your excitement in knowing that what you are doing can genuinely change lives will come across in your interactions with people. You can’t help but show and share your enthusiasm.
My second one was vulnerability. I really do see this as my hidden strength, because no-one likes the person who pretends that they have it all figured out.
If you are a mum, for example, often the least popular person in your crowd is the one painting the picture that everything is always great. Their baby always sleeps through the night, they’re not fussy eaters, everything’s always ‘fine’.
Of course, we’re happy for them and want to celebrate their good fortune, but no-one’s life is perfect all the time so, if that’s all they’re sharing, there’s probably a dishonesty and a pretence in that.
All our lives are sometimes up and sometimes down. As Brené Brown explains, sharing the downs and showing your vulnerability is a huge strength.
She talks about how she felt after her Ted talk went viral. Suddenly, she felt an overwhelming pressure of not wanting to disappoint people, and she explains how she has had to work hard on ensuring that her self-worth is not determined by public approval or criticism.
So, embrace the vulnerability of the moment you may be in now, and what’s not going well. One day soon, you will genuinely look back on this moment with pride, knowing that you got through it.
There’s a James Clear quote which says, “The lows are the price you pay for the highs.”
You will never reach your potential if you are so busy avoiding failing that you don’t take chances and do something for your business in case it doesn’t work out, or you turn down an opportunity someone gives you, like speaking at their event, because you’re afraid it won’t go well.
It’s really easy to allow that fear of failure to be stronger than your desire for success. I definitely do that sometimes. And the moments that I’m proudest of are when I push past that fear and just do it.

Stepping into the coaching arena

I am super passionate about helping those who are willing to step in the coaching arena, because they are exposing themselves to failure and criticism as they open doors to immense learnings, genuine connections and changing people’s lives.
Recently, I have had a lot of calls with people considering joining my Business of Coaching programme.
What I’m coming around to now is the acceptance that, if they are not prepared to step in the arena and try, I can’t help them.
There’s no point in me bending over backwards, trying to overcome their doubts, provide a particular payment plan or whatever it might be, because it’s actually nothing to do with any of that.
Their barrier to entry is actually that they’re not ready to make the decision to step in the arena and put their money on the line to say this will work for me.
That is a really big moment and no one can seize that moment for you. It is your decision to make, and yours alone.
Only you get to decide if you are going to be successful or not, and that’s why I love that moment when someone makes that decision to go ahead.
When you have internally made that decision to go all in and get in the arena, that’s when I can help you.


It’s really easy to talk about empathy when you are a coach, because most of us are motivated by wanting to do good in the world.
Connection is built out of empathy. We build relationships by sharing vulnerability struggles and authentic emotions.
As coaches, can we hold our worth tenderly and allow our authentic, empathetic self to shine through and really support who we are?
It’s not always easy. When I think about my coach training, like many coaches I remember thinking that when I get that ILM Level 7 in Executive Coaching and Mentoring certificate in my hand I’ll be able to charge for coaching.
But what happens? I go to a networking event and realise that I’m surrounded by coaches who are ICF ACC accredited. It made me think I wouldn’t be ready until I was too, so I got my gold pin but I still didn’t get that moment that told me I was ready.
So, if you are ‘procrastilearning’ (I heard that term recently!), then know that you are never going to get to that point where you feel ready.
You just need to make the decision to go for it.
And, back to my previous point, it’s a decision that only you can make. No one else can talk you over the line. You need to be able to step in your own power and decide that you are good enough to get started.
Don’t wait for that complete moment of ‘enoughness’ because I’m not sure that there are many people on this planet who ever feel like they are good enough.
Listening to the Diary of a CEO podcast recently, Steven Bartlett was observing that hardly anyone has that feeling. We are all trying to seek approval. Most of us have that feeling of ‘what if it’s not good enough’, so don’t let that stop you because the person next to you will probably be feeling the same.
This is another thing I’ve learned from going to masterminds. I had a full in-person day at a mastermind recently. When I joined this mastermind, I felt I was going to be surrounded by people that have it all figured out, as it was quite a high bar to get in, but you get there and you realise you’re all in the same boat. So, always remember that you are as worthy as the next person.


As my coach often tells me, shame is the most powerful negative emotion there is. It’s the opposite of a positive emotion like gratitude, and it can really stop you in your tracks.
Last week, I saw something shared by Steven Bartlett, about your level of success being determined by your ability to be uncomfortable.
That really resonated with me because it is definitely uncomfortable building a business and we need to build our resilience to do it.
We need to overcome that horrible feeling of being judged when we put out that first social media post, and worrying what everyone might think.
But doing it anyway, and overcoming that first little hurdle, will build your resilience for the next hurdle. And then that will build your resilience for the next hurdle. You then might be able to speak at a big event and do things that you never thought were possible for you.
What it all depends on is you being prepared to risk feeling that horrible emotion of shame, and build your shame resilience.
So, it’s not your lack of clients or failed strategy that will determine your worth, but your amazing spirit to stand tall, and learn and pivot in such moments.
That is what will make you successful. It’s never the absence of setbacks, it’s how you can deal with those setbacks to sculpt your journey and build that legacy that you are here for.
Ask yourself now, are you prepared to feel the lows in order to feel the highs, which might be a super successful, meaningful, amazing business, which changes lives and leaves a legacy?

Courageous leadership

Finally, let’s circle back to that meditation I mentioned.
“Drop down beneath the waves, so even when the seas are rough you can find that moment of stillness.”
I used to do meditation every single day. I must admit that I now do a bit at the end of my yoga, but I don’t do as much as I used to. I’m really noticing the difference because it was daily meditation that helped me to build my business.
I did a Deepak Chopra 30-day meditation challenge, and it was the best thing I ever did because it finally enabled me to witness my emotions enough to be able to work through them in my mind and realise that feelings I was feeling may not actually be true. They might be unhelpfully magnifying a little hiccup into a big catastrophe.
There is a form that I send to my clients to talk about how they’re doing. One of the questions on that form is what are you doing right now to support your mindset?
This is important because it’s easy to think that it’s all about strategy and getting things done but, most of the time, it actually isn’t. Focusing on the ‘softer side’ and doing that inner work is a crucial part of building a successful business.
We need to cultivate that feeling with all of our work. I work tirelessly on building belief with my clients, because it’s not just about nailing your niche. Two people could have the exact same niche yet one will be successful and one won’t.
And why is that? It will be about the underlying nuances. I recognise that and I want to be able to support you to really move forward and step into who you are really here to be.
Remember that your business success relies on being prepared to feel uncomfortable, and allowing yourself the support to continue to do your thing, even if you are uncomfortable – it’s on the other side of that uncomfortableness where your thriving business lies.

Free masterclass on how to secure more coaching clients

I have recently recorded new training on how you can secure more coaching clients.
It gives you the roadmap to build your business, and deep dives into the core elements that will help you to secure more coaching clients. Click here to access it now.
If you want the love and support to build your business, that’s what I do in my signature coaching programme, The Business of Coaching. It’s linked below.
Feel free to ask any questions about whether this is the right programme to help you to build a thriving coaching business.
Prefer Audio? You can also listen to all my new content on my podcast Women in the Coaching Arena
Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you grow your coaching business:
1. Love coaching, but struggling to get clients? Download the 12 Quick and Easy Ways to Get Clients now.
2. Interested to know more about the Business of Coaching programme? Click here.




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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.