People matter – it is no surprise therefore that at the heart of every significant success or woeful failure is a great relationship or a damaged one, respectively. Success therefore lies in your ability to win with people – your clients, prospects, colleagues, staff members, regulators, everyone and anyone. But before we start looking out to win with people, an important first step is to WIN with OURSELVES!

There are many common sayings that reflect the truism behind this thought – “you cannot give what you do not have”, “love your neighbour as you love yourself” (you have to love yourself first). It’s interesting but true – I watched a TV documentary the other day when a fireman asked the presenter – ‘What do you think is the number one lesson you learn as a fireman?”, and the presenter answered – “To save other people”, “Wrong” responded the fireman, “you learn to save yourself”. After all how can you save others if you haven’t saved yourself? “Remove the speck in your eye before you talk about the log in others”.

To win with you begins with four critical steps in self-discovery around your value. Think about a N500 note for a second, like the one crumpled and stashed away in the Sunday collection box, or twisted and curled up in the satchel around Mama Put’s waist. Like it or not that N500 remains N500, no matter how rumpled and squeezed it is. Its value is not determined by its physical state or beauty, instead it is a function of what it is really worth, and what it can achieve. So too is the value of a human being, and indeed ourselves. We need to RECOGNIZE our value and see it beyond our physical looks, external appearances or material well-being. We must define our value based on who we truly are, what we represent, and what we can achieve.

An interesting part of our humanity are our insecurities and foibles, the things we are not very good at, which often create negative thoughts around our self-worth. Despite these “issues” that life brings, we need to ACCEPT our value, and who we really are. Too many times we get distracted by our insecurities, rather than face them and get better at them. To Win with ourselves we need to move further and INCREASE our value by getting rid of the self-limiting beliefs that these insecurities bring. I have heard people say things like – I am just a secretary, I am not an oga; I don’t like maths; I am afraid of speaking in public. Remember, you said it, not anyone else. These self limiting beliefs place a lid on yourself and constrain your ability to increase your value.

The final step is to BELIEVE in your value. Package it, refine it, sell it and get paid for it. Never sell yourself cheap or short. You have a unique value that you bring and it is critical to reflect this as you go on along the journey of life. I remember struggling earlier in my career with getting appointments to see Chief Executives of Government parastatals, and getting through their secretaries. I later learned to wear a smile, pray, and think well of myself, and the value that my bank and I were bringing to the parastatal. Once I did, and won the battle within myself, my value began to work for me, as I am sure it would for you.