Feeling Worthless

What do you say to someone who feels they are worthless, when you know they are not?  How do you convince them they have a tremendous amount to offer when no one is asking for them to participate?  How do you motivate them to pick themselves off the ground when you completely empathize with their plight?

I found myself in this predicament this past week when I was talking with a fellow training consultant that I’ve known nearly the length of my own training career.  This is a very talented learning professional with experience in facilitation, instructional design, performance consulting, and like myself managed entire learning environments.  The phrase, “been there, done that” is an understatement!

For the past several years he has been a self-employed performance consultant, struggling to make a living.  He contributes often in online learning environments, pro-bono speaking engagements, and has written for numerous publications.  All of these efforts as I well know, do not contribute to the checking account, and are supposed to yield referral business.

He said that the excuses for not engaging in his personal services or the products he represents are starting to get over used by a population of highly paid and under-producing training professionals.  I told him that as self-employed people who get paid only when working, that we are hyper sensitive to under-producing people earning a salary, but that this was our choice to leave corporate America.

He then reminds me that it is difficult to re-enter the workforce of salaried people at even a reduced wage, because the competition looks better skilled because of constant corporate employment.  The ironic thing is that most have not produced as much byproduct as their time on the job would indicate.

The world is about to lose a very talented learning professional because the world isn’t hiring him for anything.  I asked him if his finances were okay, and he said he was doing fine.  The money is not needed as much to pay a bill as it is to define him as worthy enough to write a check!

Wow! I was speechless.

What would you suggest I tell my friend?


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