What if I told you not to respect your employer, or your wife, even your children? Yes, you would be right to label me off center, but I am not. Please humor me for a sentence or two to and I will explain my rationale.

I had a meeting with a vice president of a prominent organization in New York City; let’s call him John Doe. It was an important meeting, for me, so I wore a suit. I walked into John’s office confidently, shook his hand firmly, and Doe immediately smiled and asked: “You wore a suit?” I smiled and replied, “Yes, out of respect for you.” Not to mention that John always wore a suit, so I felt a level of obligation.

But then a critical learning moment occurred. Doe stared at me over his reading glasses and asked softly “Can I give you some advice, Ramon?” I respect John and to be honest he intimidates me. So I stopped breathing for what seemed like 25 minutes and then exhaled “Please.” Then John sternly explains, "Never do anything out of respect for someone else. It’s an insult to you.You do what you do out of respect for yourself and no one else.”

Mic drop!

Since that meeting with John Doe I have carried myself with more confidence and purpose, in everything I do. And how is it exactly that you build this level of respect for yourself?

Les Brown, a motivational speaker, explains, “Listen to your own voice...the one in your heart that is the keeper of your dreams. Never let someone convince you that you can’t do something - especially if they haven't done it. Take the time to find your own path and trust your inner voice. Know what’s true for you!”

If you are unsure what is true for you then understanding what you can and cannot do becomes an exercise in futility. So the first step must be to understand yourself.