Dr. Mark Leary

423: Strengthen Your Self Esteem: Insights on Belonging and Social Approval

In a world increasingly obsessed with self-image and social validation, how do we truly understand the role of self-esteem in our lives? Is it merely a reflection of our ego? What purpose does it serve?

These questions form the core of our conversation with Dr. Mark Leary, a former professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, who retired after 39 years of teaching and publishing 14 books and 250+ scholarly articles on topics such as social motivation, emotion, and self-relevant thought.

Mark is also a disruptor – and that’s not usually a word we associate with professors of psychology and neuroscience. But in this case it’s appropriate because Mark’s socio-meter theory didn’t just make waves; it created a whole new ocean in the field of psychology. This was a groundbreaking idea that redefined self-esteem. It’s a perspective that turned heads and opened minds in a way that challenged academics and practitioners alike.

Mark’s work resonates with me, and many others, because it transforms self-esteem into a practical, usable tool. So it isn’t just theory; it’s a framework for personal growth, leadership, and understanding the core of human connections. These insights have been instrumental in my own professional work in the areas of self-esteem and belonging.

In this episode, we peel back the layers on how to reshape your self-esteem into a dynamic tool for personal and professional growth, strategies to shift from external validation to a more authentic, self-grounded approach, navigating social anxiety with ease to enhance your everyday performance, and so much more.

Whether you’re leading a team, competing in sports, studying for your future, or simply navigating the complexities of daily interactions, there’s a wealth of insights waiting for you in this conversation.

“No matter where you go, this desire for acceptance and belonging is always going to be there. We need to feel like we belong.”

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