The World of Work Project

Harrill Self-Esteem Inventory

The Harrill Self Esteem inventory is a questionnaire, originally designed for young adults, that helps individuals assess their self-esteem. The assessment helps individuals identify self-esteem related areas they can work towards improving over time.

Summary by The World of Work Project

Harrill Self Esteem Inventory

Self esteem is a core part of our self-awareness and important for both good psychological health and fulfillment at work. The Harrill inventory is a list of 25 statements which individuals can score themselves against. Individuals should not compare their scores with others, but should review their scores to identify areas to work on, and repeat the inventory at a future date to assess their progress.

How to use the inventory

To use the Harrill Self-Esteem Inventory, simply rate yourself on each of the 25 questions with a scale of 0 to 4 based upon your current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors:

  • 0 = I never think, feel or behave this way,
  • 1 = I do less than half the time,
  • 2 = I do 50% of the time,
  • 3 = I do more than half the time, and
  • 4 = I always think, feel or behave this way.

Once you’ve completed the assessment, total your score, reflect on your results and consider actions you could take to improve your self-esteem. Keep your results safe and complete the activity again in the future, looking to see where you’ve improved. Repeat the process as you continue to develop.

The questions in the Harrill questionnaire are fairly easy to assess.

The questions

  1. I like and accept myself as I am right now, today, even as I grow and evolve.
  2. I am worthy simply for who I am, not what I do. I do not have to earn my worthiness.
  3. I get my needs met before meeting the wants of others. I balance my needs with those of my partner and family.
  4. I easily release negative feelings from other’s judgments and focus instead on living my life with integrity and to the best of my abilities.
  5. I always tell myself the truth about what I am feeling.
  6. I am incomparable and stop comparing myself with other people.
  7. I feel of equal value to other people, regardless of my performance, looks, IQ, achievements, or possessions.
  8. I am my own authority. I make decisions with the intention of furthering my own and others’ best interests.
  9. I learn and grow from my mistakes rather than deny them or use them to confirm my unworthiness.
  10. I stop my critical self-talk and replace it with a nurturing, kind, encouraging voice.
  11. I love, respect, and honor myself.
  12. I am not responsible for anyone else’s actions, needs, choices, thoughts, moods, or feelings, only for my own.
  13. I do not dominate others or allow others to dominate me.
  14. I have good physical and emotional boundaries with others.
  15. I feel my own feelings and think my own thoughts, even when those around me think or feel differently.
  16. I stop using “shoulds” and “oughts,” which are value judgments that put me or another down. (It is irrelevant what I should have done or should do. It is more important to know what I am willing to do and not do.)
  17. I am responsible for changing what I do not like in my life. I face my problems, fears, and insecurities and take appropriate steps to heal and grow.
  18. I am a person of my word and follow through on the things I commit to do.
  19. I forgive myself and others for making mistakes and being unaware.
  20. I believe my life counts. I find meaning and have purpose in my life.
  21. I deserve love and happiness even when others blame or criticize me, for I cannot control what others think about me.
  22. I take care of myself on all levels: physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
  23. I spend quality time with myself on a regular basis.
  24. I release unreal expectations for myself and others.
  25. I choose to love and respect all human beings regardless of their beliefs and actions; some I have a personal relationship with and most I do not.
Everyone has something they are working on.

The World of Work Project View

Tools like this can be useful, and there are many different versions of them available. However, it’s possible for individuals to become somewhat fixated with psychological self assessments, and it’s not always helpful to do so.

Generally speaking, things like self-esteem are fairly personal and probably shouldn’t be addressed in the workplace by leaders or coaches. Personal coaches may provide some help with areas like this, but it may be more advisable to work with a psychologist.

Confidence, a near relative of self esteem, is a common development point in the world of work, and some of the reflective questions in this inventory may be helpful with that.

Overall, we think the Harrill Self-Esteem Inventory a reasonable tool to aid with self reflection around the topic. It might have been designed for young adults, but the points that it focuses on are helpful for everyone, whatever their age.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

This post is based on work by Suzanne Harrill and published in various sources including her book: “Empowering Teens to Build Self Esteem“.


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