Are you an achievement junkie? Like most ambitious professionals, you may struggle from a common affliction: never feeling like you’re doing enough to achieve your goals. You crave the process of doing more and doing things better. You are always looking for success strategies and want to learn from those who have achieved their goals.
Over the years, through my client work, I have interviewed hundreds of successful people. And I’ve discovered one universal truth about success:
The easiest way to success is to believe in yourself.
You may scoff at that and say, “Of course I believe in myself.” But do you really? Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions:
When you experience a disappointment, do you berate yourself and immediately think it’s a sign you don’t have what it takes to succeed?
When you fail, do you experience a period of time, that can last up to a day and sometimes longer, feeling like a failure?
Do you have a list of certificates, degrees, and classes you need to take in order to feel like you are capable of succeeding?
Do you have a persistent belief that you aren’t complete and don’t know what that feels like?
You know what you’re good at, but do you think that in order to succeed, you need to build on your weaknesses?
Do your parents’ and friends’ opinions matter, so much that if they don’t agree with decisions you make, you question yourself?
Do you crave the approval of others in the form of money, power, and compliments?
Do you regularly change your vision of your work based on what others have told you they think?
Do you have a constant feeling of confusion as to what you’re meant to be doing?
Do you have more negative self-talk than positive, all the time?
If you answered “yes” to more than five of the above questions, you may not believe in yourself as much as you think. You may also have a belief that you can’t change that perception. I know you can, because I’ve seen it happen. With that in mind, here are three strategies to begin using the success secret weapon of believing in yourself:
1. Begin to See Disappointments and Failures as Opportunities
When something doesn’t work or go your way, move on quickly. See that situation as a sign that you need to pivot your strategy and try something else. Trust that you are giving your best efforts to your business goals. Success takes time, and you want to ensure you are enjoying the process of achieving your goals just as much as achieving them.
2. Start Training Your Brain to Be Positive
Our brains are wired toward negativity. Reversing those negative thoughts to positive ones may sound hokey, but it works. It’s hard work to be positive, but it’s worth it, because negativity can slow you down. Barbara Fredrickson, researcher at the University of North Carolina, has proven that positive thinking will broaden your skills. Fredrickson refers to this as the “broaden and build” because positive emotions broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind, which in turn allows you to build new skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of your life. Researchers have long known that negative emotions program your brain to do a specific action, narrow your mind, and focus your thoughts. If your negative thoughts are focused on not believing in yourself, it can overpower your ability to do anything else other than dwell on that notion.
3. Use Your Core Strengths in the Work You Are Doing
One of the best ways to start believing in yourself is to create opportunities where you are going to shine. Throw away the old-fashioned idea that work is supposed to be hard. Work should be challenging—there is a difference. If the majority of your work leverages your innate talent, then it will be easier to believe in yourself. I have experienced this first-hand. I built a business around my “Zone of Genius,” and what I have discovered is that using my talent as the fuel for my business has provided not only an opportunity to focus on being an expert at something I am already good at, but has given me access to an endless well of opportunity.
Start with these three actions and do them for a month. Then go back to the 10 questions and see if you’ve improved. Believing in yourself is not only a tool for unlimited success—it’s something that could change your life.
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