Lesson 3. Believe in yourself.

We’ve all heard it said many times. But what does it really mean?

Self confidence has long been a slippery slope for me. This could call into question whether I have the authority to speak on it. It’s tricky. On the one hand, I struggle with self confidence issues. Conversely, that struggle has given me a valuable perspective. Here’s my take.

Developing self-confidence can be a lifelong process. My gut tells me that we are all born with natural self-confidence and we lose it bit by bit along the way. So the job becomes, how do we hold on to it? If we lose it, how do we build it again?

There are innumerable paths to build confidence. I’ve come to believe that simply doing something can be the first step. It ties into what I said in another blog post about being brave in the face of fear. When you start, you will create momentum, and that momentum will grow along with your confidence. Truth be told, I say something like that a lot.

I also believe it’s critical to surround yourself with people who fill you up with positivity and cheer you on. Sometimes it isn’t easy to filter out the negative people in your life. You may work alongside them stuck in an adjoining cubicle. They may be a longtime friend. You may be related to or even married to them. It’s important to recognize when it is time to disengage from those people and behaviors that no longer serve your better goals for yourself.

There is also something to be said for developing a ‘thick skin’, up to a point. Growing up, I was always described by my members of my family as ‘too sensitive’. Learning how to navigate life when one is sensitive isn’t easy, but I’d rather have the feels and learn to deal than not have them at all.

As the saying goes, you can’t control the waves, but you can learn how to surf.

It’s good to be able to take constructive criticism. What might be a little trickier is quelling the negative voices that come from within. Confidence, at least a big part of it, in my opinion, can come from learning how to retrain your inner voice to play nice.

For this, I tend to use a couple of mental tricks. They are not exactly the same, but they are related.

One is what I call ‘flip it.’ (And no, flip is not a euphemism.) Flip it is a technique whereby, when I have a negative thought, I simply flip the thought around and think the exact opposite. (Example: Negative thought – I’m so stupid! Flipped – I’m really pretty smart!) Hey, it’s not rocket science. Although it might be neuroscience.

Another tactic is one I’ve begun to use when the negative words have already escaped my lips. When that happens, I will simply say out loud “cancel, cancel.” It’s about noticing patterns and retraining the brain.

Awareness of a bad habit is the first step in the process of developing a better one.

At this point you might be asking yourself (or me) what does this have to do with Olympians? Do you think that they never experience self doubt? Highly unlikely. Did you ever hear of a world class athlete without a coach? Of course not. Someone else’s perspective and expertise can be invaluable.

It’s OK to ask for help and get advice.

Trying to do everything yourself and carrying too much weight on your shoulders isn’t a good way to make progress. If you find yourself stuck on something, reach out to someone whom you admire or who has done what you’re attempting to do. Cherry pick the advice if you must but listen with an open mind.

Here I am with Olympic gymnast and champion Aly Raisman

So how do you choose a coach or a mentor? What makes a good one, or even a great one?

You may discover a mentor in an unlikely place. As I go through life I’ve learned that age is not a determining factor for wisdom. True, there are some nuggets that come with years. But you don’t have to be older to be wise. I’ve been mentored by people who could be my grandkids! Life experience and emotional intelligence aren’t restricted to older generations. Again, being open to another’s perspective, regardless of their age, increases the chance that you will learn something of value.

Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know.

There are some well known people in the personal growth arena whose business it is to help us get over ourselves and find success in life. Without spending a penny, you can learn from them and fill yourself up with positive thoughts and tools to build your confidence. Some big players in this arena that come to my mind are Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins, Brendon Burchard and even Gary Vanerchuck. Check out their videos, read their books and fill yourself up with the goodness they offer.

I’ve found some great resources in the form of podcasts and YouTube videos that have been really helpful to me. In some cases, I’ve taken it a step further and put cash on the barrelhead for paid courses from certain people.

If you are an aspiring musician, I highly recommend listening to the Music Industry Blueprint (MIB) by Rick Barker. He is former manager to superstar Taylor Swift. I’ll get this out of the way; to get value from what he teaches, it absolutely DOES NOT MATTER if you’re a fan of her music or not.

Rick’s wheelhouse is that he is a no-nonsense truth teller. Add to that his skill as a music industry guide and a resource connector and he’s a triple threat. (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t sing or play an instrument, though. Phew! 😉 ) He has multiple courses you can purchase, but there is so much to be learned by just listening to him and the music industry pros he brings on his podcast as guests. They really tell it like it is! I particularly liked episodes 79 through 82, a Q & A series he had with music producer Ivan Corraliza, professionally known as ill Factor.

I have a business mentor, some pro trainers in music like singing, guitar playing and music production. I admit, I have a lot of catching up to do, but like they say, there’s no time like the present!

Like the relationship between an athlete and their coach, these relationships require a level of trust and openness…even vulnerability and self reflection. They will develop and change over time. Start by realizing that you probably don’t have all the answers. Be willing to learn and be coached.

“A coach is someone who can give correction without resentment.” ~ Coach John Wooden

When you do, I’m confident that the help you get will start moving you closer and closer your dreams. See what I did there?

What are some of the things you do to build your own confidence?

I’d love to hear from you.



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