“The worst moment of my life,” I thought, as I sat down at the table. My gut seized. No! I think I’m going to throw up.
After more than five years of work, my dream project was being taken from me. This project was going to set the positive course of my next 30 years of life.
However, the tall guy, who was going to take the project and my dream from me, glared at me from across the table.
I decided to be polite. This simple lunch, in a nearby diner, was hopefully going to create peace and a positive resolution. I reached for the napkin dispenser to get a napkin to hand him.
Reaching for that napkin, I stood up, and my suit jacket sleeve caught on my tall, plastic cup of water.
And time stopped. The water cup tilted, balanced on the edge of the bottom rim.
I felt it in that instant. The water cup’s going to spill over, and I can’t stop it.
Splash! Water all over the table.
My gut clenched. Now, I’m going to vomit.
But both of us were in action, tossing napkins on the table, trying to stop the water from soaking the floor. Such water would create a hazard for the server’s return to our table.
The other guy laughed. I didn’t.
But … a miracle. Some tension was eased.
I then improvised and built rapport with the other guy. And the project was not taken from me. An agreement was reached.
I share this story because the true source of how you can believe in yourself is probably different from your first imaginings.
How can this be?
Through the standard school system and the guidance of parents and guardians, many of us were taught to believe in our talent. “Oh, you’re so talented at this.” We were required to be a good boy or a good girl. We heard, “I’m so proud of you. You got an ‘A’ on this report.”
On the other hand, I’m now inviting you to look at certain essential supports for your real and sustainable belief in yourself. You can build success and the ability to influence others on these true supports of your self-belief.
The essence of our conversation here is to…
Shift from a Thought Pattern of “I believe in myself because I accomplish”
“I believe in myself because I prepare, participate, learn and adapt in the moment.”
You see that this is a shift from the external to the internal. You empower yourself by looking at your internal choices as opposed to letting other people’s opinions rule your life.
Here are 3 Secrets for Sustainable Belief in Yourself
1. Measure by your heart, not their approval
You’ve likely noticed that much of your life you have been graded, and your performance has been measured. Here I’m suggesting that we measure by our hearts. You measure by your own values and your own aspirations.
Fortunately, I carried on to shift from concern about his scorn to transforming this moment into an opportunity to create rapport. With such rapport, we moved forward to a resolution.
When you measure by your heart, you approach your life with a growth mindset. You’re learning, preparing, and rehearsing. You’re able to get better and develop your skills.
Meanwhile, the truth is you can do all the appropriate preparation and rehearsal and still not get the outcome that you want. Perhaps, the marketplace does not respond to your work. The feature film The Princess Bride landed with a thud at the box office. But this film has continued for decades to serve millions of people who have purchased copies on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray.
Some of our work serves as a staircase to our doing better work with our next project.
Elon Musk said that success requires having a high pain threshold. Along this line, we’re looking at nourishing your personal strength by measuring by your heart. That gives you the stamina.
The good news is: When you measure by your heart and not their approval, you can give yourself appropriate acknowledgement that you are moving forward.
2. Engage with doing and being present
All of life includes improvising. Every conversation you experience calls upon you to listen, adapt and respond. Many conversations involve restraining yourself and keeping certain emotions in check. In the situation that include my tipping over the water cup, I needed to carry on and ultimately create rapport to bring the painful and stressful situation to a resolution.
In my work as the Spoken Word Strategist, I help my clients focus on Words. Strategy and Rehearsal. This process helps each client develop compelling communication for an important situation.
Consider dividing your goals into Effort-Goals and Result-Goals. Your Effort-Goals will focus on preparation and rehearsal. With the appropriate Words, Strategy and Rehearsal, you will be able to improvise and be in the present moment — and perform at your best.
We seek to develop our vital skills that include focusing on what you’re doing in this present moment. As a side note: It’s valuable to develop daily habits like meditation so that you can shift from a stressful perception into one of calm and peace. Even a daily five-minute meditation session can change the structure of your brain. You’ll be empowered to perform at your best in moments that feel truly stressful.
3. Define Your Own Healthy Identity
Many of us are locked into the identity placed on us by parents, guardians, and the traditional school system. The old idea was you have value based on “you are talented, and you accomplished what we say is important.”
Instead, consider defining your own healthy identity built on something other than other people’s approval and only accomplishments. Build your identity on how you devote efforts and you participate in life. The idea is that you focus on how you prepare, participate, learn and adapt in the moment. This gives you a solid foundation, which helps you maintain your poise in stressful situations.
My point is: Avoid relying on other people’s version of your identity. Instead, choose your identity as someone who prepares, learns and adapts.
Facing other really tough moments in my life, I have relied on rehearsing every day, and I work with mentors. I have developed improvisational skills to perform in stressful situations.
Focus not just on your accomplishments and other people’s approval. Consider an internal approach in which you measure by your heart. You will radiate more confidence, and people will say Yes to your influence.
Build your internal strength as you say to yourself: “I prepare, participate, learn and adapt in the moment. I am growing. I take appropriate risks and feel fulfillment in my life.”
The best to you.
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Tom Marcoux, Spoken Word Strategist and Executive Coach
CEO, International Speaker-Author of 50 Books
including the book Convince Investor to Fund You: The Insider’s Guide to Avoid Deadly Mistakes and Gain Real Success with Your Startup Business