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Don’t Wait Until You Feel Confident

[Adapted from an article written by my colleague, Rich Litvin.  Most of the language is his]

Meryl Streep has received a record 21 Academy Award nominations and won three. She has received a record 32 Golden Globe Award nominations and won eight.

Yet she’s said, “I have varying degrees of confidence and self-loathing… You can have a perfectly horrible day where you doubt your talent… Or that you’re boring and they’re going to find out that you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Maya Angelou published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and many plays, movies and television shows, in the 50 years before her death. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.

She once said, “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’

Basketball great Kobe Bryant played for the NBA for 20 years, winning 5 championships, including 3 in a row. He was an 18-time All-Star, a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team. He was also fluent in many languages, including English, Spanish, and Italian.

He once said, “I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’

Taylor Swift is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She has sold 200 million records worldwide.  She has won 11 Grammy Awards, 29 Billboard Music Awards and 58 Guinness World Records.

She once said, “I doubt myself 400,000 times per 10-minute interval. I have a terrifyingly long list of fears… [including] people getting tired of me.”

John Lennon’s biographer Larry Kane, wrote: “People would be surprised at how insecure John Lennon was… Throughout his life, even during the height of Beatle mania, he had poor self-esteem, even though he exuded confidence.

Confidence is a result, not a requirement. And it’s often a pretty fleeting result at that. 

Erich Fromm said:

“The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.”

You and I are often hoping we can somehow get the confidence to do the things we need to do.  But the truth is that confidence comes from the doing. You don’t first have the confidence and then do the thing. It works the other way.

3 suggestions for success in the face of lack of confidence:

  1. Honor yourself. Don’t wait for others to be proud of you. Start every day by saying, “I am proud of me. I approve of me. I trust me. I like me. I am enough.” Give yourself all the praise and recognition you secretly crave before you begin your day, instead of trying to get it during the day.

  2. Define success in your own terms, not other people’s. Create metrics for success that work for you. Create an “I Know I’m Successful When…” list. Mine includes items like: “My life is simple, effortless and fun. I am stronger, fitter and healthier each year than the year before. My revenue exceeds my lifestyle desires.”

  3. Celebrate your successes. When you have achieved something or overcome a challenge, take a moment to celebrate. Find an advisor or friend to celebrate with and pause to enjoy the moment before moving on.

If ‘imposter syndrome’ and lack of confidence are keeping you from building a million dollar practice, let’s talk.

But only if you want to KEEP REACHING

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