When I thought about the perfect gift—the one thing I most wanted to give you, dear reader, it was this.
But it takes some believing on your part.
No, you don’t have to believe in Santa, although that can help.
To ‘unwrap’ the gift, let’s start with the basics: here’s a quote from author and entrepreneur James Clear:
“The biggest difference I’ve noticed between successful people and unsuccessful people isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources. It’s the belief that they can make their goals happen.”
To have that belief in yourself. That’s the present I’d love to give you — but it’s actually something you have to work out on your own.
What I can give is a question.
I know, you may not think that a question is a suitable holiday gift.
But a juicy question that helps you confront your own crap and get past it—to open up and start moving forward? Well, that sounds like a great gift to me!
All this comes from a question that my business coach asked me, “Do you trust yourself to get the work done?” She wanted to know whether or not I actually believed I could accomplish what I was setting out to do. She wanted to know if I believed in myself.
When she asked me this two years ago, I remember there was a long and uncomfortable pause before I answered. I had to really think about it.
And that was troubling.
Because my answer should have been, “hell, yeah!”
I wished it had been. But I couldn’t honestly say that.
And this made me wonder—at my core—did I believe in myself, in the work that I do, and in my ability to develop my career.
The question was actually a gift. Because it set me off on a fascinating journey to get to the root of what was standing in my way. This has involved lots of reading, reflection, writing, hard work, and personal development.
So here I am regifting to you this wonderful and, if you’re anything like me, troubling question:
DO YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF?
In your ability to accomplish what you set out to do? Do you believe that you are worthy and capable of doing the work needed to reach your goals?
Because nothing is possible if you don’t start from a place of belief and trust in yourself.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not peddling a simple fantasy of “believe it and it will come true.”
What I AM saying is this: if self-doubt and fear are plaguing your every step, then you’re not going to get very far.
On the most elemental level, you need to believe that you are capable, that you have what it takes to make the changes you seek to make. That you are WORTHY.
How does change happen? It’s a sequential process that starts in our beliefs about ourselves. Gandhi described it like this:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Most of us, I’ve found, tell ourselves we’re “all in” and that “we’re fully committed” and that we’re ready and willing to do what it takes.
And we think we’re being honest.
But when it comes down to actually doing the work—well, that’s when we see who the real believers are.
Because for many of us, our conflicting priorities, self-doubt, and low self-esteem, all conspire against us. They prevent us from taking the necessary consistent actions outside our comfort zones.
The question that my coach asked me made me uncomfortable. The work I had set out to do made me uncomfortable.
But here’s a key lesson from Barbara Stanny’s terrific book,
“The number one requirement for success is simply this: you’ve got to be willing to be uncomfortable.”
Barbara writes, “Every time you go to do something different, every time you deviate from the norm, every time you break a habit or end a pattern, your brain cries, ‘Stop, this doesn’t feel right. Don’t do it.’ ”
She explains, “Discomfort is an automatic response to anything out of the ordinary. The ability to tolerate discomfort is absolutely essential to get to the next level in any area of your life. Anxiety, fear, worry, nervousness, resistance . . . all these are normal reactions to new situations. It need not mean something’s wrong. It just means that something is different.”
If you want to succeed you’ve got to be willing to feel the discomfort, the fear, the self-doubt, and do it anyway. Taking consistent daily and weekly actions outside our comfort zones is the only way to move forward.
Psychotherapist and author Barry Michels says, “What I know for sure is this: if you’re comfortable, you’re not fully alive. Everyone thinks the comfort zone is going to make life safe, but all it really does it make life small.”
“Your playing small does not serve the world.” — Marianne Williamson
The world needs from each of us our best selves.
So for this holiday I hope you can put this gift to use. If your beliefs need some re-aligning, take heart, because the first step to change is acknowledging where you are. YOU CAN DO IT!
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Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well