"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."
Self-belief or self-confidence is a key to reaching your goals. According to Mark Tyrrell, self-belief is a learnable trait. In order to grow in self-confidence, you must silence your inner critic. You must turn weaknesses into strengths. You must be your own coach or cheerleader. You must stop comparing yourself to others. You must learn not to take criticism personally. Remember that self-belief gives you the strength to take action, to bring you closer to your goal.
Once you establish your goal, don't let anyone or anything deter you from that goal. When Rob and I decided to adopt a baby, it was like I put on blinders. I became oblivious to the naysayers, to the critics. All I saw was my goal. I kept my eyes on the prize. I was a woman on a mission and no one was going to stop me. Within a year and a half, I was holding my bundle of joy.
When Roger Bannister set out to break the four-minute mile, he tried to accomplish something that hadn't ever been done, despite the efforts of many. In May of 1954, he crossed the finish line, his arms upraised, in under four minutes. It was like a barrier was broken, not just the ticker tape on the track, but a barrier in the mind of all runners that the four minute mile was possible. The words "It can be done!" ran through their minds. Within weeks, in July of 1954, two more runners broke the four-minute mile at the Commonwealth Games. And the rest is history.
When I think of self-belief, I think of the son of an itinerant race horse trainer who was asked to complete a project in high school. Not accustomed to receiving good marks, since he was on the road a lot with his dad, he put his heart and soul into the assignment, nonetheless. The teacher asked him to write a paper about what he wanted to do when he grew up. The boy wrote a detailed paper about his plans to own a horse ranch. He even drew a diagram of the 200 acre ranch, showing the location of the buildings, stables and track. He included a 4000 square foot house that sat on the ranch.
Two days later, the teacher handed back his assignment, marked with a big red "F" and the words "See me after class." The boy met with the teacher who said: "This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources...There's no way you could ever do it." Then she added: "If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade."
The boy went home with the paper and asked his father what to do. His father left the decision in the hands of his son, knowing that it was an important decision to make. Finally, after a week, the boy returned to the teacher with his answer: "You can keep the F and I'll keep my dream."
The boy kept his school paper. Today it's sit in a frame over his fireplace in his 4000 square foot house on his 200 acre horse farm. Listen to your heart. Don't let anyone steal your dreams!
Source: "Follow Your Dream", Chicken Soup for the Soul (1993) at http://www.chickensoup.com/.
For more information, read The Power of Self-Belief by Oluseyi Eyitayo at http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Self-Belief-Oluseyi-Eyitayo/dp/1857566394.