On Day 3 of the 2000 Olympic Games, my beach volleyball partner and I were struggling in our elimination game against Germany. We needed to pick up our game, and I drew on some extra energy and focus to just ‘go for it’ with my serve. I connected with the ball and it found the sand on the other side, and the crowd roared – I had just served an Olympic record for fastest serve.
Sometimes you have just got to find something extra inside to go for it in your own life and career. It’s times like these that you have to back yourself and your mental focus will determine how successful you are.
In last week’s article with the 5 ingredients in my recipe for success, I promised to focus on the first ingredient – Confidence.
Confidence can mean different things for you and I, and here I want to talk in the context of having confidence in yourself so that you:
- Say yes to an opportunity;
- Step up as a leader;
- Take on that which you fear;
- Express yourself fully and live your truth.
Confidence = a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
You don’t necessarily have to identify with being a “confident person” to have confidence. Think about what you are confident of knowing or doing? You know your name, and if I argued you that it was different, I’m pretty sure (confident even) that you would argue strongly what your name is.
Imagine having that same confidence (for knowing your name), for something else in your life that you feel less confident about. For example, some people don’t feel confident about selling themselves. They have doubt or self-talk that states that it’s wrong, or that people don’t want to listen to them, or some other story.
Doubt and negative self-talk erode self-confidence.
There’s no doubt in your mind about your name. When I was going up to serve that volleyball, I was paying attention to contacting that ball correctly to score a winner. I didn’t have space in my mind for doubt and negative self-talk.
Where in your life, and with speaking, do you have to let go of doubt and negative self-talk?
Three quick tips to help you let go of doubt and replace it with confidence and even certainty.
1. Be aware of doubts and what you are saying to yourself, especially when you are holding back.
2. Focus on what you do want and create pictures of success. Be clear on your desired outcome and then focus on the process to achieve that.
3. Take action – doing something (anything) will help you overcome the inertia of doubt.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie
This can be applied to any area of life, business or pleasure. The reason high-rope courses, abseiling and parachuting are often used for professional and personal development is because they teach you to quiet your mind of self-doubt, to focus on the process and to take action.
I’ve seen people achieve the same development through presentation skills and speaker training, because they are taking action to overcome the doubts and simply focus on the process.
On that day in September 2000 I stepped it up to serve an ace and a record. It wasn’t enough to save the game, and a couple of days later my record was broken, but that attitude has served me well and has won me many points and victory OFF the sporting field.
Get in the habit of taking action and saying yes to you and your dreams. Just go for it!
Please share your experiences and views. What works for you to get the confidence to go for it?