Every month I focus on a different topic. Things that are important to me. Things I think are important to other mothers of young children. This month is a biggie: Self Belief.
I feel okay with my self esteem and self confidence. After a shaky start during my teenage years, I think I have those covered. But self belief is a whole other ball game. It’s a bit wobbly. My inner cynic is practically screaming as I write, telling me to stay clear of this topic – that it’s all a bit woo-woo and not for me.
But self belief remains the defining characteristic of so many people I hold in high esteem. Heroes and role models. The people that have an unwavering and tenacious belief in themselves and their dreams.
ProBlogger had its share of heroes and role models as key speakers. I tried to search for the common thread that held very disparate people together, and I found it in self belief.
Here’s what I noted about the speakers at ProBlogger. The bloggers and business owners (dare I say entrepreneurs?) that held 700 people in their thrall …
- They were self assured and charming. They were confident – some quietly so and some more flamboyant. But each of them knew that they had something valuable to contribute. Didn’t just know it – passionately believed it. And because they believed it, we believed it.
- They had a very clear purpose. They were well aware of their passion and knew their “why”. They were also brave enough to step away when things weren’t going in the direction they wanted. They had enough self belief to re-position themselves when their business/blog stopped aligning with their passions. Even when everyone around them probably wondered what on earth they were doing. I cannot tell you how much I loved the fact that Brandon Cowan, a successful app developer, has decided to follow his passion and take up a position with an animal shelter. Many people would question that decision. But he is following his heart and his belief.
- They knew their strengths and their weaknesses. They were assured enough to outsource the things they knew that weren’t great at so that they could concentrate on the things they were. Business coach types call this your “zone of genius”. And it takes self belief to operate within it, to the exclusion of other things. To trust that where you enjoy spending your time can translate into success.
- They had a positive relationship with money. None of them seemed money-hungry but nor was money a dirty word. They were speaking at a blogging conference because they were successful, and, let’s face it, money is a measure of that. Each of them adopted the approach that money allowed them to build their businesses and have a positive impact on the world. None of them seemed embarrassed by money. None of them felt they didn’t deserve to be paid for their passions.
- They viewed rejection as a stepping stone, rather than the end of the road. They had enough self belief to withstand the “nos”. And they each talked about facing those “nos”. It takes personal resolve and unrelenting commitment to an idea to do that. To believe in yourself when no-one else is. To have enough internal fortitude and resilience that you can take the constructive criticism and let the other things bounce.
- They weren’t afraid to invest in themselves. They didn’t wait until a certain milestone before spending money on things that would ultimately grow their businesses or blog. If they could invest in themselves, they did it. They didn’t wait for an external validating factor. They backed themselves and dove in.
One of the people I greatly admire is Lisa Messenger and I know I am not alone with that girl crush. She is a living, breathing example of where self belief can get you. Her book, Daring & Disruptive, talks more eloquently than I ever could on the topic of self belief. If it’s something you struggle with as well, I would recommend the book for the chapter on belief alone.
I don’t think I am going to wake up tomorrow with a sense of self belief simply by watching and mirroring those who do. I think the first thing I need to do is clarify exactly what it is I want to do. To think about exactly what the “self” in self belief represents. To borrow Darren’s term from ProBlogger, to know my “why”. I think you have to be clear about it, before you can believe in it.
I have made myself a little workbook to help with that. It’s not quite done yet, but if you subscribe to my newsletter, you will get a copy when it is.
Until then, here is a sneak peek (click on the image to download – it might take a while as it’s a large-ish PDF) …