When I was in my late teens, I fell into a very bad relationship with someone who had very low self-esteem. As a result, the only way they could feel good about themselves was to constantly tear me down and magnify any mistakes I made to make me look incompetent. I wasn't, and the mistakes I made were common to just about anyone else. No one is perfect, and we all drop things, forget things, and even fall down every once in a while, but when someone is constantly doing all they can to highlight and over-exaggerate your faults and failures it can seem overwhelming.
The end result was a deterioration of my self-confidence and self-worth. I soon began to see myself as a failure and incompetent. I began to question my every decision, and even the "great" things I attempted to do in my life seemed impossible. Over time, I settled into a mindset of mediocrity and gave up any dreams of accomplishing anything lasting in my life.
It was many years later that I finally broke free of that relationship and began to see myself in a new light. Without someone constantly hammering away at my every mistake, I soon found it possible to believe in myself again. I started trying harder things that pushed me and found miraculously that I could actually do them. I wasn't the hopeless mess that I had been told again and again that I was. Eventually, that positive mindset and momentum led me to great things.
There are some people who seem born supremely confident. Anything they are given to try, they do without question or hesitation, and somehow they succeed. It seems like every day they are growing more and more perfect.
And then there are the rest of us.
Some of us have limited belief in what we are capable of accomplishing. Some of us have no belief in what we can do. This can come either through bad experiences or through former relationships, but there is some anchor in our past that we are stuck to that forever limits us and what we believe about ourselves. We cannot move past that self-imposed limitation on our abilities.
Sometimes the hardest thing you can do is step into the unknown. We seek safety and stability--even trying to find it in bad situations--simply because there is a part of us that is wired for the routine. Unfortunately, when we fall into this habit, we fail to ever reach the heights of our potential. We kill that nagging voice inside us that says we could be more and do more simply because we don't want to take that chance.
How many great books will we never get to read because the author didn't believe in themselves enough to start that first page? How many wonderful songs will we never hear because the singer just didn't have the confidence to sing that first note? How many beautiful works of art will we miss seeing because the artist didn't find it in themselves to pick up that paintbrush?
Did you ever stop to realize just how many unique things are out there today thanks to one person? People may try to copy what they do, but they are--to you--the original and best. Maybe it's an actor, artist, author, or singer, but regardless of who it is, they are unique. Without them, the world would be missing that beautiful addition.
Charles Schultz gave us Snoopy even though he was told countless times that he wasn't creative. Walt Disney gave us Mickey Mouse even though his first cartoon creation (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit) was stolen from him by his employer at the time. Edison gave us light bulbs, Ford gave us cars, Maya Angelou gave us poetry, and Denzel Washington gave us unforgettable movies! While others have built upon their foundations and used them for inspiration in what they do, they are still the originals and we wouldn't have the world we have today if they hadn't been in it and blessed us all with the gift of themselves.
What amazing thing are you robbing the world of today? You may think you have little or nothing of originality to contribute, but you're wrong. Stop doubting yourself. Stop holding back.
Maybe you aren't the next Michelangelo or Cher, but you are you and that's enough! Try something daring! Believe in yourself enough to take a tiny first step into the unknown and see where it leads you. If you start that forward momentum of belief in yourself, every little victory adds that much more fuel to the fire of change in your life. In just a short time, you'll look back and be amazed at what you have accomplished. And then, it'll help you build confidence for an even greater vision in the future.
Regardless of what someone else has told you, you can do this. Take a leap of faith in yourself and prove the naysayers wrong!
P.S. My motivational presentation "Not 'Just' Anything" is all about this process and is specifically crafted to help you energize and encourage your team. I'd love to come and speak to your company with my motivational magic!