The biggest secret

Come on now, admit it, how often have you looked at a successful person and wondered how they made it, what is their secret?

Well, the answer is really very simple, successful people have…

…high self-esteem. A successful person believes in their abilities. They are motivated, they have vision, goals and ambition and they know they can achieve what they set out to do because they believe in themselves.

But that doesn’t mean they started out that way, or that all is as it appears on the outside. How true that old saying is, the one that goes “In order to fool the world, you must first fool yourself…’

Have you ever done something, just because you boastingly told someone you could and didn’t want to look an idiot by not doing it, when things came to the crunch? And then you look back afterwards and realise that it wasn’t that bad, after all? It’s surprising what you can achieve by telling yourself you can. Before I was 12, I learnt to milk a cow, not be afraid of spiders and speak in public by doing just that – not that I was a precocious child at all!

So perhaps not all successful people start out as either confident or competant. Many may start just as nervous and uncertain as anyone else, but what they do have is motivation and a desire to achieve. Couple that motivation with a little self deceit and then as you begin to achieve your goals and make small successes, a successful person begins to realise that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. You set their goals a little higher next time and you succeed again, and so you begin to feel even more confident in your abilities and aim for bigger and better – and so it goes on.

Every day you become more aware of your abilities and recognize that the opportunities to stretch your capabilities are absolutely limitless. You want growth, challenges and success and with each success, your self-esteem will provide you with the energy to reach the next goals.

So where to start? And how do you cope when your little sucess doesn’t go so well and ends up a little defeat? No one likes to fail and everyone likes to be praised, so turn that to your advantage.

When someone offers you praise, learn to accept it. It seems such a simple thing, but how many of us stammer and blush and have no idea what to say when someone says something nice to us? Don’t dismiss or belittle your achievement, because if you do, so will others!

I found this a real problem when I first re-entered the workforce until I learned that the best answer is the simplest one of all – simply say ‘Thank you’. If you cannot force out any single other thing, just say ‘Thank you.”

And when things don’t go so well and there is no one to tell you how wonderful you are, make sure that you step up to the plate and give yourself a pat on the back. Don’t focus on what went wrong until you have gained enough emotional space to be able to look at it all objectively. In those first, hot, miserable moments take a deep breath and look for the good bits and use them as a balm for your soul. You are going to have to make a consious effort to do this at first, but eventually it will become second nature.

Do ask yourself:

  • What went right?
  • What did I achieve that I haven’t been able to before?

Don’t ask:

  • Why didn’t I…
  • How could I…
  • What could I do better..?

The first two are self defeating and the 3rd isn’t something you can really give fair thought to until you are over that first dissapointment. And if it’s all gone so badly wrong that you can’t find the silver lining even with a microscope, then fall back on the “fooling the fool” technique. If you tell yourself something often enough and go through life as if it’s true, eventually it is.

Below are some positive statements you can say that will help you to continue to believe in yourself and to become every bit as successful as any of those other successful people you admire:

  • I can do this! (My personal favourite and generally adaptable to most situations including sitting behind a cow with a bucket and no clue!)
  • I am just as good as everyone else.
  • I am motivated and have a mission with realistic and measurable goals.
  • I have something new to learn, every day.
  • I accept complete responsibility for everything I think, say, feel, and do.
  • I look for the window of opportunity in every situation.
  • I know that I will learn from every experience if I just choose to do so.
  • I always help others to do their best and I encourage everyone to contribute something.
  • I correct my course when I reach an obstacle. This way, when things go wrong, I am still headed in the right direction.
  • I expect and appreciate change. It does not overwhelm me because I am prepared for it.
  • I stand up for my own opinions and values and respect others.
  • I am able to manage myself. I do not require instruction every step of the way.
  • I am not afraid of making mistakes or of taking reasonable risks.
  • I am my own coach. I engage in positive self-talk and rehearsal.
  • I am a life-long student. I am always ready to learn, and I know growth takes sustained effort.
  • I know myself well and still expect to find hidden talents, resources, strengths, weaknesses, energy, and interests.
  • I respect reality both pleasant and painful.
  • I engage in self-confrontation and do not blame others.
  • I readily forgive others and myself and correct mistakes when possible.
  • I am patient, kind, gentle, and compassionate with myself. I have no need to prove anything to anyone but myself.
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