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Leadership Thought #395 – First, You Have to Believe in Yourself

August 3, 2012

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You must believe in yourself to become the hero of your own journey of life.

I have met many talented people through the years who struggle with self-confidence and low self-esteem.  I don’t know if it is how they were raised by their parents or other environmental factors in their lives growing up, but it is often surprising to see and a bit sad. Unfortunately, the most capable or well-intentioned people do not always assume leadership roles.  I have seen the flip side of this issue where people with too much self-confidence put themselves in positions, they have no business being in.  The leadership void will get filled one way or another.

Obviously, a leader needs to be competent.  It is understood that he/she should know what they are talking about and have the experience to make well-informed and wise decisions.  When you are in over your head everyone close to the situation can usually see it.   You can only fake competence for so long without it catching up with you.  The good news is that competence can be learned with commensurate effort and supplemented by the skills/abilities of other people (if your ego doesn’t get in the way).

Believing in yourself is a much trickier issue. When you have low self-confidence, it often hinders your ability to communicate effectively, manage conflict, take risks, motivate others, and trust your own judgment.  You must be able to do all these things if you want to lead people and run an organization.   Moreover, individuals who don’t believe in themselves tend to settle for second best in their own lives feeling like they deserve what they get rather than going after what they want.  If they are not careful, they will also let the wrong people into their lives who will prey on these vulnerabilities both personally and professionally.

If you are struggling with low levels of self-belief and self-confidence, I highly encourage you to see out professional guidance to help you fully understand why and work on it.  I also encourage you to focus on things you can more easily control in your life like saving a little more money, practicing better work habits, watching what you eat, exercising more and improving how your dress and present yourself.  If you feel healthier and better about yourself, it will be easier to work through the deeper issues hindering your growth and development.  I also strongly advise you to step back and reflect on your closest relationships, whether they are good for you and where you want to go in life.  The goal should be for you to operate from a place that empowers rather than disempowers you.

If you genuinely want success and happiness in your life, then you first need to believe in yourself and that you can take the steps necessary to make this happen.  You also need to feel you deserve it when it does.