I didn’t become a fireman, nor an astronaut, and I am not Batman – well nobody has ever seen Batman and me in the same room…
Instead I am something I never imagined I would be. And I kinda got here by default. Stuff just sort of happened. I don’t regret it, I love what I do! But at some point I stopped believing that anything is possible, and I’ve held myself back from all sorts of things as a result.
For most of us, the last time that we truly believed we could do anything we set our minds to was at the age of 6.
We were moulded by life, by choices our parents made, by choices we made, where we grew up, and by the generally subjective opinions of the influential people around us.
No Richard, you can’t do maths, you’re not smart enough. Really? No Richard, you wear glasses, you can’t become a swimmer. Really? No Richard, she’s too good for you, set your sights lower. Well maybe….
And so it continued.
Some of the constraints were real, some were obstacles that others had experienced in their lives, and the intent was to protect me from experiencing the same disappointments myself. That is a natural, understandable, and although good intent, it is not necessarily in my best interests. The reason is simple, I am not you.
Ultimately though, my biggest constraint has been the person looking back at me in the mirror. My own lack of self-belief and lack of self-confidence has been the greatest inhibitor on the journey my life has taken.
As much as I would like to blame those around me for robbing me of the ability to believe in myself, especially in those hugely influential formative years, the power to change that has been in my hands ever since. It is hard to realize how great that power is when you’re trapped in a mire of self-denigration.
So essentially it is the biggest word in the English dictionary that has tripped me up – fear.
Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of disappointing others and fear of not being good enough are just some of my fears. I have always put huge pressure on myself to do everything ‘right’. Now there’s a play on words… But right in whose eyes, and what is right anyway!
As a deep thinker, and an intense over analyser of life and stuff in general, it is easy to get caught in the trap of trying to figure out what caused my lack of self-belief, and how best to turn it around. I have a doctorate from the University of Over Analytical Thinking.
But the fact of the matter is that no amount of philosophizing will affect one iota of change. In the words of Richard Branson – a man who was handed a raw deal in life and who believed in himself enough to change it – “Screw it, let’s do it”
Besides, what have you got to lose?
Failure? Rejection? Disappointment?
Ironic that we fear the very things that already prevent us from succeeding.
Waiting for others to believe in you before you dare to believe in yourself is a recipe for failure. But that’s what we do. We wait until we’ve already proven ourselves, not realising that that is failure in itself, and I know all too well the disappointment that accompanies the look in the eyes of the man looking back at me in the mirror.
Most of us live our lives based on what we already know to be true. And so our life becomes a repeat of exactly that – our past – a comfort zone if you will. We keep making beef lasagne because we know we’re already good at it.
Our comfort zone is not the place where magic happens. Magic happens when you step outside of that zone.
When you come into contact with someone who oozes self-belief from every pore (not arrogance and not attitude, but a genuine self-acceptance and self-confidence) it’s hard not to believe in them. In fact, dare I say it, it’s nigh impossible. Self-belief is contagious. I believe in you, because you believe in yourself!
It is not too late to become all you ever wanted. Because ultimately what you wanted was to feel that anything is possible. To feel capable. To feel the confidence associated with a deep seated belief in whom you are.
The secret is simple. Stop wasting time whining and trying to figure it out!
Screw it, just do it! Make a conscious decision. Today!
You truly do have nothing to lose.