Showing posts with label Self-Image. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Self-Image. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The GPS Guide to Success

Alex Tremble, author of The GPS Guide to Success

I am drawn to people who have an exciting vision and take bold action. I’m especially impressed with individuals who develop these behavior patterns at a young age.

Alex Tremble is such a person, and I’m privileged to know him.

We met on Twitter after he gave me positive feedback about one of my blog posts. Our 140-character exchanges led to phone conversations where I learned about his deep commitment to helping young people. His passion is to provide high school students, college students and young professionals with tools and opportunities that can help them succeed.

Following his own model for success led Alex to become the youngest U.S. Federal employee chosen to manage a Government-wide executive development program and receive an invitation to the 2013 White House Youth Summit. It’s also what drove him to start his own company, GPS Leadership Solutions, and write an ebook.

After reading The GPS Guide to Success: How to Navigate Life to Reach Your Personal and Career Goals, I was impressed with the life principles he’s internalized, and I realized why he’s achieved so much already in his life.

It’s because he’s living what he writes about.

Alex describes a simple three-step system (Goals-Plans-Strategies) for achieving your dreams.

These steps are presented in a clear, easy-to-follow format – important for his target audience.

One of my favorite chapters focuses on the benefits of figuring out the WHY of your goal. Too often we decide WHAT we want and then jump into figuring out HOW to get there.

But taking time to examine WHY you want to achieve your goal pays big dividends down the road. Because your WHY will continue to fuel your motivation and drive when the going gets tough.

The process Alex recommends you follow to get at your WHY involves drilling down to uncover your deepest reason. Here’s what you do:

1.  Identify your goal, the outcome you want to achieve.

2.  Ask yourself, “Why is that my goal?” and “Why is that important?”

3.  After you come up with your answers, ask the same two questions regarding the responses you just gave.

4.  Repeat until you cannot ask WHY anymore.

Alex explains that you've now “most likely identified your end destination.” 

I like to think of it as identifying one of your core values. You've figured out what truly feeds your spirit and gives meaning to your life.

With your Goal clearly tied to your WHY, creating the Plan and developing creative Strategies becomes easier. To stay on that path, Alex gives readers three career tips that are absolutely essential to their success in life and work:

  • Self-Development 
  • Find a Support Network
  • Take Responsibility for Decisions

Anyone entering college or starting their career will find valuable information for navigating unfamiliar territory.

I look forward to seeing what great things Alex accomplishes in his life as he continues to implement his own GPS Guide to Success.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How to Eliminate the Drama in Your Life

I’ve been on a path of self-development for as long as I can remember…always on the look-out for books, podcasts, videos and quotes that inspire me to become more effective as a human being.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is a book that’s had a profound impact upon the way I view myself and everyone I encounter. It’s about adopting a code of conduct that results in a deeper sense of happiness and well-being.

Early in life, we adopt beliefs about ourselves and the world, based on what we’re taught. Those beliefs form a “Book of Law” that becomes our inner Judge, judging everyone and everything in our lives—including ourselves. Without a conscious awareness of this presence, we can allow this Judge to make us feel guilt and shame for no good reason.

It takes courage to challenge the rules and beliefs you've embraced your whole life because they’re so familiar. And you risk activating the Judge in others if you deviate from behaviors they've come to expect from you.

The book recommends adopting four “agreements” that empower you to break away from beliefs that don’t serve you well.

Incorporating these four patterns can eliminate the drama in your life—both the drama you create within yourself and the drama you allow others to create by the way you react to them.

1st Agreement – Be Impeccable with Your Word

When I first read this one, I thought, I've got this covered. I consider myself a person of high integrity and I tell the truth. 

But there’s much more to this agreement…

Being impeccable includes being “without sin” in the way you treat yourself. Blaming and judging yourself are forms of self-rejection, so it’s important to avoid using “your word” against yourself. How much energy do you dedicate to loving yourself?

I have to admit, I've had to make a conscious effort to keep my inner critic from running rampant. It’s always been easier for me to dwell on how I fell short, what I did or didn't do well, instead of treating myself in a loving way and giving myself credit for the positive things I did.

Another aspect of this agreement is what we say to others and about others. Do you convey respect and kindness in your interactions with loved ones and strangers alike?

When you allow your Judge to criticize others – whether verbally or just in your own mind – you create a negative ripple effect. What can you do to inject more positive energy into conversations?

2nd Agreement – Don’t Take Anything Personally

You take things personally when you interpret a person’s words or actions as being about you. Most often, their reaction is about where they are at that moment.

If you’re like me, you may find that you’re most sensitive to others’ words when you’re experiencing self-doubts. It’s easy to take offense and jump into defending your actions or trying to prove you're right.

By adopting this agreement, you avoid unnecessary suffering and angst. You avoid being hurt by what others say or do. You trust your ability to sort through what’s said and make responsible choices going forward.

3rd Agreement – Don’t Make Assumptions

The problem with making assumptions is that we often believe our assumptions are true without verifying their accuracy.

We tend to expect others to see things the way we do, and we experience all kinds of negative emotions like frustration, anger and resentment when they don’t.

The solution is to have the courage to ask questions when you’re not absolutely clear what someone else meant in what they said or did.

And be ready to ask for what you want. Others cannot read your mind, even though you might wish they would. Never assume that they should know!

4th Agreement – Always Do Your Best

This last agreement is what allows you to make the first three deeply ingrained habits, because it’s about taking action.

If you consistently put forth your best effort – whatever that may be at a given moment in time – you silence that inner Judge. There’s no opportunity for guilt, blame or regret because you know you gave it your best shot.

When you do your best because you want to do it – just for the pleasure you get from doing it – you’ll find that you experience genuine happiness.

And accept that you won’t be perfect in implementing the first three agreements. But if you consistently do your best to apply each one, eventually your old habits will grow weaker and the new habits will dominate your thinking and behavior.

As I read this book, I realized that our ProStar Coach system exactly aligns with the Four Agreements. Its purpose is to give people the resources to become stronger for the challenges they’ll face with the first three. And its structure provides the perfect set-up for taking action and practicing in order to make the behavior an ingrained habit.

“If you do your best always, over and over again, you will become a master of transformation. Practice makes the master…Action is what makes the difference.” 
- Don Miguel Ruiz

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Do Words Impact Your Self-Beliefs?

Have you ever become discouraged by someone’s thoughtless comment about your abilities, performance, or appearance?

While it’s true you have the power to reject such negative input, if the remark came from a person you respect or admire, it’s not so easy to dismiss.

One unfortunate side-effect of allowing these comments to penetrate your consciousness is that you can start believing that these words are true and say something about your value as a human being.

If you’re not careful, you can let them re-shape the way you see yourself in a permanent way. And this altered perspective can impact choices you make for the rest of your life.

This almost happened to Vanessa Brewer, the first-year college student featured in Paul Tough’s New York Times Magazine article, “Who Gets to Graduate?”

Vanessa was an honors student in high school but struggled during her first semester at the University of Texas in Austin. After failing her first test in statistics, she called home. She was looking for reassurance from her mother, who had always been supportive. But rather than consoling Vanessa, her mother’s response planted seeds of doubt: “Maybe you just weren't meant to be there. Maybe we should have sent you to a junior college first.” 

Vanessa described the impact those words had on her: “I died inside when she said that. I didn’t want to leave. But it felt like that was maybe the reality of the situation. You know, moms are usually right. I just started questioning everything: Am I supposed to be here? Am I good enough?”

Think about this!

Those two sentences spoken by her well-meaning mother struck Vanessa so deeply that she started to question whether she deserved to be a student at UT.

Fortunately, UT has programs in place that encourage and support students like Vanessa who struggle with college life during their first year. These programs provide a support system that makes it safe for students to express their doubts and fears. They discover that they aren't alone and that others have prevailed after experiencing similar challenges.

Without a support system like this to plug into, your self-esteem could spiral downward whenever another person criticizes you.

A few tips to make sure that doesn't happen:

1. Evaluate if the statement is true. Even if it’s an accurate description of something you did, that incident does not define who you are.

2. Set up a positive support system. Make sure you have people in your life who are rooting for you to succeed. Reach out to them when your mind fills with self-doubt, because they can help you restore a balanced view of your worth.

3. Monitor your self-talk. If you find yourself repeatedly criticizing yourself for something you did or said, STOP IT. You cannot change the past, and a constant barrage of negative comments only brings on feelings of guilt and regret. Instead, forgive yourself quickly and move on.

"Other people's opinion of you does not have to become your reality." 
- Les Brown, American author (1945- )

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Taking Responsibility for Your Actions

I have a friend I no longer spend much time with.

She complains a lot and constantly blames someone else for what’s wrong with her life – even her poor husband, who’s been deceased for two years.

This woman seems incapable of taking personal responsibility for any situation. When I’ve pointed out that she has choices, she says something like, “Well, I can’t do anything about that.” It’s always another person’s fault that she’s unhappy.

She seems to be content to play the role of victim. She’s not willing to look within to see where she could take ownership of her situation.

Most people are not this extreme, but…

When something bad happens – and you had something to do with the outcome – it’s natural to want to place the blame somewhere else. At least temporarily, you get relief from your own guilt and discomfort by pointing the finger at another person.

The problem is, deep down you know you were responsible for the consequences. Trying to deny your role only leads to diminished self-respect and self-esteem.

And people eventually find out, if they don’t already know, so you risk losing their respect, too. The solution is to recognize and own up to the part you played in the way things turned out.

The faster you admit that something is your fault, the quicker others are to get over it and move on. It’s worth doing the right thing, even though it may be hard at first.

When you apologize and make amends, two good things happen. First, you’ll respect yourself more. AND you’ll strengthen your relationship with others because people will respect you when you’re strong enough to own up to your mistakes.

These celebrities have some important things to say about the personal strengths of responsibility and accountability:

“If people were really to sit down and honestly look at themselves and the consequences of their actions, they would try to live their lives a lot differently.” - George Lucas

“You’re completely responsible for what you do. And the struggle with that responsibility is the whole challenge in life.” - Bill Murray

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” - Bruce Lee

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Naked Determination – One Woman and Her Inspiring Life Journey

Gisela Hausmann, author of Naked Determination
Too often we look to celebrities from the world of sports, entertainment or business as our heroes. The problem is, these famous folks appear larger-than-life, so we don’t really believe we can achieve the same level of success.

And then there are the everyday heroes. Personally, I find them much more inspiring than the ones whose names are often in the headlines. I can identify with them more readily.

Gisela Hausmann is such a person.

After reading her remarkable book, Naked Determination: Forty-one Spirited Tales for Fearless, Motivated Underdogs, I felt I had made a new friend and learned important lessons I could apply to my own life.

The title alone tells you a lot about her.

And then there are her stories. 41 of them. Each one revealing the unique strengths found in this amazing woman…

Being pushed off the high dive by a bully at age 6 when she couldn't swim and figuring how to survive. Standing up to that same bully (and winning) at age 8 to defend her brother. Later, teaching herself to use a chainsaw. Grabbing the opportunity to get within four feet of Mihkail Gorbachev and take his picture. Traveling to exotic locations that most people have never even heard of, like Lhasa, Zanskar and Ladakh.

Each chapter stimulated me to think about situations in my own life where I had used – or failed to use – the strengths that Gisela has come to engage at will, like courage, boldness and determination.

The structure she employs makes it easy for us as the readers to do this. Each chapter ends with her own insights about the lessons she took away from a specific situation. Then we are left to draw conclusions about applying the ideas in our own life.

No platitudes or general motivation here. Just a brave, adventurous woman telling her own stories in a unique way that will touch your mind, heart and funny bone. A few of my favorite quotes…

How to tackle something unpleasant: “The key was to do it fast, not allow the misery to sink in and to not indulge in malady by verbally reinforcing it.”

Seize the moment: “I live by the concept that we should never hesitate if a once in a lifetime chance opens up.”

Take action NOW: “If we wait to start a journey, the destination may not be anymore what we wanted to find. There is no perfect time to do what we feel we must.”

If you enjoy memorable, real stories delivered in bite-sized chunks by a talented, engaging writer, you will love Naked Determination. It’s a book I’ll go back to whenever I want to remind myself what’s possible for any human being with the drive, grit and tenacity to succeed in life. I highly recommend it.

“It is really only the uncertainty of whether we have the skills to follow through, which keeps the rest of us ordinary instead of extraordinary…All we need to figure out is what we really want.” – Gisela Hausmann

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mental Rehearsal: The Secret to Superior Performance

When you observe truly outstanding performers in any field, it’s like looking at the tip of an iceberg. You can see only a tiny fraction of what lies beneath the surface.

You aren't able to watch the commitment, preparation and repetitions that preceded the performance. And you don’t have access to another element that plays a critical role in their success: mental rehearsal.

The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, learned how to use visualization techniques from his coach Bob Bowman. After each swim practice, the coach gave Michael instructions to go home and “watch the videotape” before falling sleep and upon waking. But the videotape was not physical. It involved mentally visualizing the perfect race in exact detail, with each movement being executed flawlessly. This mental practice, combined with intense physical practice, led to repeated Gold medals and the setting of world records during the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games.

When he was at the peak of his career, world-renowned golfer Jack Nicklaus, revealed one of the secrets to his success: “I never hit a golf shot without having a sharp picture of it in my head. First I ‘see’ where I want the ball to finish. Then I ‘see’ it going there; its trajectory and landing. The next ‘scene’ shows me making the swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”

But this type of mental preparation is not limited to top athletes.

You can use visualization for every area of your life: getting the job you want, starting a business, finding your life partner, or being a strong parent.

In 1983 I was the top producer in a regional sales competition, and in the following year I was #2 nationally. In addition to putting forth the commitment and effort required, I invested time in picturing myself on stage, accepting the award, and feeling the excitement and pride in my accomplishment.

When I spoke to 900 entrepreneurs at a conference in 2011, I spent hours preparing my talk. But I also recognized how critical it was to play mental movies depicting my presentation and the positive response I wanted from the audience.

Maxwell Maltz refers to this technique as “Theatre of the Mind,” in his classic book, The New Psycho-Cybernetics. You learn to watch yourself completing each action perfectly, and you do this repeatedly.

Why is mental rehearsal so successful in improving performance?

When you vividly imagine, in rich detail, the steps to achieving a positive outcome, you strengthen your self-image and build confidence. At the same time, you block out the doubts, fears and insecurities that typically creep in when you’re attempting to do something new.

When you have an important goal you want to reach – or simply a bad habit you want to change – add mental rehearsal to the process and experience the benefits of this powerful strategy. As Maltz reminds us in his book:

“Human beings always act and feel and perform in accordance with what they imagine to be true about themselves and their environment.”

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Are You Immune to Criticism?

My husband Lee and I expanded our garden this spring because we relish the flavor and nutrition in the vegetables we grow ourselves. Lee has been reading about square-foot gardening, so I was intrigued when I saw the photo above. And then I noticed that this garden is in the FRONT yard. I started wondering how many neighbors – or others who drive by – might criticize this effort since it doesn't adhere to the typical “manicured” lawn that many people aspire to.

That made me think about what it takes to develop a “thick skin” so you don’t let yourself get bothered or deterred by negative things others might say about you. A case in point…

I know someone who took his martial arts business from near-bankruptcy to a multi-million dollar company in just a few years. Today he coaches hundreds of entrepreneurs on how to build a strong business. As I've studied his journey to financial success, the thing that impressed me the most was his immunity to criticism. This is a guy who has a deep, unwavering belief in himself and the value he brings to the world. So he’s never let someone else’s disapproval get him down or keep him from moving towards his goals.

It’s not easy to build and maintain this level of self-esteem. Most of us were raised to seek approval and acceptance. We want others to like us, so we often modify our behavior to please them and not ourselves. The fear of rejection can drive us to do things just to try and make someone else happy.

But if you take the desire for acceptance too far, you can sacrifice your own needs and rights. When you lack a strong sense of your own worth, you’ll look to others to validate that you’re worthy. You won’t have confidence in your opinion of yourself.

The key is to truly appreciate your unique value and develop an unshakable belief in yourself. When you hold yourself in high regard, you won’t let critical comments from others disturb you. You may listen to their words, and you may even give them serious thought, but they won’t affect the way you see yourself, because you trust your own opinion of yourself even more.

The more you work on liking and accepting yourself, the stronger you become. And the more you’ll experience the benefits described so eloquently by psychologist Nathaniel Branden:

"As you grow in self-esteem, your face, manner, way of talking and moving will tend naturally to project the pleasure you take in being alive."

Friday, May 24, 2013

Change a Habit, Change Your Life

Recently I was reminded once again how hard it is to change the way we think and the way we act, specifically when it comes to giving up a bad habit and adopting a good one.

My husband Lee and I were at the Outer Banks of North Carolina with a group of enthusiastic bird watchers, and one morning we were having breakfast with another couple.

The topic of food came up.

The husband said he had a history of heart disease in his family and revealed that he’s pre-diabetic. When he was first diagnosed with this condition, he attended classes to help him learn how to choose foods more wisely to reduce his risk of compromising his health further. So he’s now aware of the damage that consuming sweets can do, and he know what foods to eat instead. Yet the facts haven’t altered his attitude or behavior.

His exact words: “I don’t care. I still love cookies and I’m going to eat them. I pretty much eat whatever I want.”

Even though he has a compelling medical reason to change his eating patterns, he’s not open to making any type of modification. Even if it costs him his life.

Unfortunately, his reaction is not unique.

I know several people who face medical challenges that could be corrected if they altered their eating habits. But most of them have refused.

What causes us to close our minds to alternative approaches? Why do we persist in minimizing or ignoring potentially serious consequences when they’ve been clearly mapped out for us?

Part of it stems from our reluctance to stretch outside our comfort zone. What we’ve been doing is familiar. It’s like those comfortable clothes you climb into after you get home from work. You like the way they feel.

Our habits are the same way. We’ve “worn” them a long time. Even thinking about trying something new and unfamiliar can create anxious feelings and thoughts.

Why do I have to give up something I really like to do/have/eat? 
What if it’s too hard?
What if I try and fail? How will that look to others?

Changing a habit means interrupting a routine that’s been firmly established in your brain. And that’s not easy or automatic. It requires physical rewiring a new pathway of neuronal connections. Not only that, this new path has to become even stronger than the old one to over-ride your ingrained response.

While there are many factors involved in making a change - including the repetition of the new behavior dozens or hundreds of times - here are three that have a huge impact on your success rate.


You have to believe that you’re capable of making this change, that it’s possible for YOU. This may sound simple, but it’s not. We all carry a lot of baggage related to our capabilities, much of it inaccurate. Your self-image is the driving force behind everything you attempt or achieve in life, so it’s important to develop a strong belief in your abilities.

In The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg discusses the role belief plays for participants of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): “Once people learned how to believe in something, that skill started spilling over to other parts of their lives, until they started believing they could change. Belief was the ingredient that made a reworked habit loop into a permanent behavior.” 

Duhigg also points out the importance of a support group, such as AA, in expanding one’s beliefs. He shares this insight from Lee Ann Kaskutas, a senior scientist at the Alcohol Research Group: “There’s something really powerful about groups and shared experiences. People might be skeptical about their ability to change if they’re by themselves, but a group will convince them to suspend disbelief. A community creates belief.

Identify a community you can join where the members will help you build belief in the new habit you want to adopt.


How badly do you want to make the change? Until the reason becomes truly compelling, you may not care enough to put forth the necessary effort. Identify the benefits you’ll get if you actually create the new pattern. Write them down and review them every day to keep them in the front of your mind as you go through your day. Visualize how you’ll look, feel and act when you’ve adopted the new behavior. When you connect strong, positive feelings with the new habit, you feed your motivation.


There are two forms of commitment. One is to make the initial commitment – you decide you are going to make the change. The second is to stay committed, even when you encounter obstacles, setbacks and failure. And trust me, you will encounter these difficulties. Recognize that these are just temporary impediments and a natural part of the change process.

A caring community can go a long way in shoring up your resolve and keeping you on track. Whether it’s just one other person or dozens of individuals, these supporters play a key role in strengthening your beliefs, motivation and commitment.

The next time you need to make a significant change or adopt a new habit, remember these words from American psychologist William James:

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind...It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult undertaking which, more than anything else, will determine its successful outcome."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fear vs. Worry: Why They Are Not the Same

Among the many useful insights I took away from Gavin de Becker’s masterful book The Gift of Fear, one of the most profound was a deeper appreciation for the distinction between worry and fear. Until reading the final chapter, I had not pondered the difference. But the author not only defines them clearly, he points out why one is harmful and the other can be life-saving.

Gavin de Becker is one of the most sought-after, highly respected experts on security issues in the world. His firm protects people who are at risk, and his clients include celebrities, governments and large corporations. He knows what he’s talking about, and his book is filled with stories – some startling, some chilling, and all true – that will remain embedded in my brain for years to come.

According to de Becker, people too often associate the word fear with other words like worry, panic and anxiety. But they are not the same. While the latter emotions are voluntary, genuine fear is involuntary. It’s a survival signal wired in us that sounds only in the presence of danger and is intended to be very brief. The problem is that “unwarranted fear has assumed a power over us that it holds over no other creature on earth.”

On the other hand, worry is a choice. When we allow ourselves to become preoccupied with what might happen, there are clear downsides: “It interrupts clear thinking, wastes time, and shortens life.”

So why do we do it?

People expend so much energy on worry because it serves them in some way.

One of the less dramatic but still memorable stories illustrates the point. A client asked De Becker to interview a woman who worked in one of their offices. She was worried about being attacked in the parking lot because she was always the last one to leave. At the end of every work day, she was filled with intense fear and anxiety. When asked why she always left so late, the woman replied that she was concerned about being perceived by her co-workers as lazy. Over time, she came to take pride in having the identify as the employee who always worked the longest. Because of her need to retain this identity, she’d never considered leaving at the same time as others. Instead, she remained stuck in a continuous state of worry.

There’s another problem with constantly being on the alert. When you’re preoccupied with potential dangers that may be lurking, you actually decrease the likelihood that you’ll perceive a real danger or threat. With your imagination working overtime, you’re more likely to miss the specific signals that could tell you something is amiss.

As de Becker says, “If one feels fear of all people all the time, there is no signal reserved for the times when it’s really needed… If we are looking for some specific, expected danger, we are less likely to see the unexpected danger…Your survival brilliance is wasted when you focus on unlikely risks.”

He offers three tips for distinguishing between fear and worry:
1.  When you feel fear, listen.
2.  When you don’t feel fear, don’t manufacture it.
3.  If you find yourself creating worry, explore and discover why. Take time to answer the question: How does this serve me? 

You may find that the price of worrying is greater than the price of changing, and that insight can serve as the motivation you need to make the necessary change.

“To worry oneself is a form of self-harassment …Worry is the fear we manufacture – it is not authentic. If you choose to worry about something, have at it, but do so knowing it’s a choice.” 
Gavin de Becker in The Gift of Fear

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jake Davidson and Kate Upton - Taking a Chance

Jake Davidson and companion in the opening scene of his video

Have you ever thought of doing something audacious but talked yourself out of it because you were afraid of failing...or concerned about what other people might think?

Recently two young people took a risk and it paid off in ways they never expected.

Talia Myers, a USC student majoring in film-making and daughter of my colleague Gordon Myers, created a YouTube video that garnered more than 2 million views in less than a week.

How did she do that?

It’s all because a young man named Jake Davidson decided that he wanted to invite supermodel Kate Upton to his high school senior prom. But he had to find a way to get her attention. That’s where Talia’s expertise came in.

Together they created a two-minute video that resulted in instant celebrity for Jake after Kate responded with this tweet:

The news media got hold of the story and during the next few days Jake was featured on several national TV and radio programs. He became an overnight sensation.

This is the video that started it all…

I know it’s unlikely that you’ll be making a video to invite a famous person out on a date, but Jake and Talia exhibited three personal strengths that you can use, too.


The video stood out. Talia and Jack took a unique approach – incorporating an engaging story and humor into a compelling invitation – and it got Kate’s attention.

Sometimes we base goals on our past experience or what we’ve seen those around us do. Let your imagination run wild. Think BIG. Brainstorm the most fantastic outcome you could hope for, and ask yourself what you need to do to make that a reality.


Jake had no idea if Kate would even respond. But if he hadn’t asked, he would have remained unknown to her. And these publicity opportunities would certainly never have happened.

Examine what holds you back from stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a risk. Think about the worst that could happen. Often, it’s not that bad! Even if you fail, you can learn from the experience. And you’ll realize you can do far more than you originally thought possible.


I think another reason Jake got Kate’s attention was the self-assurance he displays throughout the video. Based on her tweet above and her phone conversation with him on the Today Show, she was clearly taken with him and his approach.

People can sense when you are confident…and when you’re not. Give yourself credit for what you’ve done in the past. You have prevailed in the face of many difficulties in your life. Let those successes remind you to remain poised when presenting your ideas to others.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face.”
Eleanor Roosevelt, American diplomat (1884-1962)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Is a Lack of Confidence Holding You Back?

Several years ago we had an opening in our company for a technical support specialist. This position requires a person to have both technical skills and people skills because the key role is to provide customer support for our software products.

That’s not an easy combination of skills to find in one person, but we had narrowed our choices to two candidates based on strong resumes and an initial phone conversation.

When it came to the in-person interviews, the contrast was stark and the choice became obvious rather quickly.

Candidate A’s body posture and eye contact communicated a complete lack of self-confidence. He rarely looked at me when I spoke to him or asked a question, and his responses were vague and uncertain. He was so clearly uncomfortable that it was a relief for him and me when the interview ended.

I couldn't imagine him on the phone interacting with our customers, who are looking for someone to reassure them and take command of a problem when they call.

When Candidate B arrived later, I was impressed. He sat up in his chair, looked me straight in the eye, and was quite articulate in explaining why he’d be the ideal candidate for the job. He maintained his poise no matter what types of questions I threw his way. His references were stellar, and he gave several examples of solving customer problems in other jobs he’d held. We hired him because it was easy to picture him competently handling a variety of situations with our software users.

During the years that he worked for us, we consistently got rave reviews from customers about his attitude and skills. It was not uncommon for me to receive unsolicited emails and notes about the outstanding service he provided.

Whether or not you’re in an interview situation, people are assessing your levels of competence and confidence all the time. They do this by observing the way you speak and carry yourself.

What message do YOU send?

If you’re not conveying the strength and self-assurance that you'd like to, here are two ideas for boosting your confidence.

1. Start paying more attention to what you do well, not the mistakes you make or the skills you lack. We all have room for improvement, but you possess many abilities that can serve you and others well. Heed this advice from American educator Henry Van Dyke:

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”

2. Absorb, internalize and apply the wisdom from these champions in the world of sports, who understand at a deep level what it takes to build confidence.

Golf great Jack Nicklaus: “Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work.”

Arthur Ashe from the world of tennis: "One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation."

Pro football quarterback Roger Staubach: “Confidence is the result of hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.”

Your level of confidence will affect everything you do and say in life. So if your lack of confidence is holding you back, commit today to do the necessary work to improve it, one step at a time.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Self-Esteem and University of Miami Basketball

According to psychotherapist and author Nathaniel Branden, the world’s foremost authority on the subject, self-esteem is “the experience that we are appropriate to life and the requirements of life.” In other words, you believe that you’re capable and worthy of achieving fulfillment and happiness.

What’s the secret to developing such a belief?

I can tell you what it’s not.

It’s not having someone – whether it’s a parent, coach or boss – lavish false, undeserved praise in an attempt to instill you with a feeling of self-worth. If you’re the recipient of this kind of build-up, you can readily detect the lack of truth in their words. If anything, this approach undermines the development of healthy self-esteem.

Instead, one of the best ways to strengthen a strong sense of self is by focusing on your strengths and applying them in meaningful activities that have positive outcomes. Self-esteem is often the by-product of putting forth intense effort and achieving outstanding results.

One recent example that illustrates how this works comes from the world of college basketball.

This time of year my husband and I watch a lot of college basketball games. Since we’ve lived in Virginia for more than 30 years, we like to see the ACC teams do well. And this year, we’ve especially enjoyed the outstanding performance of the University of Miami Hurricanes (10-0 in the conference at this time).

When Miami played Duke on January 23, they didn’t just squeak by. They hammered the then-#1 ranked Blue Devils, outscoring them by 27 points (final score 90-63). Miami delivered a similar performance against North Carolina on February 9, with an 87-61 victory.

What’s been fun to watch is the amazing drive and energy the Miami players bring to every game. They’re brilliant at both ends of the court. The television cameras make it possible to observe the smiles and satisfaction on their faces as they display their skills on the court. As a result of their commitment to excellent performance every minute of every game, Miami’s self-esteem as a team has been elevated.

At least that’s how it looks to me as I’ve watched their evolution this season.

They have steadily improved with each game, and today they are a powerhouse basketball team. They've clearly made the commitment to exceptional effort, and that shows in their “win” record. The players show up for each game focused, intense and confident in their capabilities. As a result, they aren't intimidated by any opponent and consistently play outstanding basketball.

They've earned their feeling of strong self-esteem, and it carries over to everything they do on the court.

If you struggle with your own sense of worthiness – or mentor someone who does – one of the best solutions is to take actions that have a positive impact. Afterwards,  be sure to give yourself (or them) credit for what’s been accomplished. It’s one thing to take appropriate, positive action. The second part is equally important – to recognize the value of what’s been done and take time to affirm the contribution.

"As you grow in self-esteem, your face, manner, way of talking and moving will tend naturally to project the pleasure you take in being alive." - Nathaniel Branden, American psychologist (1930- )

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Chess Teacher Shows Students How to Learn from Experience

When I attended Catholic schools between first grade and eighth grade, the emphasis was on conforming to the rules, not learning how to think for yourself. Things didn't change much in my four years at public high school. My experience probably wasn't unique.

And yet, to handle the challenges you face in life and to learn from mistakes and failures, you’ve got to know how to think through a situation, consider different possibilities and consequences, and apply lessons from the experience to future situations. Unfortunately, very few kids have mentors who help them learn these vital skills.

Jayvon Bullock, I.S. 318 chess team
And so Chapter 3 of How Children Succeed resonated deeply with me. In this chapter, “How to Think,” author Paul Tough describes the amazing accomplishments of the students at Intermediate School (I.S.) 318 in Brooklyn in the world of chess competition. What makes the story even more remarkable is that most kids on the team comes from families living below the poverty line.

Elizabeth Spiegel is the full-time chess teacher at the school. Year after year, her students in grades 6, 7 and 8 win top honors in national championships. And through Tough’s masterful depiction of her approach during the tournaments, we discover why.

After each match, whether it’s a win or a loss, Spiegel sits down with students and requires them to go through every single play. She then coaches them on what they could have done differently to get a better result. She combines constructive and positive feedback with questions that get them to think about what happened, why it happened that way and what they could have done differently to get a better result. Her goal is to get them to think strategically so they are better prepared for the next game.

As Tough reports, “Spiegel tries to lead her students down a narrow and difficult path: to have them take responsibility for their mistakes and learn from them without obsessing over them or beating themselves up for them.”

Spiegel knows that her efforts to help students with chess carry over into the real world, too, as this comment from her interview on The Creativity Post illustrates:

“When you play chess, and you put all your effort into trying to win, it’s helpful to sit down with a teacher and have them take your thoughts seriously, to help you unpack the game, so that you understand why you lost and where it came from… and what chess teaches is that understanding what just happened does make it easier. And I think that’s an important thing for them to understand in life, as well. Nothing is really so terrible once you figure it out—and that working through something does make it better.”

Time and again in the examples Tough describes in his book, Spiegel walks one student after another through this “learning from experience” process. The impact on their performance in chess, in school and in life makes for inspiring reading.

And you don’t have to be a chess teacher to influence the development of critical thinking skills with the preteens and teens in your life. Get the free ebook by Denny Coates, How to Give Your Teen a Superior Mind, and learn how to stimulate a young person’s brain to exercise good judgment and decision making.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Optimism: A Strength You Can Develop

Back in 1994 I completed the self-assessment in Martin Seligman’s now-classic book, Learned Optimism. With most quizzes, I answer the questions, think about the interpretation for a few minutes and promptly forget about it.

Not this time.

The insights I gained from that thought-provoking test had a profound, lasting effect on the way I think about and explain what happens to me in life.

Dr. Seligman helped me understand that the way you talk to yourself after an event – whether it’s a positive or negative experience – impacts the way you view yourself and the control you have over your life. He calls it your “explanatory” style, and the good news is, it’s not set in concrete.

If you currently tend to see the world through the eyes of a pessimist, you can learn to alter your perspective so that you acquire a more balanced view.

So how does he define the differences in the explanatory styles of an optimist and a pessimist? There are three related areas.

1. TIME: Permanent vs. Temporary

Will this event persist, or is it just a short-term phenomenon?

Optimists tend to explain positive events as permanent and pervasive (“I’m always lucky”) whereas a pessimist uses language that reflects a temporary condition (“I guess it’s just my lucky day”).

Conversely, when something negative happens, an optimist explains it as temporary (“You don’t seem to be listening right now”), while a pessimist uses words like “always” and “never” (“You never listen to me”).

2. SPACE: Specific vs. Universal

Are you able to isolate the effects of an undesirable incident, or does it impact everything else that happens in your life?

Pessimists will take one bad experience and allow it to influence everything else around them. As Dr. Seligman says, “When one thread of their lives snaps, the whole fabric unravels.” For instance, if they experience a disappointment or setback on the job, those at home can end up paying the price.

Optimists, on the other hand, are more likely to look at a specific incident and detach it from other aspects of their lives. They don’t conclude that a failure in one area means they are incompetent or inadequate in all others.

3. FOCUS: Internal vs. External 

This area relates to personal responsibility and blame. Do you blame yourself, or do you blame the outside world?

The key is to understand who and what you are responsible for.

If an event is beyond your control, it makes sense to take the optimist’s approach and recognize that you could not influence the outcome. It would be inappropriate for you to blame yourself, but that’s exactly what pessimists tend to do when these kinds of situations happen. The effect is that an optimist’s self-esteem stays intact while the pessimist’s suffers a serious blow because of unwarranted self-criticism.

On the other hand, there are many times you can influence the position you find yourself in. Optimists will assume personal responsibility and do what they can, whereas pessimists will put themselves in the role of victim by blaming external factors for their plight.

If you recognize yourself in any of the pessimist’s reactions described here, there’s good news. You have the power and ability to condition yourself to think and behave with greater optimism. Use these strategies to make the transition to a more positive, balanced way of viewing yourself and the world:
  • Recognize when you have the power to exercise control over your environment, and then take action. Don’t look around for someone else to rescue you, and don’t play the blame game.

  • Dispute the internal criticism if your negative thoughts attack your worth as a person. Challenge this line of thinking by presenting evidence that contradicts the thought. Prove to yourself that what you’re saying is factually incorrect by listing other situations where you have had positive results.

  • Learn to encourage yourself after a setback, just as you would a good friend. Monitor what you say to yourself, and keep the internal dialogue positive. 
As Dr. Seligman wisely states: “Changing the destructive things you say to yourself when you experience the setbacks that life deals all of us is the central skill of optimism.” 

Monday, December 10, 2012

How Self-Esteem Impacts Relationships

Many years ago I participated in group therapy to learn how to deal with a difficult relationship issue that I was grappling with at the time.

Quite often I sat quietly as I listened in dismay to the serious challenges faced by members of the group. I hesitated to speak up because my situation seemed almost trivial in comparison.

But the counselor was very observant and astute. She recognized that my circumstances were just as impactful for ME, so one evening she asked questions that forced me to open up and reveal the pain points around my relationship. I was very uncomfortable having the spotlight shine on me, and I struggled to put into words the feelings and thoughts I was experiencing. But I knew all this was necessary to uncover the root of my problem.

Based on my responses, the facilitator gave me a homework assignment that involved answering three questions about this relationship. Writing out my answers had a profound impact on my thinking and helped me realize that, at the core of my dilemma, I faced self-esteem issues.

The three questions were:
What do I want?
What do I need?
What do I deserve?
What I discovered was that my want list was long. I found it easy to enumerate the things I was looking for in the relationship. My need list had several items, too, but not as many as the first one. I struggled mightily with what I deserved and came up with only a few responses. I stared at the almost-blank page and pondered why I couldn't come up with more.

What I concluded shocked me: I didn't feel worthy of a strong, healthy relationship. As a result of this realization, I had work to do on myself. And it took quite a while before my “deserve” list increased to the size of the other two.

Over the years, I applied these same three questions with clients in my consulting and coaching work, and the insights they gained were consistently profound.

You can use them on the job or in your personal life. You can focus on your relationship with another person such as your spouse, child, friend, boss, or coworker. Or you can answer them regarding your employer, a vendor or a client organization.

If you’re willing to dig deep and provide honest answers, you’ll discover important truths about yourself.

When relationships hit rocky spots, it’s usually easy to see how the other person is contributing to the problem. Far more work is required to inspect your own role. You can cut through a lot of clutter and surface the real issues if each person first takes time to separately answer these three questions, and then the two of you come together to discuss your responses.

You’ll need courage, self-awareness and commitment, but what you learn will be worth the effort.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” - Buddha, Indian founder of Buddhism (B.C. 563-483)

Monday, July 16, 2012

How Contact Lenses Transformed My Self-Image

I got my first pair of glasses when I was in the fourth grade. At the time, I thought it was cool to have glasses. But by the time I reached high school, my near-sightedness had advanced, and my lenses were thick and unattractive.

Which made me feel very unattractive. Actually, ugly would be more accurate. This had a huge impact on my self-image and self-confidence as I entered the 9th grade.

But I had hope that things would change because my sister, who’s two years older than me, got contact lenses after her sophomore year in high school. In our family the age that she (the first-born) got permission to do things was significant. I’d be able to get contact lenses, too, but not until I completed my sophomore year. That’s how it worked.

So I endured the first two years of high school, and finally, my day arrived.

It was like a miracle when I saw the world clearly without glasses for the first time in seven years. I looked in the mirror and no longer saw a gawky girl staring back at me.

Then I started getting compliments about my beautiful eyes – people had not been able to see them behind those thick lenses. Or maybe I had been more timid about having eye contact. Whatever the reason, my self-image was transformed in just a few short months.

I felt different inside and started acting with more confidence and assurance. I expanded my beliefs about what was possible academically and socially. I became president of the Keyette Club my senior year and won a faculty award for outstanding contributions at graduation.

Of course, I don’t tie all of my accomplishments in high school to getting contact lenses. It’s not that simple. And yet, it’s important to recognize how your perception of yourself affects the way you see the world and operate in it.

I’m betting you have some limiting beliefs about yourself today that can be traced back to your youth. An adult whose opinion mattered to you said something – whether an off-handed comment or a continual barrage of criticism – that has stuck with you. Or maybe, like me, you felt unattractive or inferior due to a physical limitation. The impact could have been profound in affecting your thoughts and your behavior.

It’s worth taking time to think about the attitudes and beliefs you have about things from your past and determine if they are true now – or if they were ever true. You may be putting yourself in an imaginary box that doesn’t exist in reality. And the way to break free is to be willing to take a long, hard look at the thoughts you’ve accepted and ask:

     “Is this really true?”
     “What evidence do I have to support this thought?”
     “What evidence do I have to refute it?"
      "What do I want to DO about this?”

It takes courage and effort to examine long-held beliefs, but the freedom you’ll feel afterwards is worth it. And you’ll likely discover that you’re capable of much more than you ever thought possible.
"An individual's self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life." - Joyce Brothers, American psychologist (1925- )"

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Small Steps Can Make All the Difference

When you want to make a major change – even if it would have a positive impact on your life – a part of your brain called the amygdala gets activated and triggers a fear response. 

If you’re facing danger, this fight-or-flight response can save your life, because you don’t have time to methodically analyze the situation. You have to react quickly.

But other times, this fear reaction can prevent you from taking actions that would actually benefit you. Maybe you want to change careers, start your own business or find your ideal life partner. These can lead to greater happiness in your life. But you’re not able to take the steps that will get you there.

What can you do to avoid an “amygdala hijack” – a term coined by Daniel Goleman, the originator of the concept of emotional intelligence – where this part of your brain kicks in and activates fear, essentially preventing a rational response?

I like this solution from Robert Maurer’s book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life:

“Small, easily achievable goals – such as picking up and storing just one paper clip on a chronically messy desk – let you tiptoe right past the amygdala, keeping it asleep and unable to set off alarm bells.”

As you repeat these tiny steps over time, you create new circuits in your brain and build the new habit.

This makes a lot of sense. If you want to lose weight, adjusting one small aspect of your diet usually works better than trying to overhaul all your eating habits at once. To get into an exercise routine, you can find time for just 5 minutes of walking or lifting weights, while the idea of a 30- or 60-minute daily workout might feel overwhelming.

Here are just a few small changes Maurer recommends that will keep your amygdala in check.

1. Ask small QUESTIONS.

You stimulate your brain’s creativity with questions. You just need to make them small so you don’t arouse the fear response. Examples:
  • If you’re feeling pessimistic or negative: “What is one thing I like about myself (or my life) today?”
  • To get started on one of your goals: “What is one small step I could take to improve my health (or relationships or career)?”
  • When you want to address customer service issues: “What is one thing we could do in our company to improve our customer’s experience?”
2. Think small THOUGHTS.

Mental rehearsal is a great way to prepare in advance for an action you need to take. Athletes do this all the time before they compete. But you might feel uneasy about spending the recommended 20 or 30 minutes doing this kind of visualization.

The solution is to dedicate just seconds to thinking about the change you want to make. The time commitment should be so minimal that you can easily do it every day.

3. Take small ACTIONS.

A surefire way to get moving is to take such a tiny step that it seems trivial…
  • Stop overspending by removing just one item from your shopping cart before you check out.
  • If your home is messy, set a timer for five minutes and straighten just one small area.
  • Get more sleep by going to bed one minute earlier and getting up one hour later.
The examples and other strategies outlined in Maurer’s book could be just what you need if you’ve been paralyzed by fear.  

Baby steps can be the best kind of steps, even for grown-ups.
“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all that I can permit myself to contemplate.” – John Steinbeck

Monday, January 9, 2012

Affirmations Expand Your Self-Image

What you believe about yourself has a huge impact on what you attempt in life. For example, if you’re convinced you can’t do something, you’re not likely to try it. To realize your true potential, you need to replace self-limiting thoughts with more realistic, positive thoughts. And get rid of negative self-talk by using affirmations instead.

Affirmations are positive statements about your ideal self. Reading and repeating them reminds you of what’s possible and motivates you to be at your best. If you say the affirmations often enough, they can change your self-image and create new behavior patterns.

Affirmations work best when stated in the present tense. This creates a vivid picture in your mind of the way you want to be.

For example, if you want to work on the personal strength of SELF-DISCIPLINE, you could repeat statement like:
  “I keep my efforts focused on what’s most important.”
  "I organize my environment to support my success.”

  “When I take action, I move forward to the result I want.”
  “I do what needs to be done without being told.”

  “I show a genuine interest in people.”
  “I give the gift of kindness.”

Here are steps you can take to turn affirmations into reality.

1.  Write out or type up the affirmations you want to use, and print out a hard copy.

2.  Read them out loud with feeling at least twice a day.

3.  Visualize yourself doing things that are consistent with these statements.

4.  Continue to do this every day as you work on that personal strength, because repetition is key to rewiring your brain with new thought and behavior patterns.

Monitor your self-talk throughout the day. Every time you criticize yourself, stop and replace those words with one of your affirmations. If you make this a daily practice, you’ll expand your beliefs about your capabilities and achieve more than you ever thought possible.

Our online personal development system, ProStar Coach, includes seven affirmations for 40 different personal strength areas, along with hundreds of other resources for becoming stronger as a person. Check it out and see for yourself what a difference this virtual coaching service can make in your life.
“Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other.” – Maxwell Maltz, American author(1899-1975)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Self-Forgiveness Is Key to a Strong Self-Image

When someone else inflicts physical or emotional pain on you, you may react in a variety of ways: anger, lashing out, silence, or withdrawal. If you’re not careful, a deep-seated resentment can take hold. And when that happens, your relationship suffers a potentially devastating blow.

The secret to moving past the pain is forgiveness, recognizing that the other person is fallible and deserves to have another chance.

Unfortunately, we often don’t treat ourselves with the same compassion when we make mistakes or fall short of who we want to be. If you’re not careful, you can hold a lifetime grudge against yourself that keeps you from achieving your potential.

It’s not always easy to detect when you’re doing this, but here’s one thing you can start doing now: Monitor your thoughts and self-talk.

Ever watch a football game on TV and get tired of them re-running the same play while the officials are reviewing the call? They show the play from different angles, and the announcers declare what the officials should decide before the final judgment is announced. Sometimes I want to shout, “Enough already!”

Actually, that’s a pretty good phrase to use on yourself if you find that you’re mentally replaying a scene from your own life ad nauseam.

Let’s say you’ve said something hurtful to someone you care about, and you wish you could take the words back…

Or you didn’t stand up for yourself when another person criticized you in front of others…

Or you wanted to make a positive impression on an individual or a group but didn’t come across the way you wanted to.

The list could go on, because it’s easy to identify situations where you didn’t perform the way you wanted to.

You could expend a lot of time and energy thinking about what happened and berating yourself for not living up to your personal ideal standards. But doing that only serves to damage your self-image, and you don’t learn anything from the experience.

So what’s the alternative?

Each time you find yourself rehashing an event from your past, ask yourself these Five Magic Questions and write down your answers. This brief activity will help you reflect on what happen, take away the lessons and move on.

1.  What happened? Describe the sequence of events.

2.  Why did it happen that way? Identify what contributed to the outcome.

3.  What were the consequences? Describe the impact of the event.

4.  How would you handle a similar situation in the future? What lessons can you take away that you can apply if this happens again?

5.  What will you do NOW? What is your next step?

We call these “magic” questions because they can transform YOU and the way you see yourself. Maybe your next step is to make amends to another person, or maybe it’s simply to let go and forgive yourself regarding this incident.

Because the simple truth is, you can’t change the past. It’s DONE. What you can change are your thoughts and behavior going forward.

If you stay stuck because you feel bad about things you cannot change, you’ll miss out on the present moments that are unfolding before your eyes. And you won’t even see the opportunities on the road in front of you because your mind and eyes are focused on the rearview mirror.

Take to heart this wisdom from Maxwell Maltz in The New Psycho-Cybernetics:
“You cannot see your future with optimistic eyes if you cannot view your present and past with kind eyes.”  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Self-Confidence Is the Foundation for Achievement

You have the potential to accomplish some really important things during your life. But will you do them? Most people barely scratch the surface of what they’re capable of.

There are many reasons for this. A big one that holds back a lot of folks is a lack of self-confidence. Somehow we get it in our heads that what we have to offer isn’t that valuable. We minimize our talents, our gifts and our capabilities. Maybe as you were growing up, people who were important to you – your parents, teachers, coaches and even friends – gave you more criticism about what you did wrong than praise for what you did right. With this kind of ongoing negative input, it’s hard to develop strong self-esteem. And low self-esteem has a huge impact on your confidence level.

When you lack strong self-esteem and self-confidence, here’s what happens. No matter how well you do something or what successes you achieve, that inner critic is constantly chattering in the background, finding fault with what you’ve done.

What you have to do first is STOP the negative self-talk. Start paying attention to all those things you do well. And give yourself your own gold stars, as one of my mentors, Dan Kennedy likes to say. As you make deposits in your own emotional bank account, you’ll start feeling more sure of yourself. You’ll realize that you can do more than you thought you could.

And the opinions of others will matter less to you.

Then at the end of each day, maybe right before you go to sleep, take time to do two things:

1 – Reflect on the things you accomplished or did well that day, no matter how small. It’s important to acknowledge and give yourself credit for these. Think about what you’re grateful for, to put yourself in a positive state of mind.

2 – Visualize in great detail something you intensely want to do, have or be. Let yourself experience all the positive feelings you’ll have when this happens.

If you do that EVERY day, you’ll start taking on new and different challenges. You’ll say YES more often to opportunities that come your way. Each time you stretch and experience a success, your belief system expands. When that happens, your self-confidence grows and now you’re set up to accomplish the really big things that you were meant to do.
“Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: WORK” – Jack Nicklaus, American professional golfer (1940- ) 
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan, American professional basketball player (1963- ) 
“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do.” – Mary Kay Ash, American business leader (1918-2001)