This weekend, as I was sitting in my living room thinking about what my next blog post would be, my daughter, Julia, came running inside the house screaming, “Dad! Come here! You have to see this!” At first, I figured that the dog had probably caught another rabbit – and was not very excited to get off the couch. But, after she assured me that that was not the case, I went outside.
Julia ran to the corner of the front yard and told me to watch her as she took position, ran as hard as she could and did a cartwheel with no hands (I’m told it is called an aerial). She had been working on this for almost a year, doing cartwheels wherever there was flat and soft ground. And, now she did it. But, immediately after, she told me it was because our front lawn was a bit sloped. I told her that that was not the reason and assured her that she could do it in the back yard where the ground was flat. And, sure enough she succeeded.
For months, I’ve been watching her, and it was clear that she had the skill to do this difficult maneuver. But, she didn’t have the confidence to take her hands off the ground. The slightly slanted ground gave her the confidence. And, now that she had it, she could do it and move on to her next challenge.
I’m not only sharing this story to brag a bit about my daughter (although, admittedly, that is part of it). I’m sharing it to highlight the impact of confidence on our ability to succeed – and remind everyone that the more confidence we – and those around us – have, the greater our chances are for success.
Today, I share with you a few thoughts about how to gain more confidence:
1. Surround yourself with fans (and distance yourself from those who don’t). Perhaps the best way to boost confidence is by surrounding yourself with people who believe in you. Confidence is contagious, and the more others believe in you, the more you will believe in yourself. This also means that you need to be a fan of those who need your support.
2. Celebrate little wins. On the road to big accomplishments, it is often the little wins that keep providing the necessary confidence along the way. For Julia, it was the 1-handed cartwheel last week. In business, it may be an initial project win, a great new hire or even just a great day. Celebrate them.
3. Adjust the (perceived) obstacles. Last week, I was at a large Gala where one of the speakers began her talk by thanking everyone for showing up in their underwear – immediately, everyone else was more vulnerable than she was. And, she nailed it! For Julia, it meant practicing on a sloped surface. Whether it is real or imagined, change the obstacle to something that you are more comfortable with. Eventually, you will likely discover it wasn’t much of an obstacle at all.
4. Don’t give up. Life isn’t easy. And, most every success follows failures. Even after giving up three walks and a grand slam (I may or may not be referring to my 9-year old son’s pitching debut this weekend), keep going. Celebrate the fact that you threw a strike (even though it resulted in a grand slam). Let the excitement and support of your fans (teammates, parents, coaches, etc.) remind you that you can throw more strikes. And, perhaps you’ll even strike out the next three batters to end the inning. Go Josh!
All in all, it was a proud weekend for this dad. It was also one where my kids once again taught me a lesson. They reminded me of the importance of confidence – having it and giving it. With it (along with hard work), we can achieve anything.
Thanks, and have a great day!
Small Army | Finn Partners