Why Believing In Yourself Is More Important Than You Think
Each month, I feature one of my top-ten core values. This is the first: Believe in Yourself.)
How many times have you looked to the people around you for approval or validation? For them to tell you what you should do? Or to get their pat on your back?
If you’re like me, it’s more times than you’ll want to admit.
Reaching out for support or feedback isn’t a problem. But it is a problem when you never seem to know what YOU want … or who YOU are … or what’s right for YOU. In fact, the real problem is that you don’t believe in yourself.
Last month, we talked about setting goals and aligning them with your core values. And I promised you I’d share my “top ten” core values throughout this year. So, here’s the first: Believe in YOU!
Get your copy of my free worksheet. It features this month’s core value, Believe In YOU. Expect a new worksheet every month.
Of all my top-ten core values, I had to put “Believe in You” as the very first value. The place to start. The beautiful beginning!
When you believe in yourself, you can create your own vision for your life. You can set goals that you care about. You can motivate yourself to achieve things that matter to you. Believing in yourself gives you a solid foundation to achieve anything you set your mind to.
Then you can build on that foundation with all your other core values. You can create the life you want.
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Back in my 20s and 30s, I struggled with believing in myself. I did a lot of things I didn’t want to do … just to get approval from the people I admired. Sometimes I did things to be accepted into the “in crowd.”
I even left a career in recruiting in New York City to be a stockbroker.
Did I have a passion for numbers?
Or a burning desire to be in the financial industry?
I took the job because it fit the New York City profile for “success.” And because other people in my life thought it was a good fit. In reality, I couldn’t see past other people’s expectations for me and my life.
I didn’t ask myself what I actually wanted. Bu the knots in my stomach were the giveaway that something was off. Really off.
Not surprisingly, I was miserable as a broker. And I felt anything but successful.
Ultimately, I found another job in a different direction. But first, I had to take charge of who I was. I had to move back into the driver’s seat of my own life. To find some belief in my ability to know myself. To know what was right for me.
“You are the driver of your own life. Don’t let anyone steal your seat.” — Anonymous
As you may have discovered in your own life, there’s a cost to avoiding conflict just to make other people happy (or comfortable). And there’s a cost to putting others’ interests before your own.
Related: N-O: Two Letters, One Powerful Message
And often we don’t realize the impact of that cost until much later in life.
“When you engage in people pleasing, you are out of integrity with yourself, your goals, your dreams, and your life’s mission.” — Eileen Anglin
As you might imagine, today I approach life differently than in my brokering days in the Big Apple. I don’t lose so much time and energy worrying about what others think.
Sure, I might pause for a moment, wondering if others approve. But then I remind myself it’s up to me to believe in myself.
In life, there will always be pressure to conform. But believing in yourself helps you withstand that pressure. To remain true to the person you are — and who you want to be.
So, don’t hide in a corner, waiting for acknowledgement. Don’t let someone else define success for you. If you do, you’re undermining your own potential. You’re not your best self.
If you’re ready to stop losing yourself, to stop living by other people’s standards, then what should you do? Here are three Power Challenges to help you begin living your new core value: Believe in Yourself.
Power Challenge 1: Take a Social Media Break
Do you enjoy social media? It can be a lot of fun. It’s good for laughs, inspiration, staying connected with friends and family.
But social media can also feed your dark, internal feelings of unworthiness.
You read other people’s posts, and you compare yourself. You think: Obviously, they’re more successful than me. Obviously, they’re having more fun. They’re better than me.
Ouch! That is not a good place to be.
And none of those thoughts are true. The people in the photos are not better than you. People post their best moments in social media. (You know this!) They want to look good. They probably took twenty selfies just to get that one that’s so stunning!
Related: Create (or Destroy) Your Personal Brand on Social Media
So, what can you do for yourself? Turn off the noise for a while. Take a break for a month.
See how you feel about yourself when you’re not bombarded with stories and images.
During your break, focus on YOU. What do YOU want for your life? What are YOUR values? Try to connect with yourself.
Don’t worry … the world will still be there when you come back. And maybe then you won’t get quite so caught up in the hype. Maybe then you can enjoy the best of social media and skip the rest!
Power Challenge 2: Fire Your Inner Critic
Oh, that awful “Inner Critic.” We all have that icky voice inside! It’s constantly telling us what we should do. And shouldn’t do.
When you start believing in yourself, your Inner Critic will probably resist. It might say something snarky, such as …
- Don’t be so cocky.
- Stop bragging! It’s not nice.
- You shouldn’t say that! You’re being so arrogant.
My own Inner Critic grew up in the South. So, it likes to tell me that it is “simply not polite for a girl to brag about herself.”
But what is bragging? And what isn’t?
Bragging is when you try to puff yourself up to look better than someone else. Or to somehow put them down. Make them “less-than.”
Related: From Admiration to Motivation
Believing in yourself is not bragging or arrogance. It’s a healthy foundation. Believing in your own worth means you know you have as much potential as anyone. That you can be your best self. That you are inherently worthy … just by being YOU.
Tell your Inner Critic to take a hike.
Then give yourself permission to believe in yourself. Even if it’s just a little bit to start. In fact, start every day this way! Before you even get out of bed in the morning.
Standing up to your Inner Critic is a great way to practice believing in yourself. And as the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect!”
Power Challenge 3: Decide for YOURSELF
If you’re someone who looks for validation from others, you might find it hard to make decisions. You try to please others. Or at least not rock the boat.
And maybe you’ve developed a habit of ignoring your own inner guidance? It goes like this. You have a feeling something is not right for you. But you ignore it. You override the feeling. And you make a decision you later regret.
When it comes to decisions, here’s what helps me. Before deciding, I ask myself three questions:
- Does it feel right?
- Does it make sense for me?
- Do I feel up to it?
The pull of external validation can be so strong. Use these questions and find a quiet moment to think. Get away from the noise around you (and the noise in your head).
Ask each question one at a time. Notice your body’s signals. You might feel a knot in your stomach, or a bit of nausea. You might feel peaceful and warm.
Put the three questions in a note in your phone. That way you’ll easily have them at hand when you need them.
And by the way … it’s okay to have a learning curve.
Suppose you ask yourself these questions. You get the answer that’s right for you. And then you still override yourself. That just means you need a little time and practice.
So keep at it! Step by step, this process will help you know yourself better — and believe in yourself. And that can lead to real change!
Start at the Beginning
If you take away just one thing today, I hope it’s this: It’s not just “okay” to believe in yourself … it’s essential. Believing in yourself will help you pursue your dreams, define success for yourself, and live a fulfilled life.
When you believe in yourself, you’ll say yes to the things that are right for you. You’ll be living your core values every day.
And as you believe in yourself, you’re become an amazing role model for others. Maybe even for those same people whose approval you used to seek. Now wouldn’t that be an interesting twist in life? I’ve seen others do it. And I know you can, too!
Looking for a motivational speaker for your next event? Carla energizes and inspires attendees to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Contact her today.