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When you see people who are successful, did you wonder how they achieved that success or what barriers and obstacles they had to overcome? It is easy to recognize confidence in a person, but was that due to successes that they had already achieved or was it the confidence they exuded that was the basis for their successes?
Confidence is certainly not something a person is born with. Confidence is a characteristic, a behavior that is achieved over time. Confidence and success is really a continuing cause-and-effect cycle. Confidence will lead to success, then success will lead to a greater level of confidence, leading to more success.
The first and most difficult action is to face up to a challenge and then to do something about it, to make yourself take action even though the consequences of your action may not be known at the time. It is not unnatural to have a fear of failure, whether it is competing against an unknown competitor or whether it is giving a presentation to a room full of peer business owners.
It may be a lack of confidence or it may be the lack of prior success through inexperience that creates the fear and prevents us from accepting the challenge of the unknown. It is these fears, this lack of confidence, that can stifle the opportunity to learn from actually doing the action, from creating a success that will allow you to grow, and consequently further build your confidence.
Why does fear exist, whether it is in your personal activities or in your business activities? What “fear” really means is false expectations appearing real. To be successful will require facing the fear of doing some activity, personal or business, and realizing that in order to succeed, it will be necessary to take a risk.
Creating reasonable expectations is a key to building confidence to allow you to take a risk. The important mindset is to develop a proactive plan for success and to create an environment that makes it easy to succeed, leading to greater confidence to take on bigger challenges. Each time you succeed at improving, your confidence will grow and you will start your own cause-and-effect cycle.
In early life, this occurs when a child first tries to ride a two-wheeler bike, while having some fear because of expectations of the pain of falling off.
By taking the risk and pushing off, falling off, trying again, staying on longer, the child will learn how it feels, and then will gain more confidence from each growing level of success. Or in a situation where you are going to make your first-ever presentation at a workshop or a seminar (speaking in front of groups has been reported as the No. 1 fear of a majority of adults).
When you have prepared for your presentation, start by presenting to your spouse/family, then present to some friends. This experience (success) will create the confidence to move on to the primary presentation.
Build your confidence by reminding yourself that the reason you have been invited to make the presentation is because you know more than the audience about your subject and you are providing value for them.
The first time is always the hardest but with experience and success (or is it confidence?), follow-up presentations will be easier. The key is to have a plan for success, visualize the success, and then start with small steps.
There is a well-known saying that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” And remember, even people who have built the highest level of confidence in themselves would be fearful of taking on an important activity without having a well thought-out plan for action.
Jack Nicklaus, who has won more major golf tournaments than any golfer, said that every time he stepped on the first tee of a major tournament he had butterflies and nervousness but he overcame them by visualizing a successful first shot. And after that first shot, he became more relaxed and his game became more fluid and confident with the growing experience of a successful execution of shot after shot on that day.
It doesn’t really matter whether confidence or success is the cause or the effect, whether it is the result of success from taking the plunge and doing an activity that leads to more confidence, or whether it is enough confidence to do the activity that leads to success – the important message is that we have the ability to improve our level of confidence and we can overcome fear and generate success.
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