Self confidence is one of the keys to career and life success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success, 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success and Your Success GPS. If you want to become self confident you need to do three things. First, become an optimist. Choose to believe that today will be better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today. Second, face your fears and act. Procrastination and inaction feed fear. Action cures it. Third, surround yourself with positive people.
I saw an interesting quote from Arianna Huffington the other day…
"The fastest way to break the cycle of perfectionism and become fearless is to give up the idea of doing it perfectly - indeed to embrace uncertainty and imperfection."
This is some great common sense advice. Perfectionism will result in procrastination. And procrastination will feed your fear.
When you want to do something, do it. The other day I retweeted some great common sense advice by my friend Stephanie Frank…
“If it takes less than five minutes, don’t write it down. Just do it now.”
Action, action, action is the key to self confidence and career and life success. Perfectionism is one of the barriers to action. When I am coaching people on writing, I give them this advice…
“Write fast. Get your thoughts down on the computer screen (or paper if you’re old fashioned) quickly. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar. Just get your thoughts out of your head. There will be plenty of time to go back and edit.”
That’s how I write this blog – quickly. Most of my posts are in the 500 – 600 range. It takes me about 15 minutes to write them and another 15 to edit them. I couldn’t do five posts a week if I spent much more time writing.
I didn’t let perfectionism stop me when I began writing this blog. When I began blogging more than 1,000 posts ago, I didn’t have a clue about how to write a good blog. I knew I had some things to say that many people might find helpful and interesting, so I had a friend show me how to set up and post to a blog, and I began writing.
I didn’t burden myself with perfectionist questions like, “What’s the right format?” “How long should my posts be?” “How do I add links?” slow me down. I just started writing. The rest came later as I read other blogs and saw what I liked and what I didn’t.
I took action – and here I am over 1,000 posts later.
The same is true with my books. I write them quickly, edit them for content, and then have someone else proofread them. Quite frankly, if I stopped to think how much work goes into writing a book, I might never have written one – let alone 10.
Paul Meyer is one of the true legends in the personal growth business. I have his quote, “Whatever you can vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass,” hanging just inside the door to my office. I read it every time I go in or out of my office. I live my life by these words.
I saw another quote from Mr. Meyer in an email from Brian Tracy the other day…
“90% of all those who fail are not defeated. They simply quit.”
Of these 90%, I think that some many don’t even get started. The let perfectionism, or some other fear, get in their way. You’ve got to play if you want to win.
I was speaking with a friend and client the other day. The top job in his specialty for his division is coming open as the senior VP is retiring in December. He told me that the same day he learned of the retirement, he updated his resume and sent it and a note to the head of the division asking to be considered for the soon to be vacant job.
He didn’t wait. He didn’t say, “I’m not experienced enough.” He didn’t spend weeks revising his resume until it was “perfect.” He took action – and is a top candidate for the position.
One last quote from Henry Ford that popped up after I wrote the first draft of this post…
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do.”
Think about it…
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are self confident. Self confident people take action. They don’t let their fears, or their perfectionism trap them into procrastinating. If you want to succeed you need to be self confident. If you want to become self confident you need to face your fears – and any other impediment to your success – and act. James Malinchak gives out rubber bracelets at his seminars that say “GSDF – Get Stuff Done Fast.” Speed is often more important that perfect quality – unless you’re planning a space mission. Build your self confidence by taking action.
That’s my take on self confidence, action and success. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts on action and procrastination with us. As always, thanks for reading.