“You cannot dream up confidence. You cannot fabricate it. You cannot wish it. You have to accomplish it. I think that genuine confidence is what you really seek. That only comes from demonstrated ability.” – Bill Parcells, Professional Football Coach
In our competitive world, there’s no substitute for confidence.
However, most of us don’t feel particularly comfortable talking about our accomplishments—probably because we heard so many times as children that “bragging is bad.” Some of us don’t even feel comfortable thinking about our successes—as if desiring to bask in that happy glow could somehow make us selfish, or prevent us from moving to the next level.
I’m not saying that you have to go around telling everyone how awesome you are all day long. But most of us could benefit from bringing back bragging – at least when we’re talking to ourselves. In fact, positive self-talk is one of the most powerful tools employed by top earners!
When you focus on what you don’t have or haven’t accomplished, you lose power and momentum. There’s always going to be something bigger and better ahead of you—but if that’s all you see, things can start to feel hopeless pretty quickly. In order to approach your tasks with strength and confidence, you need to have a positive foundation—and that means building on your prior successes.
If you have a hard time seeing your accomplishments clearly, start tracking them on a monthly or quarterly basis. I call this “positive reflection.” Whether you’re working for someone, running your own business, or currently in a job search, this tool will highlight knowledge about your strengths and help you approach your career from a more strategic place.
Action Step: Positive Reflection
List the items you worked on in the last month/quarter. Include all of the goals you’ve accomplished, skills you’ve developed, and projects you’ve completed. Then, chunk each item down with the following questions
- Why is this an accomplishment?
- What were the results?
- What new skills, techniques, or strategies did I learn from it?
- What skills, techniques, or strategies can I develop further?
- What is my next course of action?
Using this exercise on a regular basis will help you gain a solid perspective about where you are, versus where you want to be (or worse, don’t want to be). As you address each item, let yourself brag for a minute or two about the great work you’ve done. For an even greater sense of empowerment, share your accomplishments with your spouse, friend, or coach!
‘It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s more important to heed the lessons of failure.’ Bill Gates