It's awesome and essential to your best possible self to set fantastic goals. Acting on, and reaching, those goals is the important next step, and it very well may require a lot more belief in yourself than you currently have. When I got started on my own personal development journey years ago I quickly learned how to set goals. In fact, I learned many ways to set goals. Setting goals is a subject with such a glut of information out there that you'll have the privilege of choosing what's best for you. However, it may become clear that as you embark on these goals you begin to doubt yourself. As a matter of fact, that doubt may even paralyze and prevent you from ever taking the critical first step.
There is good news though. As I have studied for myself, we can learn to improve our self confidence and the belief we have in ourselves. This is an essential quality that we must develop in ourselves to live as the person we dream to become. When you become sold on your self you will notice dramatic improvements throughout your life.
Who's Making Your Rules?
Are you worthy? Are you worthy to be alive? Are you worthy to be a fortune 500 CEO? Are you worthy to be the president? Whether you answer yes or no, who said you were worthy or not, and how do we decide what we deserve or not? Ultimately, isn't the decision up to you whether you're worthy or not? And if you had to choose, try to think of a few good reasons you aren't worthy. I'd be willing to bet those reasons are self imposed and probably poor reasons at that.
What we're really talking about here is belief – the belief in yourself. In your life the product is you, and you need to be sold on your self. In my opinion, whether our own personal beliefs about ourselves reach high into the sky or sink deep into nothing is a chief reflection of our self confidence. Make no mistake here: Becoming sold on ourselves is a major part of our growth as individuals. As super-successful life change expert Les Brown often comments, the hardest thing he's ever done in life was to "simply" believe that he could actually do it. And he did.
You Are Already in Sales
Telling someone they need to believe in themselves does little to actually help them believe in themselves. I've listened to countless audio books and read enough books and articles to know that belief is integral to personal growth and success. Even still, understanding that being sold on ourselves is paramount is very different from actually being sold on ourselves.
|If you're sold on the product then selling the product is easy.|
Have you ever tried to do any of the following?
- Have you tried to get a date?
- Court someone for marriage?
- Apply to school?
- Get an interview?
- Ask for a raise?
Well, if you haven't been acquainted yet, let me introduce you to one of your many important roles you will fill in life. Welcome to the position of senior sales representative of yourself. Nobody will challenge you for the position, but please, take it seriously because the pay is far more valuable than money can buy.
When you're on an interview, date, or some situation where you have to sell, how comfortable are you? In my personal life, I've found that the majority of people are shy or reluctant to really sell themselves. Why is this? Don't we love ourselves enough to open the majestic doors of opportunity? Or do we fear being labeled egotistical? Perhaps it's for both of these reasons that we don't sell ourselves with the due respect we deserve.
Treat Yourself Like #1
In modern times "looking out for number 1" has gained a poor public opinion, although I see it starting to reverse. The reality is that by putting yourself first in your own life you become far more valuable to all people in your life. It's almost confounding, but it's based on the fact that the more you are the more you have to give.
Personally, I find it gut-wrenching at times when I talk with someone who has pretty much sacrificed themselves, and for little to no gain to themselves or the other party. For an extreme example, consider drug abusers and enablers. The enabler tries to convince themselves that it's the right thing to do, and the addict thinks they need the drugs. Win-win scenario? Hardly!
The truth is, self-sacrificers and enablers would almost always be far more valuable to others if they prevented themselves from reaching such a point. So forego your notions that looking out for yourself is somehow ignoble. Instead, learn to put yourself first and then help lift people up to your level.
How To Become Sold on Your Self
Now that you're (hopefully) putting yourself first and treating yourself with the respect you warrant, you need to really buy into your own worth and ability. If you just chant and wish for change, you may fall short. There are a number of things you can physically do and live by so that you can improve your self confidence and become sold on your self.
One of the easiest ways to increase the belief in yourself is to do something you know you can do, but haven't been doing. This doesn't have to be monumental either. Maybe it's just getting a check-up at your doctor to see how your body is doing or to answer some questions. Or maybe it's something like waking up earlier. The point here is that this is a task that you have complete and utter control over. Once you do such a task, you make a deposit into your personal self confidence and self image bank account. (By the way, investments in your self always pay the best dividends.)
The next step is to realistically evaluate and appraise your benefits to others. In a sense: Know your self. What do you have to offer people, employers, relationships, investors, friends, spouses?
And the second part, the appraisal, is critically important. I think just about everyone could think of someone in their life who was very unique or creative in some manner, but that person held back those talents from others for some almost-insane reason like, "Well, it's not the greatest" or worse "I'm not the best." The fact is pretty much nobody knows who the best at anything is! We have people literally making careers out of baseball and football analysis, yet we can't even reach a consensus as to who the best at either are!
As a populace, we self-select ourselves out of so many opportunities that it's nearly impossible to know who the best at anything is. I imagine somewhere out there right now is a 40-50 year old hall of fame baseball player who never allowed himself to step on the field. Appraise your abilities and traits and give them the merit they deserve, maybe even a little more.
Third, we need to live up to your own expectations, and make sure they are reasonable. Here's a philosophy that has helped guide some of my own actions in my personal life: Live life so that you'd be honored to have yourself as a friend. It also works in your professional or business life as well: Be the business partner you would always want. If that's not the philosophy you live by, try it for at least a day and take it from there. You'll love the results.
Finally, let's keep learning and exposing ourselves to life, and the experiences it has to offer. It seems to me that the more I learn about anything the more confident I become. Furthermore, the more I learn about different areas the more I see the connectedness of life. And it follows that the more we realize the connectedness of life, the more we see how our self confidence is bolstered throughout by improving ourselves in just one area.
To summarize the simple 4 step process to improving self confidence and becoming sold on your self:
- Follow through (with something you've been meaning to)
- Evaluate and appraise your benefits
- Live so you'd want to be friends with yourself
Buy Your Self and You Will Sell Your Self
I would say that one of my pet peeves that I've developed over the last few years is when people consistently sell themselves short. I'll digress for a moment, but it's worth pointing out that I don't like when people sell themselves short because it ultimately leads to someone living a sub-par life. When you see people living so far below their potential it will affect you! As the saying goes once said, "In life you'll regret what you didn't do more than what you did do."
Ultimately, a major player in a situation where someone sells their self short is that they have a lack of self confidence. Being sold on your self, I believe, is the key to really being able to "sell yourself."
The good news is that as soon as you make the first change, you instantly reverse the erosion process and begin to improve your self confidence. When your confidence goes up you will naturally become sold on your self and your ability to sell yourself and all the values you have will improve dramatically. We've gone over a process that will help you become sold on your self, but it's ultimately up to you whether to buy or sell!
One of the foundational pieces in my personal development library is Jim Rohn's How To Have Your Best Year Ever. Not only has this incredible instruction helped me think beyond what I thought was reasonable, but it's also helped me lay a platform for which to model my life, and, importantly, how to live day-to-day to make effective change. I highly recommend you watch this program multiple times if you know there is untapped power within yourself.