How To Believe In Yourself. A Starter Guide. (Hint: You could be doing it wrong.)
As a kid, I always hoped that when my favorite artist was asked - “what advice would you give to aspiring artists?” that I would hear “The Answer”. Every single time, my excitement was met with the always devastating, and always frustrating “believe in yourself”. WTF? I wondered why they were holding out?!
For years, I would think, I do believe, but nothing is happening!
Over time, I started to learn, I was doing it wrong.
See, I used to think if I just wished and thought and hoped and maybe was around the right situations, it would happen because I felt like this is what I was meant to do. The feeling that some greater destiny was calling me was so strong, it had me thinking it was some sort of birthright, and any opposition or speed bumps were “happening to me”. I used to start a lot of sentences with “why?” (or) “I don’t understand why…” and then go on to list the perceived injustices the universe was committing upon my life.
Later I came to learn this kind of thinking is a certain brand of entitlement, even though my experience was one of lack/scarcity (we’ll get into this another day).
I don’t think I’ve ever been more wrong about anything, ever in life!
See, believing takes an incredible amount effort. It requires sacrifice, hard work, and your never-ending evolution. We activate our belief through action. It’s the way we prove our belief, and activate the universe’s assistance. Our action is proof we believe, and it’s what our reality responds to.
Oh, and it takes patience, lots of patience. Keep in mind, waiting is waiting and patience is knowing and trusting.
I’m assuming you’ve found something you love and want to build a life doing. That will make the following tips 100 x more useful. If you’re not sure what that thing is yet, try making a list of things you love to do even if no one is paying you to do it. Try each one and pick the one that inspires you to lose track of time.
So, here we go: A few gems I’ve picked up on how exactly one goes about “believing”.
Defy your inner saboteur — You know the one. Whenever an opportunity presents itself, it’s that voice that steals joy, stomps on any excitement and pumps you full of doubt. It’s the same voice that says, “I know someone else who can do that”, even though you are perfectly qualified and available. Want to practice some true bad assery? Rebel against that voice. It whispers things like- “I’m not good enough; I’m not thin enough; I don’t belong there; I have nothing to say/offer” etc. Lies. All lies.
Don’t Overthink It — Nike has actually been telling us “the secret” this whole time (face palm)! Seriously, just do it! Be mindful though. This doesn’t mean chase your own tail packing your schedule with things that don’t make you better somehow. Have a goal and let the things you do be in its name. The only way you can figure out where you’re going, is to go SOMEWHERE. Take a step. Then you can navigate. I used to struggle with this so much, I was paralyzed by taking “the wrong step”. Don’t let that be you. Trust me, it’s a waste of your very precious time. What scares you more, taking the first step and figuring out it isn’t quite right and going a different way or staying exactly where you are right now?
What Would Beyoncé Do? — Sometimes we have to trick ourselves into doing what needs to be done. What would someone with the confidence, strength or wisdom you’re trying to tap into do? When I’m taking spinning and a Beyoncé song comes on, I swear I get stronger. I feel like I can do anything! Maybe for you it’s Steve Jobs, maybe it’s Oprah. Give it a try.
Think In Opposites — If the way that you’ve been going about things has yet to produce any results, start doing the opposite of what you would normally do (using good judgement). Now if this means that you would normally procrastinate, tackle your project head on. If you would normally miss an opportunity to learn, or experience something new, go! Be the first one there if you can manage it. You see where I’m going with this. Basically, if what you’re doing hasn’t worked for you so far, it’s not going to miraculously start working now, so get up and go. Yes you do have something to wear, and if you don’t have time to do your hair - a scarf or hat will be fine. You are enough.
Share — There’s incubating, developing and experimenting and then there’s lying to yourself, scared to death hiding. Now these things can look very similar. So you’ve got to be clever and alert. We can think ourselves into a loop and get stuck. If you find you’ve tricked yourself into thinking you’re perfecting something when the reality is closer to fear of failure, then it’s time to share what you’re doing. I think releasing our work helps us see our work in a new way, with some distance. Also, once the work is out, the sense of ownership changes. That may actually help you grow. There’s also an accountability factor. Plus, you never know what or whom you might attract by putting the work in and putting the work out.
Go Your Own Way — You’ll never know who you are if you’re comparing yourself to other people. I’d go as far as to say pay little to no attention to anyone you feel tempted to compare yourself to. Eventually that will go away. It’s energy that you need to put to better use.
PURPOSE — You’ve got to discover what drives you. The truth is, we all have days where life feels like a crazed bull that we’re trying to grab by the horns. Purpose is that unwavering thing that will get you through the worst of times. It’s the antidote for self doubt. You will bulldoze right over any glitches when you have a reason that is important to you.