What you do by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Henry David Thoreau

There are times in my life where I’ve felt more confident than others. When I reflect back at those times, I realize that my self-confidence correlates closely to my external activities. When I’m out in the world doing things like climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, swimming in the ocean, doing conference talks, teaching, traveling–my self-confidence soars. That might be one reason that we all might be feeling down lately, I know I feel a little down. We’ve been cooped up at home, our jobs have changed, sometimes it feels like everything has changed. But, I have to remember that things are always changing, I should just get used to it and focus on what I can do–there will always be updates, new editions, new challenges. I wouldn’t have it any other way ٩(*•͈ ꇴ •͈*)و ̑̑❀!

Let’s get to work. This morning I spent my time examining another area that I need to strengthen. Self-confidence.

You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough, you will.

Stephen King

With the proper amount of self-confidence, you will try almost anything. Your chances of success improve exponentially based on the number of ways you try to accomplish something. I can’t tell you the number of times in my life that I’ve tried to do something, failed, and then never tried it again. I didn’t try again because I wasn’t self-confident enough. Why? Well, it’s because I didn’t remember that the more times I try to achieve a goal, the probability goes up–I wasn’t confident. I didn’t reflect on the good things that happened during that experience, and I focused only on the failure. Let’s fix this.

How do we infuse our lives with self-confidence?

Brian Tracy, a professional development coach and one of the people I started listening to over twenty years ago–has developed a simple plan to increase our self-confidence. He calls it the 4-Ds to being more self-confident.

Brian Tracy’s 4-Ds to Becoming more Self-Confident

  1. Desire. We must have a burning, relentless desire to become more self-confident. We have to have the desire to overcome the fears in our life, the past failures, the let-downs, and mistakes that have ultimately hurt our self-confidence. We have to not just think about this, we have to have the emotion in our hearts to FEEL the desire to make ourselves more self-confident.
  2. Decision. After we’ve felt the desire to be more confident in our lives, we have to make the decision to increase self-confidence in our lives at any cost. We have to make the decision a do or die proposition. We have to decide to go to work on ourselves and not stop working until we’ve achieved the BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) in our life.
  3. Determination. Once the decision has been made. DO IT. It’s now our job to use the determination we have to stick to the plan. Our determination to build our self-confidence must be unshakeable. Once we have decided, our internal gyro systems will take over if we are determined, we will hone in on the target. We will begin to change our thinking into believing in ourselves.
  4. Discipline. Self-discipline is making ourselves do something whether we feel like it or not. There are many ways to build the self-discipline we need to build our confidence. If we have the desire, made the decision, and we have committed ourselves with resolve and unshakeable determination, we will have all that we need to create the discipline necessary for creating self-confidence. We will find the habits that we need to change ourselves to specifically create self-confidence within ourselves.

Self-confidence comes from knowing and not thinking we are confident. It’s only when we have a firm conviction and belief in our abilities, based on experience, that we can know that our self-confidence is not an act.

Every act of self-confidence builds our self-confidence. Every mental exercise that we do to increase our confidence builds our self-confidence, every time we learn from other self-confident people, we build our self-confidence.

I realize now that I’ve been working on my self-confidence all this time. When I go to work on myself, specifically in the areas of personal integrity, delegation skills, management, my personality, dealing with my personal issues as an adopted Korean-American, my anger issues, I’m really working on my confidence levels in these areas. I’m seeing benefits in more than just my self-confidence though. My self-image is better, my self-esteem is better. When I realize and see these things in my life. I become more self-confident. My outlook on life is more positive because I am becoming a better person with every minute that I make the right choices for myself and my family.

There was a Gallup Poll/Study done in the 80s (I’m trying to find the exact reference) that asked some of the most influential people in the 80s how they became to be the most well respected and well known. These questions were asked of Nobel Prize winners, university presidents, and the most successful business people at that time. Gallup produced a study about the five qualities these people believed were key to their self-confidence and success.

  1. Common Sense. Common sense was at the top of the list of qualities. Common sense is the ability to cut to the core of an issue. It’s learning from our experiences. Aristotle believed that wisdom is common sense, and that wisdom was developed through our experiences and REFLECTION on them. Most people, including myself, do not reflect properly on our experiences. A lot of times we focus on the failure of our experience. Instead, what we should do is focus on the positive things after we’ve experienced something. Try this next time when you have an important experience (like a call with your boss, or client). Get out a piece of paper and write down the answers to these two questions:
    1. What did I do right? and, What would I do differently?
    2. When we do this, we immediately dwell on the positive aspects of the experience. We give ourselves a much higher chance of getting better and at a much higher rate. Proper reflection on our experiences builds our self-confidence because it contributes to our common sense and wisdom to handle our lives better.
  2. Expertise. The second quality was simple to understand. The most successful people had the greatest levels of self-confidence because they knew what they were doing. We have to know we are good at something to really feel confident about doing something.
  3. Self-Reliance. Being able to look to yourself and being able to harness the creative forces inside of you to solve problems is the third quality that is found in the most successful and self-confident. Being self-responsible for building your confidence, looking inside yourself to break down the internal barriers is critical in getting past the external barriers of our lives. We are the primary source of creating self-confidence in our lives.
  4. Intelligence. Here’s where the title of the article comes from. I wanted to challenge your egos to figure out if you’re intelligent or not! This was the fourth quality. I don’t think that the people in the study meant IQ. If we dig deeper into the data of their lives, many didn’t finish college or get good grades, or any grades for that matter. Book smarts are not the focus of what we are dealing with here. Intelligence is a way of acting. Either we “act smart” or we, “act stupid”. As Forest Gump’s mom said, “stupid is what stupid does.” Mic drop. It’s so true. When we act in a way that moves us closer to our goals, we are being intelligent. When we act in ways that move us further from our goals, we are being unintelligent. See that wasn’t so bad. Every time we act in a way to build our self-confidence, we are being smart about it and we are on the path to greater self-confidence.
  5. Result Orientation. This was the fifth quality. Result orientation is being able to know you can get the job done. You have to have a “take action” mindset and a strong sense of urgency to get things done. You have to have a plan for building your self-confidence just like you achieve other things in your life.

My plan is to dedicate myself to becoming more self-confident and getting a little better at this every day. I know that every time I go the extra mile on something or someone, every time I do more for others–I become more self-confident. My dedication to continuous growth is the plan for building self-confidence in every aspect of my life. I now have daily experiences handling challenges with the new philosophies I’ve installed in my operating system, and those experiences are getting handled better and easier. I can feel it and see it.

The more we learn, the more we can learn. If we stay true to building our confidence, we will like and respect ourselves more, we will be more positive and be able to create the things we want in our lives more easily. This is the promise. And when it comes to self-confidence, paying the price instantly gives us the promise of more confidence. It’s an amazing thing; aren’t we amazing? Dang right we are!

You are the best. I love you! See what you’re becoming! Be the best at what you’re doing. Choose excellence today. Be the exception.

Featured Photo by Daniel Minárik on Unsplash