Most likely, you don’t have a governor on your car … which is a little device that determines how fast your car can go.
But you do have a governor in your mind that determines how much success you’re going to have in your life, your work, and your relationships. And no matter how hard you try or how much work you do, you will never achieve anything beyond what your governor allows.
So what is this governor? It’s your self-esteem or lack of it. Because the number one thing we’ve learned from 100 years of psychological research is that you perform exactly as you see yourself. If you see yourself as gifted and confident, you will perform that way. If you see yourself as rather ordinary and insecure, you will perform that way.
Quite literally, you can’t outperform your own level of self-esteem. So that means you had better know how to build a kick-butt self-esteem that turns you into a winner … or you’ll end up what with an awful lot less than you have to.
This is what I suggest.
► 1. Focus on progress, not perfection.
Too many people think they have to be perfect before they could ever accept themselves or believe in themselves. And it’s pure nonsense. After all, perfection is NOT a human attribute. Only God can make that claim.
I actually feel sorry for perfectionists. The more they try to be perfect, the more they realize their inability to be perfect. They might even label themselves as failures, and that’s a far cry from self-esteem.
To have kick-butt self-esteem, you must accept the fact you’ll never be perfect. You are not finished making mistakes. You will fail again.
You must accept the fact that not everyone will like you. Lots of people will disagree with you. And you will die with some unfinished business.
And that’s OKAY!!!
To build kick-butt self-esteem, accept who you are, how you got there, and where you’re going. Be patient with yourself when you fail, make mistakes, or do really stupid things.
Instead of striving for perfection, strive for EXCELLENCE. Do your best, even though it may not be perfect. You can feel proud of that and that, in turn, will build your self-esteem.
To help my coaching clients remember that, I give them a little laminated card that says the following: “Success is not beating everyone else, because there will always be someone faster, smarter, better, stronger, and wiser. The only thing that matters is raising your own bar. It’s only important to continue to beat your own previous best.”
► 2. Picture yourself with strong, unshakeable confidence.
Like I said in a previous paragraph, you perform exactly as you see yourself. And that truth can be used as your demise or as your ticket to a better life.
Losers tend to think, “Well of course. I knew that already. I’m a loser. That’s just who I am. There’s nothing I can do about it.” Winners tend to think, “Well, if I perform exactly as I see myself, I need to see myself more positively so I behave more effectively.”
How do you picture yourself? Do you picture yourself the way you are … which might be poor to good? Or do you picture yourself the way you’d like to be … which will be good to great? I hope the latter.
Start thinking about the kind of personality you’d like to have. The talents you’d like to nurture. The successes you’d like to achieve. Picture those things for one or two minutes two to three times a day. And you’ll find yourself moving in that direction, becoming that kind of person … because your mind has a very strong tendency to become what it sees.
Of course, Olympic athletes know about this. They attribute 95% of their success to the mental work that underlies their physical performance. They know that if they’re going to be successful, they must first “see” themselves as successful.
Likewise, to have kick-butt self-esteem, you must picture yourself as already possessing that quality.
► 3. Talk away your fear.
You have two conflicting entities inside your mind: the “brave me” and the “fearful me.” Many times, your “fearful me” paralyzes and frustrates the “brave me” inside of you. You’ve got to talk away the “fearful me” if you’re going to have kick-butt self-esteem and success.
At the beginning of his opera career, the famous Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso, was unsure of his talent. On an opening night, Caruso stood in the wings waiting to go on stage when he was seized by an overwhelming attack of fear. He actually shook with fear. Nearby, astonished stagehands heard him whisper the command, “Out! You miserable ‘little me.’ Get out of the way! Out! Out!”
Caruso was changing the way he viewed himself through self-talk. He told the fearful element inside himself that his “brave me” would prevail. In the face of this fierce counter-attack, the “fearful me” shrank-away and Caruso went on stage and sang with beauty and power.
Maybe it sounds crazy, but this technique really works. Tell yourself, over and over, that you are capable of accomplishing the things you fear. Tell yourself you can do it, that you’ve got what it takes, and that you’re equal to the task. Your fear will die and your new, re-invigorated self-esteem will take over and take you in the right direction.