A while back, one of my siblings was convicted and sent to prison. I went to visit him frequently, but I have to tell you … even though I got to talk to my brother … on the telephone … with a glass wall separating us … I experienced a tremendous sense of helplessness.
Of course there are millions of people who live behind prison walls around the world. And I’m sure their sense of helplessness is much stronger than the emotions I felt as a mere visitor to the prison.
Sadder yet is the fact that there are billions of people who live inside their own self-constructed prisons. They incarcerate themselves with low self-esteem, building walls of negativity, pessimism, resentments, complaints, and excuses. And their lives are as bleak, dismal, and joyless as the prison I used to visit.
Now I know that might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but don’t miss the fundamental truth I’m giving you. If you don’t have HIGH self-esteem and STRONG self-confidence all the time, you’re trapped in a prison. And that prison is holding you back from achieving some of your career goals and personal dreams.
If that sounds anything like you, where you have lower self-esteem than you would like to have, if your self-confidence tends to go up and down, let these thoughts sink in for a while.
1. Low Self-Confidence Virtually Guarantees Your Failure.
Low self-esteem turns into feelings of helplessness, and those feelings almost always assure your failure.
As Mahatma Gandhi, the world-wide respected leader of India, observed, “Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end up by really becoming incapable of doing it.”
In The Seeds of Greatness, Dr. Denis Waitley affirms Gandhi’s observation. Waitley says, “If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you WON’T, you most assuredly WON’T. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.”
Both of them are saying that your success … or lack of it … can all be traced back to your self-esteem.
Of course, I get some push back from some audience members when I challenge the strength of their self-esteem. They’ll say, “I know I don’t have a lot of confidence, but I’m no failure. I’ve accomplished a lot.”
Yeah, that’s possible. Some people have enough discipline and willpower to accomplish some of their goals in spite of their low self-esteem.
But I would still contend you don’t want to stay that way. Because…
2. Low Self-Esteem Will Keep You from Accomplishing All That You Could.
Put another way, you simply miss out on a lot of good stuff in life when you have low self-esteem. As consultant Dan Klatt notes, “When people don’t feel they deserve wealth or abundance in any area, they don’t take the opportunities they’re given.”
So true. That’s why I told my recent audience of Prudential insurance agents, “You simply cannot afford the luxury of a negative attitude.”
I see it all the time when I’m coaching people for success. The most confident salespeople are almost always the top salespeople in their companies. They believe in themselves and the products they’re selling, and as a result, they make the sales they want to make.
The less confident salespeople sell a lot less, but they blame their lack of success on a poor economy, an unsatisfactory product, or difficult customers. They don’t seem to realize that they themselves are the problem.
3. You Perform at a Much Higher Level with High Self-Esteem.
You may think, “Duh. Of course.”
But it may not be as obvious as you think. When I put together my most recent Extraordinary Success 2.0 Master Class, lots of people signed up for a free coaching and decision call with me to see if they wanted to become a part of this Master Class. Of those who decided not to join, the most common response they gave was, “I guess I’m not doing all that badly.”
Well, that may be true. But they failed to understand that if they’re doing pretty well with their present level of self-esteem, they would be GREAT if they increased and then maintained a higher level of self-esteem and self-confidence all the time.
You see, self-esteem leads to strength. Author Charles Handy writes,
“When you are comfortable with who you are and what you are — bald or old or fat or poor, successful to struggling — when you don’t feel the need to apologize for anything or deny anything … (that) is the beginning of strength.”
And strength leads to competence. In other words, you get better and better. Gandhi knew that and he changed a nation. He said, “If I shall have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
So how do you get that kind of self-esteem and self-confidence working for you?
4. Talk to Yourself … Positively.
I used to tell my college students to tell themselves 20 times a day, “I like myself. I like myself. I like myself.” And “I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.”
It sounds silly, I know, but over the course of time you send messages from your conscious to your subconscious mind, which it will eventually accept and act accordingly.
(In my super-popular, highly requested, and through-the-roof rated program, UP Your Attitude: 6 Secrets for Power-Packed Confidence, Barrier-Crashing Purpose, and Tubo-Charged Achievement, you will learn the six secrets that will UP your personal and professional performance like never before.)
Dr. Walter Doyle Staples actually outlined the process of how greater self-esteem will help you DO BETTER. He wrote,
When you change your thinking,
You change your beliefs;
When you change your beliefs,
You change your expectations;
When you change your expectations,
You change your attitude;
When you change your attitude,
You change your behavior;
When you change your behavior,
You change your performance;
When you change your performance,
You change your life!
Dr. Staples is right. And research backs him up. When you raise your self-esteem, you raise your performance. You do better.
Finally, for today’s purposes,
5. When You Increase Your Self-Esteem, You Connect More Effectively with Others.
You actually become a more effective leader.
In fact, I just came back from a European speaking tour in London, Edinburgh, Brussels, and Amsterdam where I spoke on UP Your Attitude. As I told the hundreds of leaders in my audiences, they can’t expect other people to believe in them and follow them if they didn’t believe in themselves.
Of course, Horace, the poet from ancient times said as much. He said, “He who has confidence in himself will lead the rest.”
So ask yourself, “Do you as a leader project a self-confidence that others can believe in … that others can and will want to follow?”
Self-esteem is like a governor on a motorized vehicle. It will only allow you to go so fast. And no matter how much faster you might like to go, it’s not going to happen. Until you remove or adjust the governor … allowing you to go faster and higher than ever before.
Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 905 – Short on Self-Confidence? Try This.