A high school group from Auckland, New Zealand took up the project of discovering the #1 tool in a person’s arsenal for success. They concluded the answer is self-esteem.
I agree with them.
From their research they also concluded I was one of the world’s experts on the subject of self-esteem and wanted to interview me. So I spent a very special hour with those students last Friday. Their questions were deep and thoughtful, and to be honest, it felt really cool to have young people be so interested in what an older person like me had to say.
The good news is those kids are onto something very important that many people never learn. Self-esteem is the #1 predictor of success.
In fact, Dr. David McClelland spent 25 years at Harvard University asking and researching that very question: What is the #1 factor in success?
For example, he discovered the leading factor was not education. There are lots of educated people who go nowhere in life. He also discovered the leading factor was not IQ. There are lots of bright people who never use their intellect. And so his research went, testing factor after factor, ending up with the undisputable conclusion that self-esteem is the #1 predictor of success.
Unfortunately, many people could use a lot more self-esteem and have no idea how to get it. That being the case, I wanted to share with you a few tips on what you can do to build and maintain an unfailing self-esteem. And then on November 9th, for the first time ever, I’ll offer a live webinar on the topic.
►1. You must know the WHY before you implement the HOW.
Of course, many of my Tuesday Tip followers, audience members, and coaching clients will ask me what’s the big deal about self-esteem. WHY is it so important?
I answer them with one sentence.
You perform exactly as you see yourself.
In other words, if you see yourself more positively, you perform more effectively. And if you see yourself as lacking in confidence and competence, that’s exactly how you will perform.
Put another way, you will seldom, if ever, outperform your own self-image, self-esteem, or self-confidence. If, for example, you can’t see yourself easily making cold calls and closing sales, you will really struggle with those tasks. If you can’t see yourself approaching people with calm and ease and starting conversations, you’ll struggle with that as well.
Thus, I repeat, “You perform exactly as you see yourself.” That’s WHY self-esteem is so critically important. It controls how far you’ll go in every aspect of your life, career, and relationships. Once you know and accept that, you’re ready to learn HOW to build an unfailing self-esteem.
Here’s one way to do that. I’ll share many more techniques with you in some upcoming Tuesday Tips.
► 2. Picture yourself as a person of confidence.
Your mind has a strong tendency to become what you imagine. It’s called mental osmosis. When you picture yourself in a certain way, your mind goes to work, doing its best to turn your picture into reality.
Olympic athletes have been telling us this for years. They attribute 95% of their success to the mental work that underlies their physical performance. They know that if they’re going to be a winner, they must first picture themselves as a confident winner.
If you’re lacking in self-esteem or self-confidence in any way, I’m guessing that your mind is filled with all kinds of self-deflating and self-defeating images. You see yourself as fearful, unsure, insecure, worried, and nervous too much of the time. Stop it!!!
Take a few seconds, a few times a day, to practice seeing yourself as a person of confidence. Think about how a confident person stands, looks, feels, and talks. And then picture yourself behaving in that very same way. The more you do it, the more you will become that way.
► 3. Live a life of integrity.
Simply put, you can’t say one thing and do another and feel good about yourself. You can’t say, for example, that your kids are important to you but never have time to spend with them. You can’t say you value physical health but eat junk food and never exercise. You can’t say truth is important to you but refuse to listen to any news source that doesn’t confirm your pre-existing biases.
Those acts and a thousand other behaviors are lacking in integrity. And every such behavior eats away at your self-respect and self-esteem. Self-respect and self-esteem cannot co-exist with lies.
As one of my speaker-author colleagues Brian Tracy would say, “Confidence on the outside begins by living with integrity on the inside.”
So ask yourself, “Are there any areas in my life where my talk and walk don’t line up? Where do I profess a certain set of values but fail to live accordingly?” Get honest with yourself.
And when you find some gaps, select one or two things you could do to live with more integrity. Maybe it’s telling the truth (even when it’s not easy), keeping your promises, or giving more than lip service to those things you really, Really, REALLY believe.
Not only will this add to your self-esteem, it will also add to your success in life and work, as discovered by two of my students Scott Anderson and Chip Kudrle. They formed the Diamond Performance Group and conducted an executive survey, asking hundreds of execs what were the most critical behaviors of integrity. Of the top ten answers they received, the top three were deliver on commitments, be reliable, and act ethically.
You can have an unfailing, unflinching, and undefeatable self-esteem and self-confidence. It’s simply a matter of adopting a few proven strategies. I just gave you a few of them today. More are coming next week.