I love stories. I think they are a very powerful way of making important points. Here’s one of my favorites about self confidence.
The business executive was deep in debt and could see no way out. Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy.
Suddenly an old man appeared before him. “I can see that something is troubling you,” he said. After listening to the executive’s woes, the old man said, “I believe I can help you.” He asked the man his name, wrote out a check, and pushed it into his hand saying, “Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.” Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.
The business executive saw in his hand a check for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world! “I can erase my money worries in an instant!” he realized. But instead, the executive decided to put the uncashed check in his safe.
Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business. With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.
Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed check. At the agreed-upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the check and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man.
“I’m so glad I caught him!” she cried. “I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He’s always escaping from the rest home and telling people he’s John D. Rockefeller.” And she led the old man away by the arm.
The astonished executive just stood there, stunned. All year long he’d been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half a million dollars behind him. Suddenly, he realized that it wasn’t the money, real or imagined, that had turned his life around. It was his newfound self-confidence that gave him the power to achieve anything he went after.
As nice as this story is, I doubt if it is actually true. However, like a lot of fables, it makes a great common sense point about career success. If you believe in yourself and your success, you are likely find ways to make that belief come true. Think about it.
If you want to become self confident you need to do five things. 1) Become an optimist. Learn from, and then forget yesterday’s mistakes. Focus on tomorrow’s achievements. 2) Face your fears and take action. Action cures fear. Procrastination and inaction compound it. Failure is rarely fatal. Do something, anything that will move you closer to achieving your goals. 3) Surround yourself with positive people. Build a network of supportive friends. Jettison the negative people in your life. 4) Find a mentor. A strong mentor will help build your confidence and guide you along the way. Mentors are positive people by definition – because they are willing to share their knowledge and experience to help others grow and succeed. 5) Become a mentor. It’s never too early to begin helping others. You have learned things that can greatly benefit others. Be willing to share what you’ve learned to help others from having to learn it the hard way – through personal experience.