Self confidence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that is part of my Common Sense Success System. I discuss it in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart your Professional Success.
You can become self confident by doing three things. First, choose optimism. Believe in your heart of hearts that today will be better than yesterday, and that tomorrow will be better than today. Second, face your fears and act. Procrastination and inaction feed fear and rob you of self confidence. Action cures fear. Third, surround yourself with positive people. Don’t let the naysayers into your life. Hang around with people who are positive about themselves, their careers and life in general.
Recently I had the good fortune to read a great book called The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It’s set in the early 1960s in Mississippi set against the backdrop of the early days of the civil rights movement. It’s the story of white society women in Jackson and the black women who work as domestics for them. It’s a story about the complicated relationships between the races and between employer and employee. It’s the story of how black women in that time and place took on child rearing duties for their employers. It’s beautifully written. I think it would be a great holiday present for anyone on your list who likes to read.
Aibileen is one of the main characters. She has been a domestic all her life. She loves raising children. Mae Mobley is one of the children under her care in the book. Mae Mobley is not a very attractive child. Her mother doesn’t have a lot of time for her. Aibileen worries about Mae Mobley’s self esteem. She does whatever she can to help the little girl feel good about herself.
As the events of the book unfold, Aibileen is forced to leave the family and Mae Mobley. Mae Mobley is devastated; Aibilieen more so. She loves this child and worries what will happen to her once she is gone. Here is a passage from the end of the book. Aiblieen is speaking about Mae Mobley…
“I let her cry a minute on my chest and then I take her face into my hands again. I take a deep breath and I tell her to do the same.
“‘Baby Girl,’ I say, ‘I need you to remember everything I told you. Do you remember what I told you?’
“She is still crying steady, but the hiccups is gone. ‘To wipe my bottom good when I’m done?’
“‘No baby, the other. About what you are.’
“I look into her deep brown eyes and she look into mine. Law, she got old-soul eyes, like she done lived a thousand years. And I swear I see, down inside, the woman she gone grow up to be. A flash from the future. She is tall and straight. She is proud. She got a better haircut. And she is remembering the words I put in her head. Remembering as a full-grown woman.
“And then she say it, just like I need her to. ‘You is kind,’ she say, ‘you is smart.’ You is important.’
“‘Oh Law.’ I hug her hot little body to me. I feel like she done just given me a gift. ‘Thank you Baby Girl.’”
“‘You’re welcome,’ she say, like I taught her to…
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA, I have a lot for which to be thankful. It starts with my parents who always told me…“You are kind. You are smart. You are important.” I know that there are lots of people in this world who don’t hear those words often enough.
So I ask a favor of you. Be a positive person. Give the gift of self esteem this holiday season. Tell the people in your life – your children, your friends, your coworkers – that they are kind, smart and important. Help them feel good about themselves. People who feel good about themselves usually help others feel good about themselves – and they create the successful lives and careers they want and deserve.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are self confident. Self confident people feel good about themselves, and they help build the self esteem of the people in their lives. Take a few minutes this Thanksgiving week – and every week – to do what you can to help the people in your life feel good about themselves. Tell them that they are kind, smart and important. Be a positive person. Start your own self esteem domino effect. Because there is one thing I know for sure – a world of people who feel good about themselves would be a better place. We can create that world if we are a little more positive and do just a little bit more to help others feel good about themselves.
That’s my take on the importance of world full of people with high self esteem and self confidence. What’s yours? Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. This Thanksgiving I am especially grateful for those of you who read what I have to say and give me your feedback.