Believe In Yourself

Dr. John Townsend

October 18, 2016


Successful people believe in themselves. Life has lots of challenges and obstacles, and one of the best tools to persevere and get past them, is to have a positive view of yourself. There is a great deal of value for you in remembering what is real and true about you, and what will get you through the next step.

Believing in yourself has nothing to do with the pop psychology fads of concentrating on how wonderful we are. Rather, it is about focusing on three things about you that are solid and foundational:

1. Your character. Your character is your internal makeup.

It’s those capacities that are required in order for you to meet the demands of reality. I don’t know about you, but my reality has lots of demands: marriage, parenting, relationships, work, self-care and service. You need a great tool box to pull life off well. When you call to mind your internal strengths, you are more likely to use these strengths in productive ways. For example, if people readily trust you, remember that this ability will likely help you in the your challenge. If you are honest and direct, this is also something that can carry the day.

2. Your history. The best predictor of the future is the past.

You may have some losses in your history, but you also have wins. Bring to mind that you have done some successful things in your area of concern, and this will increase your confidence and focus. A CEO I coached had a complex financial deal ahead of him with several players working together. It was the biggest initiative in his career. He was questioning a bit if he could pull it off. We explored other deals he had hit home runs in. Though the previous deals were smaller, the dynamics and strategies were similar. He remembered what he has done, and, fortified with that knowledge, did very well in the larger deal.

3. Your support system. We truly are as confident as our relationships make us.

People are the fuel of our lives. Their care, interest, attunement and encouragement are often the difference between success and failure. We “internalize”, or take into our brain’s hard wiring, the ingredients of what others provide for us. When you call these people to mind, or some helpful thing they said to you, it makes us believe more that we are up to the task. A friend of mine in the Townsend Leadership Program was going into a very difficult conversation with his investors, who were unhappy with his performance. I checked in with him after the meeting, and he told me things had gone well. Then he said, “When the investors were coming down on me, I remembered that several of my TLP members told me that regardless of the outcome of that meeting, they were for me and believed in my talent. It made all the difference for me in that conversation.”

Your insides, your past successes and your great people will help you believe that you have what it takes. One of the functions of your brain is to keep important memories to sustain you. Use it, and believe what is true and good.

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