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Lesson #17 in my “Average Sucks! Learning How To Become Remarkable” series.  To begin the series (highly suggested), please click –> Here

Arms Wide Open
 I went through what I thought was a silly exercise a few years ago.  In my perpetual quest to always be improving my personal confidence and also the confidence in others I work with, I one day looked up the definition of confidence in the dictionary.  What happened from there astounded me and changed how I think about confidence and the very practice of it.  (Yes, confidence can be practiced folks… this is an undeniable scientifically proven fact!).

According to Dictionary.com confidence is, “A feeling of self assurance arising from ones’ own appreciation of ones’ own abilities or qualities.”  Made sense.  So basically, confidence is a feeling.  A feeling that arises from within us.  Interesting.  I then asked myself, what is a feeling?  Again, according to Dictionary.com, a feeling is, “… an emotional state or reaction.”.   Okay that’s a duh… a feeling is an emotion.  So you guessed it, I looked up the word emotion.  Emotion is, ” … an instance of this.”  Oh, that’s interesting I thought… an instance of this.  Then what is this?  According to Dictionary.com “this” is, “… what is about to follow.”
Wow… wait… let’s think about this.  Could it be that confidence is the feeling we get when we know what is about to follow?  And, we can practice that?  We can actually practice mastering this kind of knowing?  Knowing what is next?
The more I thought about it the more I realized that my silly little dictionary journey led me to the very best understanding of what confidence really is.. a feeling or thought when you just know what is about to unfold next.  You can’t explain exactly why or how but you just know.
I am sure this has happened to you at least a few times in your life.  You knew what was going to happen before it actually did.  However far in the background of your mind you had that millionth of a second thought that you gave little credence to.  Yet… it was there.  It happened.
So now if you believe any of this (and you should!) here is (my simplified) 6 Step Program I developed years ago that you might want to think about incorporating into your life to further develop and improve your confidence.  If you do, you likely will not only elevate your confidence level, you may at times become a master in “what is about to follow.”

SIX WAYS TO DEVELOP AND PRACTICE CONFIDENCE 

1. Face Yourself

Face yourself and be honest.  Insecurity plagues consciously or subconsciously every human being. Overcoming this self-doubt starts with honestly assessing your abilities (and your shortcomings) and then getting comfortable enough to capitalize on (and correct) them.  A good way to begin to assess your abilities (notice how we are NOT going to focus on your shortcomings!) honestly is…

2. Find 5 Brave Souls

Find 5 brave souls who know you well.  Ask 3 to 5 people you know VERY well (personally and professionally) to list (from their perspective, bravely, openly and honestly) your top 5 strengths and why they believe them to be such.

3. Analyze The Feedback

Compare what they say your strengths are (those who know you very well) with that you believe they are.  If you do the assignment, you will most likely find that their answers will mostly match yours… but not entirely.   Find the gaps.  Find your blind spots.  Explore them.  Ask the person that gave you an answer that you didn’t expect to tell you more.  The more you learn about you (from those who know you best) the greater the insight into you you’ll have.  These are the confidence building blocks.

4. Create Activities To Practice

Now that you have crystalized what your strengths are – both realized and formerly unrealized, create activities (aligned with your strengths) and practice them daily.  A long time ago, I discovered that one of my greatest strengths is taking difficult, highly complicated subject matter and making it easily digestible for almost anyone to not only just understand, but really get it!  Thankfully, I very quickly knew that I needed to develop this strength further and practice it somehow.  I did that by practicing writing.  I decided that I needed to start tackling all those subjects and making them easier for the masses, not just the person I was speaking to.  As such, I made it a habit to blog, compose lectures, essays, white papers… heck, I even wrote a book – Grow Yourself and Grow Your Business.  So again, now that you have zeroed in on precisely what you are gifted at, develop activities to practice your strengths.  If you do, you can’t even imagine the satisfaction and confidence that will simply find you.

5. Practice 

At its fundamentally flawed core, the aim of almost any learning program is to help us become what we are not.  If you don’t have natural talent with numbers, you’re still forced to spend time in that area to attain a degree.  If you’re not very empathetic, you get sent to a course designed to infuse empathy into your personality.  From cradle to cubicle, we devote more time to our shortcomings than to our strengths.  The truth is people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting the deficiencies.  Furthermore, a wonderful consequence of focusing on your strengths is not only amplified confidence but also satisfaction and happiness.  Perhaps then we are living by a misguided maxim when we say… “you can be anything you want to be if you just try hard enough.”  Maybe, just maybe our new cultural understanding should be… “you cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a whole lot more of who you already are.”  So, now that you know better who YOU already are… practice, practice, practice your newly created activities.

6. Make Your Practice A Habit

We are creatures of habit.  We like to do what we have always done.  It is most comfortable that way.  There is no unknown or discomfort that we’ll have to deal with and confront.  However, the reality is, those who are the happiest, most successful and confident in life are those who are continually reinventing themselves.  Reinvent your life to incorporate the new, good, empowering, confidence building practices as habits.  Structure these new activities as daily, weekly, monthly habits.  If you make your practice a habit rather than simply a periodic activity, the chances of you elevating your confidence in that area is, well… a Duh!
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Let’s sum this up by doing one last exercise.  Sit in a quiet place.  Make sure there are no distractions.  Ask yourself how you wish to be remembered.  Take 15 minutes to think about this and write it down.  Seriously.  Do it!  Once complete, ask yourself this question out loud… “don’t I owe it to myself to practice working on my strengths and building my confidence so as to achieve this wish?”  What comes up for you when you ask yourself this question immediately after the exercise?  Hmmm… let me guess.. YES?
If you want to live a happier, more empowered, successful life and become a master of “what is about to follow”  you might just owe it to yourself to practice this thing we all call, confidence.
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If you desire to improve your present level of confidence I assure you this will be something you will need to work at and practice. Practice regularly in fact.  So, for those who are serious about this and want to change, transform, break through then we recommend you begin with a mentor, coach or accountability partner of some kind… after all, it is a statistical proven fact that if someone helps you establish your goals and, that person keeps you accountable to them, the chances of you achieving those goals are doubled!  Improve your chances in becoming remarkable… hire a coach or mentor today!  (To see what so many others are saying about it go to the “What They Are Saying” tab above.)
Additionally, if you desire to learn more about taking charge of life so that it doesn’t take charge of you, you will definitely want to purchase a copy of Andrew’s e-book (below).  And, in the meantime, to continue following our blogs, simply enter your email address where it says “blog feed” on the top right of the blog page.

GROW YOURSELF AND GROW YOUR BUSINESS: Learning How To Live and Lead So That Success Simply Finds You

Get your $9.99 e-copy today in Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Grow-Yourself-Your-Business-ebook/dp/B00NVQR53K
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Real happiness and success starts here! The beautiful truth revealed in this book is simply this… that your business will only ever be as good as you.
While almost everyone is singularly focused on IT (your business, your company, your dream), within these pages you quickly learn about there is a relationship between IT and YOU and that you need to focus on both. So, if you are one of those leaders whose business, company or startup is struggling or seeks to get to the next level, this book will teach you how to grow yourself so that you can grow it. WARNING! What you are about to read may surprise you. Ironically, much of it you likely already know. Some perhaps you may not. Either way, this will challenge you for sure. It does everyone.
Andrew Kolikoff: A 3 time successful entrepreneur (one of those times landing him on the front page of USA Today for a product he invented), Andrew is now a world renowned coach, keynote speaker, author and co-founder of MentorMash… the world’s first and only success building system designed to deliver both happiness and financial freedom through mentoring – mentoring both You and Your Business. Feel free to connect with Andrew on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/businessbreakthroughmentor. He can also be found at www.mentormash.com and www.kolikoff.com.
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