Who to Believe

It’s hard to know what to believe these days. You can find “facts” to support pretty much anything you want to believe. It’s just as hard to know who to believe. People who seem to be thinking and talking logically one day appear to be completely off the rails the next. 

But I do have one solid recommendation on who to believe that you can take to the bank…maybe even literally. 

That recommendation is you. Yes, I wholeheartedly recommend that you believe in you. The most successful people, regardless of their walk of life, have that one thing in common. They believe in themselves. 

Believing in yourself changes everything about your life. You’ll not only see things differently but the things you see will actually be different. You’ll be less judgmental of other people because your focus will be on your life and what you want to accomplish. You’ll no longer feel the need to measure yourself against other people because you know, without a doubt, that you have what it takes to succeed.

You’ll discover that you do in fact have enough time. The old excuse about not having time falls away when your priorities are in order. You no longer waste time, you invest it. You invest it in accomplishing what’s best for you and those you care for. The activities a less confident you did with regularity to avoid taking risks will no longer be a part of your day. A self-confident you becomes a productivity monster accomplishing more in a day than most people do in a month. Yes, that is the real you when you believe in yourself!

Self-confident people attract other people and you very well may inspire other people to believe in themselves. Think about people who inspire you. You not only can be like them…you ARE like them, you only need to believe it. 

When you believe in yourself you become immune to the unjust criticism of others. You are able to accept the comments and decide for yourself if there is anything helpful to consider. Then you are free to use whatever part of the criticism you feel helps you succeed. When you believe in yourself all criticism becomes constructive, no matter how it was intended. 

Believing in yourself doesn’t eliminate life’s ups and downs. It does however make them a ton easier to deal with. You KNOW you will overcome whatever obstacles appear in your way. You are certain of it, there are no doubts, only possible solutions to consider. 

But here’s the best part…every single word I’ve written is 100% true for every single person reading this. This post isn’t about someone else, it’s about you!

I believe it, I believe it with all my heart. All you need to do is believe it too. Once you believe it, really really believe it, every obstacle becomes smaller, every possibility becomes clearer. You begin to live a life of purpose, on purpose. You begin to live the life you deserve.

Believe! 

100 Days of Mask Wearing

If you’re looking for a political fight over whether people should be wearing masks during a pandemic you’ve come to the wrong place. The title of this post is pure clickbait cause I’m not writing about that kind of mask. 

I’m writing about the masks that many people wear everyday. Even people who would say “no one can make me wear a mask” frequently wear masks. 

It’s the masks they wear when pretending to be someone or something they are not. They wear them for a lot longer than 100 days too. They wear them for many reasons. Some don’t particularly like who they really are. Some want to impress people who they believe won’t accept them as they are. Some people seem to be afraid to let others know the person they actually are. The list of reasons could go on and on. 

I gave up on wearing the kind of mask that hides who I am a long time ago. I adopted the thinking of the great American philosopher Popeye. He was very comfortable with who he was and frequently said, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.” 

Me too.

Some people don’t like who I am. That’s fantastic! I’ve not invested a single minute trying to fool people into liking me so at least they don’t like me for who I really am. Image making all that effort to wear a mask only to discover people don’t like the person you’re pretending to be. What a waste! I am what I am and that’s all that I am. If people like who and what I am then that’s fantastic too. 

Either way I’m not putting on a mask to try to get more people to like me. Wearing that kind of mask is a lot of work and it’s not particularly effective. People are gonna figure you out sooner or later anyway. You might as well make it easier by showing them the real you. 

I’m more than certain the people who are supposed to be in your life will be in your life. I’m also very sure that you’ll have a more enjoyable life living the life of the person you really are. It’s also likely that wearing a mask to hide the real you won’t make more people like you, it will just make different people like you. But if your mask falls off those people will quickly fall away.

If you need to wear a mask to get somebody to think better of you then you don’t need them thinking of you at all. You also shouldn’t care what they think in the first place.

Be you! Be the best you that you can possibly be. Be “all that you are” all of the time because it’s that authenticity that will ultimately make you a person to be admired. 

And you don’t need a mask for that!

The Enemy Within a Me

People get frustrated with me when I tell them that it’s very likely the greatest obstacle to success they face is themselves. 

They tell me I don’t understand, but I do. They tell me I don’t know, but I do. They tell me I don’t know how tough it can be “out there,” but I do. 

I also know that in any situation where I’ve struggled to advance or accomplish a goal my greatest enemy was within me. That enemy slowed down my progress. My doubts about my own abilities prevented me from moving forward. Those doubts opened the door to my true enemy which was fear of failure. 

Despite the compliments I get about my speaking ability, the things I write and other stuff I do, I know this undeniable truth about myself…overall I’m a pretty average person. I don’t say that about myself in a bad way, in fact my “averageness” is one of my greatest strengths. It helps me relate to the people I’m trying to help. 

That’s why I can say with a high degree of confidence, I do understand, I do know. 

I also know my main enemy is within a me! 

I know the best way for me to block that enemy is to believe in myself. People who believe in themselves are pretty darn near impossible to stop. When YOU believe in yourself you are pretty much unstoppable.

Believing in yourself leaves no room for doubt. Without doubt to open the door fear has no way into your head. 

Any battle is halfway won when when your enemy within is kept away. Obstacles become opportunities when the enemy within you can’t mess with your head. 

So the next time doubt starts to creep into your thoughts you need to immediately ask yourself,  “is this an actual problem, or is this the enemy within a me just tearing down my confidence?”

If you’re average like me, and most of you are, (see, that’s how “average” works) you’ll know it’s the enemy within. You should also know you can defeat it by ignoring it. I know that if you believe in yourself you will be unstoppable. 

I know that about you cause I know that about me. I’ll never let the enemy within a me make me doubt my ability and neither you should you.

The Jail You Build

Everyone faces obstacles. Everyone has challenges to overcome. While everyone is created equal the environments they are born into are far from equal.

Some people ignore those inequalities and go on to accomplish great things. Some people use them as an excuse to not succeed. Some people who are born with “built in” advantages have to invent excuses to not succeed. The more excuses they invent the better they become at it. They also become very good at not succeeding.

From time to time everyone invents excuses for why they fail at something or why it’s not even worth making the effort to try. This is dangerous because the excuses you invent are addicting. If you make excuses long enough you’ll even start making excuses for making excuses.

These invented excuses are created from negative thoughts and self-talk. If you’re wondering if you talk to yourself you just did, when you asked yourself if you talk to yourself. It doesn’t make you crazy, it makes you human.

Your negative thoughts and self-talk become limiting beliefs. You tell yourself something is impossible and presto, it’s impossible. One thing you and I have in common is that we are the most credible person we know. If we say we can’t do something then we absolutely can’t do it.

You don’t have to say you “can’t” very many times before it becomes fact. You have built a jail around yourself and that jail is keeping you from success.

So here’s a life changing jailbreak for you. Humor me and do this even if you never tell yourself that you can’t do something.

Immediately start paying attention to your self-talk. Write down every limiting thing you say to yourself. You only need to do this for a day to be shocked by how often you say something to yourself, about yourself, that is very unflattering. It’s also most likely not true. But because you thought it you’ll believe it. That negative thought quickly becomes your reality.

Once you get a few limiting thoughts on paper pick one. If the thought includes the word can’t this will be easy….just get rid of the “t.” Change the can’t into can and put that thought back into your brain. The next time you think that thought replace the can’t with the can.

Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? It’s so corny I can hardly believe I’d write it. It’s sounds so simple that it’s stupid.

Except for one little thing…it works. It unlocks the jail door and opens it wide enough to drive a truck through.

We humans are funny creatures. We all claim to want success but most of us tell ourselves something every day that puts us in failure jail. No one can talk themselves into success. It will always require sustained effort to achieve lasting success. But everyone can talk themselves out of success just by telling themselves they can’t have it.

Change your thoughts from “I can’t” to “I can,” it doesn’t guarantee success but it makes it a whole lot more likely.

Do Your Best

“Do your best.” I’ve received that advice so many times and for so long that I can’t remember when I first heard it or who I heard it from.

It’s not bad advice as far as it goes, it just doesn’t go far enough. If I were to advise you to “do your best” I would also advise you to have someone in your life to tell you if you’ve really done your best.

That’s because most people, myself included, often tell themselves they have put forth their best effort when they haven’t. They make compromises, they make excuses, they even flat-out lie to themselves.

If anyone is going to consistently do their best then they need someone in their life to hold them accountable. They need someone in their life to warn them away from compromises, excuses and telling themselves they did their best when they really could have done more.

That person is most likely a mentor. It could be a close friend, a family member, a co-worker or maybe even someone you pay, like a certified coach perhaps. Whoever it is you must trust that this person has your best interests in mind. They must be confident enough to be truthful with you and you must be confident enough to listen to them.

Sometimes your best effort won’t be good enough to accomplish what you want. Do your best anyway and do it again next time and the time after that too.

You deserve your best effort and you must be honest with yourself to get it. It also helps if you have someone close by to verify your honesty. When you do your best you may not always win but you will always be a winner.

You may find this hard to believe but in my experience the ultimate outcome matters less over time. The sting of defeat lessens over time but the disappointment in yourself for giving less than your best effort can actually grow with time. Don’t do that to yourself, always do your best and if that’s not good enough for someone else then that’s their problem, not yours.

Are You Listening to Naysayers?

There is a story about a successful Hot Dog vendor in New York City. He had a couple of Hot Dog stands and was successful enough to send his son to college. He continued to grow his  business as his son was earning his business degree.

As his son progressed in school he urged his father to be cautious with his business expansion.  By the time his son had graduated the business had grown to 10 Hot Dog Stands spread around New York City. The business and profits were continuing to grow.

The father was shocked when his son told him that he had made a big mistake growing the business so fast. His son recommended that he downsize the business immediately. Considering his son’s newly minted business degree he decided to follow his advice. He quickly closed two of his stands and laid off several employees. Sure enough, as his son had predicted his revenue began to drop and the father was convinced his son knew what he was talking about.

So the father doubled his efforts and closed even more Hot Dog Stands. As his son had predicted the downward spiral continued.

Eventually the father was back to his original Hot Dog Stands and business stabilized. The father was so grateful to his son for “saving” his business that he couldn’t thank him enough. He commented that he didn’t know where he would be if his son hadn’t returned from college when he did.

You could say both father and son made many mistakes in this story but I’d say the biggest mistake was made by the father. His mistake was that he listened to a naysayer. A well meaning naysayer I’m sure but a naysayer all the same.

The father was literally almost talked out of business.

You will have naysayers show up in your life from time to time. Some will be well intentioned as the son was in this story but others will only be looking to bring you down. Down to their level most likely.

It’s natural to hear what they are saying but listening to their words is a choice. You must choose carefully. If you decide their words have merit then act on them. If you decide they do not then ignore them. Just because something was said, even if it was said by someone who may care about you, doesn’t make it so.

You must judge their motives for saying whatever they say. You must weigh what they think against what you know. You must believe in yourself even when those close to you may not. You must listen with your heart but be sure your head has some say in the matter as well.

There will always be naysayers around when it comes to your success and I wouldn’t waste a minute trying to tell them they are wrong. I’d suggest you invest all of your energy in showing them.