Whether you think you can or think you can’t...you’re correct ~ Henry Ford
Last week I found myself driving on a long road-trip from San Diego to Wyoming to visit family and do some skiing for the holidays. Sixteen hours of driving, each way, gave me plenty of time to be alone with my thoughts.
Sometime between Provo and Mesquite, in the early dawn of New Year’s Day, I was listening to the radio when the host began talking about the current state of the economy and how low consumer confidence was causing the recession to deepen.
I took a moment to ponder the word "confidence" and reflect on its meaning.
The word comes from the Latin root confide and is a compound word. In Latin, con means "with" and fide means "faith" or "trust". When someone is sincere in a business deal we speak of a "bona fide" offer. When we speak of being faithful to wedding vows, we say that person exhibits "fidelity".
Confidence therefore is all about having faith and trust, whether that faith is in the economy, in other people, or in oneself. It is the belief that one will stand by his/her word.
Having a confidence in oneself is not conceit (a love of oneself) but rather the ability to overcome fear and persevere even when the odds of success are long. Every human being suffers from fear at one time or another but it is our confidence in ourselves that allow us to conquer our fears and be successful despite of our fears.
By continually fighting past our own fears, we can inspire others to confront their own fears and become a stronger person. Leaders are successful not necessarily because they have all the right answers or are absent of fear but rather because they inspire others to become better people and live higher quality lives.
Not too long ago I was having a discussion with an employee at OptiFuse. We were facing a difficult situation and he asked me what the right answer was in order to solve the problem. I explained to him that I didn’t have any crystal ball to consult with in order to come up with the "right answer" to our particular problem but that I was confident that he would arrive at a potential solution. My confidence in his decision making capabilities gave him his own confidence to try to solve the problem.
We are all born with certain talents. From these talents, we are taught and develop a variety of applied skills. Throughout our lives different situations arise that cause us to use our talents and skills to solve problems. Whether we succeed or fail at solving these problems, we gain practical experience. Finally, when we combine our talents, skills and experience we have valuable knowledge and know-how.
Knowledge itself is not enough to become successful. Confidence, goals, and perseverance are the catalysts that help us to use our knowledge to become truly successful.
Confidence comes from fully recognizing and understanding our God-given talents. We need to be introspective and catalog our personal assets and potential liabilities. We should work to develop and hone our talents and minimize our shortcomings.
Confidence also is derived from successful accomplishments. When we first start out in a new venture we are bound to fail. We slowly begin to succeed which leads us to competence. As our skills and experience grows, we begin to master that which we once failed.
Rarely does one start a new venture without experiencing some level of failure.
I learned to ski many years ago and have grown to be proficient in the sport (I am far below the level of mastery but can still tackle double black diamond runs on occasion).
While on vacation last week, I decided that I wanted to forgo skiing in order to learn to snow board. I thought that this would be a relatively easy task due to my skiing and skateboarding (as a teenager) experiences.
My brother-in-law, Jeff, who is an excellent snowboarder, gave me a few quick lessons on how to turn and stop. He is a good teacher not because he has snowboarding skills, but rather because he demonstrates the patience needed to transfer his knowledge and skills to his willing student. He also instills confidence in his students as he encourages and coaches them to success.
As I rode up the chair lift to the top of the beginner slope I felt a sense of nervousness in the anticipation of trying something new and a certain fear that I might actually seriously hurt myself. At the same time, I felt a certain confidence knowing that I have begun and succeeded with new ventures in the past and was looking forward to learning a new skill.
Getting down the mountain on that first run proved to be most difficult. I must have fallen at least 15 times (sometimes in a most spectacular fashion...one time actually doing a cart wheel as I fell forward). When I arrived at the bottom of the hill sometime later, I was out of breath and beaten up.
Jeff saw me and asked if I wanted to trade my snowboard in for some skis. I told him no and went to queue up at the lift.
As I made my second, third and subsequent attempts, I began to find my balance. My ability to turn, stop and change direction improved. I fell less times. My skills improved each time I went down the mountain and by the end of the day, I found that I was actually becoming somewhat proficient.
Although my body ached by the end of the day (due to the many crashes I had experienced throughout the day and the muscles I seldom used), I was elated that I had experienced something new that day (as well as finding a new appreciation for those people who have actually mastered and excelled at the sport).
A rich life comes from learning new things and acquiring the knowledge to create success and become a better person.
Faith in yourself is the first step to achievement. Faith in yourself will help you to begin new ventures and to try new experiences. Faith in yourself helps you keep going when you’ve failed or fallen down. Faith is believing that you’ll succeed no matter what comes your way. Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse where we truly believe that we will succeed by helping our customers to succeed.
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