One of the biggest breakthroughs I have personally had in recent years is realizing how important confidence is. I have come to believe that confidence is the key to just about everything, both personally and professionally.
In sales, the confidence professional makes the calls, sets the meetings, and gets the business. In life, the confident person is cultivating relationships, making friends, helping others, being a great parent, etc.
So if confidence truly is this important, how can we increase our own confidence? The simplest way I have learned is this:
Celebrate progress…not perfection.
This means creating a habit of constantly acknowledging the small accomplishments (progress) you make along the path to your ultimate goal. While most people are trained to not celebrate until (and if) they accomplish the goal, I have learned how important it is to celebrate your progress along the way.
Unfortunately, too many people don’t take the time to acknowledge the small bits of progress they make along the way. Take for example a good friend of mine who is looking to lose weight. They have a goal of losing 25 pounds by the end of the year. So should they not celebrate their progress along the way and just wait until they hit the final goal? No! Maintaining the momentum is critical and it takes confidence to do so. This means they must celebrate along the way, as they knock off the first five pounds, or accomplish two weeks with no desserts. These are small victories on the path to the ultimate goal! If, on the other hand, they constantly base their progress on that one ideal result (25 pounds) then they will become increasingly frustrated and might lose momentum if it seems too far away.
Here is the new, better way to do this. Set the goal (lose 25 pounds by 12/31/15; have $10,000 in savings; etc.). Then, only measure yourself by “turning around” and measuring your progress based on where you were last week or last month. This alone will transform how you feel and increase your confidence dramatically!
Here are some other common examples I see all too often. Think about how you approach these or similar scenarios in your life.
- Your child takes third place in a competition. Her heart (and yours most likely) were set on getting first. But last year, she and the team didn’t even place at all. What do you focus on? The fact she didn’t get first? Or the amount of progress made since last year?
- You set a goal to have all of your consumer debt paid off this year, about $10,000. At the end of the year, you’ve paid off all but $2,200. You fell short due to an appliance needing to be replaced. What do you focus on? The fact you didn’t get to $0 as planned or the fact you have less debt now than since you can remember?
- You and your spouse make a commitment to have two date nights per month. That’s 24 over the course of the year, or 12 half way through the year. So far you count only six actual date nights out without the kids due to unforeseen events. What do you focus on? The previous year you had no date nights out for just the two of you, but you’re far behind on the goal you set for this year?
A small shift in what you focus on can change your life and take your confidence (and happiness) to new levels you never knew possible.
Action Plan: At the end of each day, write down three accomplishments for the day. Three “wins” where you’ve made progress or you are proud of. Gradually you will train your brain to focus on the progress and let go of the ideal or the “perfect” result you envisioned.
Note: This is not easy. And I hope it doesn’t come across that way. But the reward is worth it.