The Power of Confidence - Part 1

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Confidence isn't about knowing for sure that something is going to work. It's about knowing that you can make it work... and make it work better.

Whether you're an athlete, a CEO or a surgeon, confidence comes from hundreds, thousands, even millions of hours of preparation, training and focus. Confidence comes from knowing that you're ready. That you can handle the task at hand, even if your best laid plans go down the tubes and you find yourself having to improvise right off the bat.

It isn't about thinking you can do it, it's about knowing you can do it.

Confidence comes from being so comfortable with your craft, with your skills and talents and abilities, that you can handle any challenge that gets thrown your way.

You want to get a crash course in confidence? Go have a beer with some Marine snipers. Olympic athetes. First chair violinists. Neurosurgeons. Astronauts. Marathoners. Ironman triathletes. Cancer survivors.

Do you know what all of these people have in common? They've pushed their limits. They've laid it all on the line. Their health, their pride, their careers, their lives... whatever mattered to them the most, they laid it all on the line and they went well beyond the limits of their comfort zone.

They concquered their fears.

They did something risky and extraordinary. They pushed their limits. They hit rock bottom but kept going. They came out the back side of the pipe stronger. Wiser. Mentally tougher.

They came back knowing that they could accomplish a lot more than they realized. They came back knowing that... hey, if they could beat cancer or complete an ultramarathon, or get through medical school, they could probably accomplish just about anything they set their minds to.

People like them drive progress. They drive everything forward.

You can't toe the starting line of a race without a hefty measure of confidence. You can't perform surgery, try capital cases, lead a platoon into war or lead a company without a gutful of it.

Confident leaders drive companies like Starbucks, Pixar and Apple to leave tired old strategies behind and rewrite the rules.

Confidence is what compels us to go further. To aim higher. To put ourselves and our ideas to the test again and again and again. It's what drives us to do the very things that scare us. It's what pushes us to find ways to become better today than we were yesterday.

It is the very thing that makes us not only look to the stars but also reach for them.

If this all sounds cheesy to you, think again.

Confidence is the fuel of industry. Without it, we'd still be living in caves.

So... my question is this: Take a quick inventory of what your company or department has accomplished in the last six months. In the last year. In the last however long you've been working there. What do you guys stand for? What are you doing to be extraordinary or groundbreaking?

Okay, let me ask the question in a different way: If your job were an Olympic event, how would you fare against your peers at Nike or BMW or Apple?

Bonus: How excited/disappointed were you by your own answers?

Food for thought.

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