Monday, May 22, 2006

Believe in Yourself

Every time I coach, every time I teach, every time I write, I am reminded how important it is—and sometimes how hard—for us to believe in ourselves.

It matters to everyone, but perhaps profoundly so to writers because we often spend months or sometimes years working on projects, not knowing if anyone will like them or not. Even if we sell our manuscripts to an editor, there’s no guarantee that readers will buy our books. It’s hard sometimes to hold onto faith in ourselves—especially if we were not raised to believe in ourselves. That’s why I talk about it so much in my workshops.

Exercise: Make a list of every success you have ever had in your life—big or small, writing or non-writing. Keep that list handy and add to it with every new success. And when you hit days where you wonder if you can cope with some challenge life—or the writing—has handed you, pull out that list and remind yourself that you do have the skills to do so.

I do believe that within each of us is the ability to face whatever challenge life faces us. I also believe that when we can hold onto that faith in ourselves, we are more likely to succeed simply because the brain functions better, more efficiently when we are calmer and not afraid. Believing in yourself is a powerful thing.

By the same token, believing in someone else and helping that person to believe in him or herself is a powerful and wonderful gift you can give. Think about it. Odds are the people you remember most vividly (in a positive way), the people you would do anything for, are people who believed in you when you needed it most.

Create that list of your successes for yourself. When you are faced with self-doubt, pull out that list and use it to help remind you why you can and should believe in yourself. Let others know, too, when you believe in them. You never know when it could change someone’s life because at the right moment you said what they needed to hear.

Wishing you all a wonderful week,