I recently had a conversation with a group of business people and the topic of discussion was why some people excel to a greater degree than others. Is it talent or know-how or training or a gift? Those are all helpful assets to have when trying to excel, but the reason why some people succeed to a greater degree than others comes from something more basic than that.
Before I get into that, though, I want to first remind you to keep in mind that one should never compare his or her insides to others’ outsides. Comparison is the thief of all joy. What we feel on the inside, whether it’s insecurity, sadness, exuberance, or greatness, should never be compared to what we see of another person on the outside. We never know to the full extent what is going on in another’s life. Some people may look like they have it all going on yet they may be going through some sort of inner turmoil. You, on the other hand, may not have all the material possessions you desire, but on the inside, your faith is solid and you have a healthy self-esteem. So, there is no sense in making that comparison.
That said, it is not unusual to question the reason why some people excel beyond everyone else. What is the difference between one person who succeeds at a high level and another person who doesn’t? I think I discovered the reason, but it was a long time coming.
I read my first personal growth and development book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, in 1990. After I read that book, I felt as though I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I felt a calling to write and speak to help others become the best version of themselves. To this day, I am highly motivated by this goal.
Over the last 26 years, I have read over 600 books on personal growth and development. I have done extremely well in my business, and I do some speaking appearances, however, I know I have not reached my highest potential yet, and I have yet to create a platform to fulfill my calling.
Why haven’t I peaked despite knowing so clearly what I want? It’s all about confidence.
If you know me, you know I am a confident person, but I still do experience doubt, and like most people, I experience moments of fear, mainly fear of failing.
When we act in fear, challenges that come our way become walls, and as you know, it’s very difficult to pass through walls. When we hit a wall, some of us freeze in our tracks and never attempt a way around a challenge.
But when we act with confidence, we figure out how to proceed forward.
So how does one develop the confidence needed to break free of fear or other barriers that prevent us from getting to where we want to be? For me, it means practicing being a better leader. I work a lot on speaking and writing, and this has helped me feel a greater level of confidence. And with confidence on my side, I am able to build momentum toward achieving my goals. With momentum, I feel traction, which builds confidence, which keeps me moving toward my goal. At some point, it all becomes self-fulfilling, and the momentum and the confidence generate a new level of energy and excitement.
It’s a simple cycle but it starts with having the confidence to move in the direction you wish to go. It only takes an attempt at something to gain an edge. If you have a goal and never stretch yourself to achieve it, you never will. Yes, one has to be able to back up what he or she wishes to project, but without confidence, one can have all the skills in the world and still be stuck in a holding pattern, unable to move in the desired direction.
If you have the slightest bit of confidence to attempt to achieve a goal, you may fail, but you will learn and gain experience and knowledge. With experience and knowledge comes the power (or should I say confidence?) to move forward. And excellence sprouts from there.
There are those who go a lifetime without coming anywhere close to fulfilling their potential because they were too afraid to try. That first step may be a small task or it could be operating a multi-million dollar company, or it could be demonstrating leadership among a team or within a family. You will never gain any momentum unless you try, but you have to have confidence to give it a whirl. And knowing that when you try, and if you fail, you will be okay, you walk away a better person than you were before.