Sunday, December 2, 2007

JWN: What's Your Self Image?

Life and Times of JWN
JWN Self Image
What's Your Self Image?

One of the running jokes in my house revolves around my self-belief. Some of my housemates go as far as calling me an "egomaniac." Often I can be found responding in jest, "Well, I've never had a problem with confidence." The constant and hilarious berating by my peers has me thinking at length about the concept of self-belief. Is how we feel about ourselves that important to our success and fulfillment?


Before we get much further, let's look at a few great quotes about the power of self-belief.

"Mediocrity stems from lack of belief more than lack of skill." - from the Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching! By Jeffrey Gitomer

"Believe!" - Geneseo Cross Country and Track and Field credo

The next is one that I consult and act on regularly because it is the cornerstone of one of my life goals, to be a highly sought after motivational speaker:

"Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must first believe." - Winston Churchill

Back to the house jokes. The truth is I haven't always carried myself well. We all have our own core values that we develop over time. What's unique about this value system is that it is created by the simple disciplines we carry out everyday. That's a powerful thing to think about. What you're doing right now directly affects your success and fulfillment.

KEY QUESTION: How are you investing your time?

My confidence has developed through exposing myself to great thoughts about attitude, leadership, and personal development. I have done this for eight years (yes, eight) and it has been the most fulfilling "best practice" I have consistently applied to date.

At 14, I was a freshman in high school. Confidence at this age doesn't come easily. It was at that point when I started to throw myself into leadership roles, conferences, and literature. Thanks to some great mentors and a passion for personal development that practice hasn't stopped. In fact, as I've grown older it's become a much more voracious pursuit.

KEY FACT: Exposing yourself to great literature and speakers is one thing, doing what they suggest is another. It only works if you do them both. Everyday.

What can you do to develop your positive self-image?

1) Read. Put the words of thought leaders of personal development in front of you. Check out the VIP book list for some great books on leadership, business, and personal development. Some great thinkers that have been influential to me include Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Jeffrey Gitomer, John C. Maxwell, and Hal Urban.

2) Attend conferences. Find two conferences. One that applies directly to your current career pursuits. The other should be one that is about you; how you can lead more effectively, how you can achieve more, how you can be happy with what you have and how you can get what you want.

3) Reflect. Take time to think about yourself and your core values everyday. It can be as little as fifteen minutes, but think about why you do what you do. I've always thought about it, but over the last year I started writing about it.

4) Write. It forces you to process your thoughts by putting them into words. Our words affect our minds and our minds create our reality on the world. Keep a personal development diary. I write the Life and Times of JWN. Learn from it and try out what it says.

5) Make it happen for yourself. Just do it! Take some "you" time everyday. Don't think about anybody else, just yourself and your beliefs. It's not selfish, it's healthy.

One of the most debilitating things we can do is get comfortable in a routine and stop questioning our actions. Ironically, I have developed a positive self-image by getting in the habit of throwing myself out of my comfort zone. I am comfortable with who I am, because I take an active approach in developing who I am.

"People buy into what they help create," is a leadership mantra I use in the organizations I lead. You will believe in yourself if you take steps to create a better self. That belief is the foundation for finding fulfillment in all of your life's pursuits.

How did you better yourself today?

Warmly yours, ~JWN