Friday 17 November 2017

The secret to success is believing in yourself

Female swimmer with medal
Female swimmer with medal

Veronica Canning

Self belief is at the base of your success in life. It is one of your most important assets, easy to lose and very hard to build up.

The power of self belief

I have come to believe that self belief is a powerful force in a woman’s life and career. Over many years of working with women, I have seen some with incredible self belief and a single idea become millionaires and I really feel that the distinguishing factor was their unshakeable self belief.

No matter how many times they were rejected their self belief was so strong that they kept on going.

I have also seen very talented women with lots of great ideas squander their talents flitting from one idea to the next because they had no self belief.

They did not really believe in their own talents and when they were disappointed they moved to another idea thinking that would help. Unfortunately, the one common denominator was their self doubt.

One of my earliest memories of my Dad was his constant refrain to be ‘confident as other people take you at your own estimation.’ When I was in school I was on the school debating team and used to get very nervous before each debate. My dad was my biggest fan (my only one!) as well as my coach. Before each event my Dad would say to me, “They are looking at you and taking their cue from you. They will think well of you if you think well of yourself.”

Years later, I was reminded of this very powerfully at the National Speakers Association annual convention in Orlando, Florida, when one of the top speakers told us that if you are on the stage and you look as though you are enjoying yourself the audience will believe you and start to enjoy themselves.

In fact, he was saying they will take you at your estimation of yourself. It was the same thought after a gap of 35 years.

I love Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, which concisely reflects my Dad’s: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

My dad never read a self-help book in his life. He was born in 1910 and died in 1997. He was a very wise man and he gave me that gold nugget of wisdom for life.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to accept that point intellectually but a life’s work to make it integral to your life. I now realise that probably one of the most important things that a parent can do for a child is to give them confidence and help them think a lot of themselves.

Nurture self belief in your children

We have a responsibility to build self belief in our children. I see mothers all around me donating their life’s blood to their children and yet still missing this vital ingredient. They drive them all over the city to classes, tutorials, football matches, all day and all weekend. Their children have to learn music, dancing, sports and drama. These things must be accomplished!

However, the core element of self belief can be missed. The core feeling they have about themselves can be trampled in the rush to gain accomplishments. No time is given to sitting with the child, going at the child’s pace, building up their confidence.

I know one woman who spends more of her afternoons and evenings on the road in her car, ferrying them around, than she does at home with them. What message does that send to her children? If only they achieve all these skills they will be good enough – not a good message.

Don’t confuse self belief with self confidence

Remember the crucial difference between self belief and self confidence. One is on the inside and is at your core, it is your inner self belief. This is a vital part of you and shines out from the centre. It means you control your world from your inner being. This is a precious commodity. Guard it!

Self confidence is another thing. You can project self confidence but still have little or no inner self esteem. Self confidence can be conjured up and projected like a halogen beam. The perfect combination is to have the two, but don’t forget that it is self belief which is core.


Have a look at these self belief builders, act on them this month and see the difference.

  1. Find what you are excellent at, stick to it and build a fantastic reputation
  2. Do something frightening every day because everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear
  3. Only spend time with positive people
  4. Commit to life-long learning, it’s the only way to keep up-to-date
  5. Do a massive declutter on your life, let go of unnecessary things and new things will come
  6. If you are afraid of speaking in public, get help with that immediately
  7. Concentrate on building relationships with all the major players in your business life
  8. Rewire your thinking and decide to not have one single negative thought

Veronica Canning is an international speaker and the author of Shoeisms: The working woman’s guide to being the sassy successful woman you know you can be'

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