My tough love approach (heavy on the love) focuses on bringing order to chaos, and creating solid (and straightforward) strategic plans. I take surveys for fun, never met a process I didn’t like, and am a big believer in personal growth as a keystone to business growth.
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” ― Muhammad Ali
Confidence makes all things possible, but if you don’t have confidence, then it’s time to do the next best thing: get moving. While you're still building your confidence, you're going to have to start pursuing your goals even when you don't feel ready yet.
It comes in two steps:
Decide what you want
That might sound a bit overly simplistic to some of you, but we're going to do this together today. Let’s find an impossible thing that’s completely out of our reach, and then just go and get it. No, this isn’t a trick. We’re really going to do that.
I first learned about how easy it is to achieve impossible things years ago from a friend of mine who owned a tattoo parlor in a rough neighborhood. He ran a good business and people traveled to take advantage of his services, but he was tired of the crime in the area.
One day he decided to move. He gave me a list of his requirements for the new place:
It had to be downtown in a specific, much more upscale neighborhood.
It had to have a storefront.
It had to have an apartment area in the back where he could live.
He didn’t want to pay separate rents for living and commercial spaces.
It had to be very affordable.
It had to be available in exactly two months.
I told him he was crazy. At the time we both knew downtown well, and I reminded him that the area he wanted was in high demand. Rents would be out of his price range, if anything was even available, and that most of the landlords in the area would definitely charge more for a living space in the back.
He just said: “Well that’s what I want. And you know what? I’m going to have someone find it for me. Here,” and he grabbed a phonebook, opening it to the real estate section. After a moment he tapped on an ad, “She’ll find it for me. Hang on, I’ll give her a call.”
I shook my head as he dialed her number, wondering how my friend had so profoundly lost his marbles. The real estate agent on the other end listened to his list of requirements and let him know that not only did it sound improbable, but that this was actually something that was outside of her area of specialty.
His reply: “Well, that’s what I want so I’ll call you tomorrow to hear what you’ve found for me,” and he hung up.
I shrugged that moment off as just my friend being his usual funny self, and figured that would be the end of it. Little did I know that I had just witnessed the key to how impossible things get done.
The next day he called her back. She repeated that this was outside her area of specialty. He went over his list of requirements with her again, and let her know he’d call her the next day, and hung up. On the third day he called her again and asked if she had found a place for him yet.
She’d found two. He picked the one he thought looked nicest and was moved in on the date he’d specified.
Many use the term the “Law of Attraction” for what just happened, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve found myself seeing it the way Muhammad Ali put it: impossible is nothing. There are only possibilities. If you can imagine it happening, it can happen. It’s just a matter of deciding what you want, and deciding to get it.
Now, right away your common sense is leaping to your defense in order to save you from wasting time and energy. That’s self-doubt and a lack of confidence rearing its head, often masquerading as “common sense”.
Here’s what you need to tell your common sense: impossible is nothing. It’s actually quite easy to overcome. There’s a simple, straight-forward way to get everything you want, even if you don’t see it just yet. But you will.
So for now, forget about being rational. Instead: decide what you want. Be specific about exactly what it is you want, where you want it, how much you want it to cost you, and exactly when you want it to happen.
Now just go and get it.
Notice you’re not “building confidence” here. There's no process of warming up to an idea or figuring out how likely success might be. You’re skipping the whole struggle between confidence and doubt, picking a direction, and moving towards a goal.
Deal with the emotional part of that journey later; maybe after you’ve arrived where you’re going.
So you’ve picked an impossible goal. Next, find the smallest possible step to take towards it. Once you’ve taken that small step, take another. Keep moving.
Remember: you can drive from one side of the country to the other at night despite only seeing the tiny patch of pavement your headlights show you. You don’t need to see the whole path. You just need to see where the next small step is, and then take that step.
So get a pen and paper right now. We’re going to do this. Put your common sense on hold, tune into that part of yourself that touches your deepest desires, and write down the answers to these questions:
What do you want exactly?
Where specifically do you want it?
What do you want to pay for it, both in money and effort?
When exactly do you want it?
Got it? Did you stick to what you want, rather than “being reasonable”? Did all of your answers make you 100% happy? Good.
Now get it.
We hope you enjoyed our first entry in the Unstoppable Confidence series, where we give you the tools you need to build your confidence! In the future we'll be tackling self-limiting beliefs, how to see yourself in a realistic way, and how to keep growing every day. See you soon!
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