We are often taught that we just need to find the right strategy, job, or goal if we are to be successful. While the idea comes from the right intention, it is also from the wrong decade. In today’s constantly changing world, where entire economies are created and destroyed overnight, having the ability to adapt, learn, and create are the new strategic advantage. And none of these are available if we don’t believe in ourselves.
I can find a 100 different strategies for anything I am doing, just google “how-to…” Finding the right one for me and my situation, however, is a little more difficult. There are a lot of jobs that I would be qualified to accept, but not so many that would actually engage and inspire. And there are hundreds of goals I would love to accomplish, but few that I will actually attempt.
For each of these strategies, jobs and goals, there are an equal, if not greater, number of chances to fail. In fact, identifying the strategy that is right for me can often require going down the wrong path first. Finding a job that I love and bring value to on a daily basis can require sitting through one that I absolutely hate to figure it out. And, for every goal I have achieved, there are multiple that I had to give up on because I did not want them deep down.
The question is no longer about simply finding what I love to do. With the prospect of failure and rapid change being as high as it ever has been in history, the real challenge is finding something I will continue to do even in those moments when I don’t love it anymore.
To do this, I must know myself. The degree to which I understand who I am, what I like, where I am most engaged, and what I bring to the table will equal the potential I have for identifying those goals, strategies and jobs that are best for the skills and abilities I bring to the table.
And knowing myself is only half the story. I have to have the resilience to deal with rejections, setbacks, challenges and potentially complete failure. And that requires more than just understanding my Myers Brigs. I have to have strategies for getting back up, for maintaining my motivation and drive, for recharging my batteries, for creating support and for being comfortable with my shortcomings.
I have to believe in myself.
Believing in ourselves doesn’t just happen. It’s not a switch you turn on in the morning to become magically invincible. It is a muscle you develop over time. It is about both knowing who I am and how I can create value with those unique gifts.
In a world where nothing is guaranteed anymore, where things change faster than ever, where I am in less and less control over the world around me, the only thing I can truly count on is my belief in myself. It is the only skill that will continue to be useful regardless of what is going on around me and one I can develop wherever I find myself. Things are changing, and it’s time to build the belief that I can change along with them.