15 minute read.
What are the toughest questions you ask yourself? What are the most burning questions you can think of to get at the core of your soul and figure out your true purpose and meaning in life? Have you ever asked yourself, “What am I really meant to do?”
If you don’t believe in yourself and have never believed in yourself, how do you START believing in yourself?
Well, that is not an easy question to answer, and it’s different for everyone. But you can start by asking yourself one question: “What is one thing I’d like to change about myself today that will make me more successful?”
Then ask yourself: “What can I actually do to make that change happen today?” Really think about this, and then do it.
If you don’t believe in yourself and take action to start believing in yourself, no tactics, techniques, methods, frameworks, or strategies will ever work.
For me, it wasn’t until I stopped trying to do things all by myself, and started looking for mentors and coaches to help me. That’s when things really started to change for me.
How do you think it feels when you finally meet someone who you feel can really help you. Someone who cares about your progress and wants to see you succeed? It feels absolutely amazing!
That’s what I want to be for you. I want you to know someone is looking out for you, and wants you to succeed. So let’s get hopping and learn something today.
Here are the Top 4 Things that Helped Me Start Believing in Myself
1. Take extremely small steps and look to the long term future.
I have friends who always complain because they want their house or apartment to look like it was cleaned by a maid every day. Well, join the club, pal! And if you have kids and/or pets, it’s even worse because then you have to constantly pick up after them as well.
When I was growing up, my parents’ house looked like a disaster area most of the time. I’m sure they hated it, and were frustrated as hell. But they didn’t have very good habits or people helping them out. They chose to have a large family and do everything on their own. It took them forever do basic things like save up money or get things organized.
We all want to look good. We want to buy the nicest outfits, lift more weights, make more money, and have a meaningful relationship with a person we are always attracted to. But we know that having it all is unrealistic.
However, we can make traction over time and enjoy the fruits of our labor if we develop systems to make things happen. Consistent processes that work over time (with a little luck) can do wonders.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am extremely impatient, and I beat myself up inside all the time, because I am “not where I want to be at this age or stage in my life.” Have you ever played that script in your head?
Even though I try to be patient, it gets frustrating, and I always want results NOW! The abs, biceps, cash, vacation, freedom, zero stress, time to do things I want to do, and bragging rights.
People in my life inspire me all the time. My family inspires me every day with their intelligence, work ethic, athletic ability, sense of humor, and deep kindness toward people. I could write volumes about how much I love them, and about all the important lessons they have taught me over the years.
But I see people struggle all the time because they are not consistent with good habits.
For example, I work with a woman who lives paycheck to paycheck and never seems to have enough money for what she needs or wants to do. And when an unexpected expense pops up, like a car repair or a birthday party for her child, she is scrambling to make ends meet, so she doesn’t fall behind with other expected scheduled payments.
She complains about this stuff all the time, because it makes her feel better to vent for the time being. But she does nothing to change her life for the long term. Even if I spelled out an actionable plan for her to do things step by step to change her financial situation, I can pretty much guarantee she will not follow through. That is frustrating and sad to watch.
What would you tell her if you really wanted to help her live a better, less stressful life?
Maybe she could start with a single small step, such as putting away $50 each paycheck for a car repair fund, or paying $50 extra each month on her student loan, rather than buying a new outfit or spending money on 5 restaurants for that month. That could work and without that much effort. It sure as hell beats whining and stressing out over an extra unexpected expense.
There are many other ways you could take a small step to change your life.
2. Do your homework so well that there is no way you can fail.
Most people have no freaking clue how to perform at a consistently high level. If they were never exposed to this way of thinking or never had those experiences while growing up, they just don’t know what to do. Operating in this manner without experience is foreign and scary. We don’t know if the time and effort will be worth it and pay off.
They usually end up spending most of their time surfing the Internet on the Google machine reading about what world class performers do and how they live. Sure, it’s fascinating and interesting, and we can dream, right? But when it comes right down to brass tacks, most people have no idea how much preparation goes into being a world class performer, whether it’s in business, sports, music, acting, or whatever.
But you don’t have to compare yourself to world class performers. There are plenty of little things you can do to improve the way you eat healthy, stay fit, interact with people, sustain an intimate relationship, run a household, or raise a family.
Remember my friend who always complains about getting rear-ended with money struggles? She also struggles with weight problems, and would love to drop about 50 pounds of fat. She knows I am an athlete and I take my health, nutrition, and fitness very seriously. So, she asked me for help, and she started modeling things I did to get into better shape.
She went on a Weight Watchers program for many months, and was going to the gym regularly for a while, and felt really good about herself, physically and mentally. But eventually, life stress took over and she fell behind on fitness, and gained all kinds of weight back.
This is a sad reality of life for millions of people. Yo-yo, up and down, never getting it right, and never getting it to stick.
It’s hard not to smack yourself in the forehead and let out a big exasperated SIGH when you see shit like that over and over again.
Little does she know that calorie control with the right nutrition, balanced with consistent cardio and strength training at the right times per week, will melt those pounds off in no time at all, and it will stay off as long as she is consistent!
If she did some homework and developed a system to make sure she fit it into her busy schedule with work, family, and life obligations, she could make it stick. Then, if she takes a slight detour from time to time, she could get back on track so much easier.
It’s a plan. A methodical system. But methods take time.
Here are some examples of how I do my homework and prepare for my success:
1) I pack my lunches with leftovers from the meal I prepared the night before. I prepare meals with the highest nutrition values while trying to stay on a food budget. This includes things like black beans, dark leafy greens, squash, fruit, etc. This allows me to avoid going out to lunch everyday and wasting my time and money. My lunch time is much better spent in the gym, and my money is much better spent on cooking meals the night before.
2) I devote an hour each night to read up on new material that helps me understand and take steps to building my life and career goals. This can be articles related to business, finance, goal setting, productivity, writing, speaking, relationships, family, etc.
3) I joined a speaking club to help me focus on becoming a better speaker and better leader (and better listener). I volunteer my time to develop and maintain the club website, in addition to serving as a club officer.
Keep in mind, I never said any of this would be easy. It takes hard work and lots of mistakes to develop good habits that save you tons of time and money, but THEY PAY OFF!
But then you might say “You don’t know what the fuck you are talking about NJ! You say take small steps, but then you say do lots of prep work. That doesn’t make any sense. Which one am I supposed to do?”
Here is my answer: It is a balance. You can’t succeed if you only have one without the other.
Now pay attention, because this next part is important. It pretty much sums up the whole premise of this website.
Think of how a frog gets around. You don’t see a frog taking huge leaps all the time, do you? You also don’t see a frog just sitting around in one spot forever doing nothing either, right? What they do is sit, then take a few little leaps, then a big leap.
So in essence, Leapfrogging is:
2) Little jump, little jump, little jump
3) BIG JUMP!
Again, prepare, little jump, little jump, little jump, BIG JUMP. Wash, rinse, repeat.
This is what LeapfroggingSuccess is all about!
3. Forget Dismal Dannys, Debbie Downers, and Sobbing Sallys.
Some people just LOVE to cut others down and their ideas, don’t they? You know the type. They have something nasty to say on every occasion, and they just can’t be nice. They have to rain on your parade, tear down your ideas, and generally be a royal fucking pain in the ass.
When I was starting out in college, I didn’t have a lot of support. My parents and siblings didn’t know how to support me because none of them went to college. Actually, a couple of them tried college or tech school but ended up dropping out for a variety of reasons. I was the only one out of 8 children who graduated and got a 4 year college degree. It was definitely worth it for me.
Another example. When I started out in my photography business, I didn’t have any support from the people that mattered most in my life. My family was not on board mainly because they didn’t understand the time and effort it takes to build up a business to become successful. But I was determined to make it a success no matter what it took.
I had to build a website that went through countless revisions to make it look acceptable and have great functionality. It was never perfect and will never be perfect, but it’s a lot better than when I first started.
The first few years were extremely tough, mentally and physically. I was very defensive and justified my actions. I fought, argued, challenged, and ignored the naysayers. It was pointless. I never should have given such a huge amount of wasted negative energy to that. But I knew I could make it if I just hung in there and weathered the storm.
They just didn’t understand and they were afraid that I would spend all my time and money focusing on something that wouldn’t pay off, rather than work on things that were familiar, stable and safe. There may be a general lack of trust even though you may tell your family that everything will be okay. They need to see proof in order to feel safe. But how can you show them proof if you never just dive in and try? Fear makes people behave in very crazy ways.
You are always going to deal with critics. But eventually, you just have to say “Ya, I might fail. But I have to give it shot anyway.” Would you always want to live with the thought of “What if I never tried?” All top performers have this conflict going on in their heads. If they chose to give up, they would have never known what their true potential was.
4. Be careful of who you associate with and get advice from.
Who do you hang around in your life? Well, if you are married, you probably spend most of your time with your husband or wife? If you are not married, you may have a life partner. If you have kids, you probably spend a fair amount of time with them as well. Sometimes, your dog or cat is all you need (Dogs are awesome listeners and fiercely loyal. Cats? eh…).
If you are in a certain profession, trade, or career (or just a job), you hang around people who work at your company, and you may have some co-workers who are also personal friends. This is not always the case.
But what about your friends and peers. Do they have the same or similar professional goals or hobbies, or things they like to do? Do they make you feel comfortable or good when you are around them? Gee, I hope so. Otherwise, what’s the point of having them as friends? Do they make you laugh, or listen to your problems? Do they help you try to solve your problems?
Here is an interesting question. Are your friends top performers or do they just skate by at their jobs?
Well, you may be asking, “What kind of question is that? Who the fuck cares?”
My point is, ambition levels vary greatly in people, and you notice them in how they behave. What motivates one person may be vastly different to what motivates another person. If you spend most of your time around people that just make you feel “comfortable”, then where are you supposed to get your motivation to excel with your passions and goals?
I have a buddy who is a runner and he is about the same age as me. But his reasons for running are different than my reasons for running. He likes to compete, but he mostly runs for enjoyment, social camaraderie and fellowship.
Most of his running events are in far away places, and it’s exciting and adventurous to him. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. I love his happy-go-lucky attitude and zest for life. He makes me bust a gut laughing almost every time we get together to chat and have coffee, and talk about life.
But my running goals are different than his. He runs a lot of marathons and ultra marathons. I have run a few marathons, but I love 5Ks and shorter distances much more. Sure, I love to run for enjoyment, reflection, fresh air, and mental health, but I also love to run fast and win races!
If I want to improve at competitive running, I need to associate with fast runners (preferably faster than me) who have specific tactics, strategies, and methods for running faster and winning races.
I am NOT saying “Make friends with fast people just because they can do something for me.” It has to be a give and take. I need to be able to help and support them as well, in any way I can.
People in your field and interest level know things that you don’t know. In return, they might not know things that you know. Once you understand that you need to be continually challenged with new information, you are never going to move beyond your current comfort levels and truly grow.
Your comfortable moments will eventually become painful moments of being stuck. Yes, it is painful to step outside of your comfort zone and learn new things, but it is vastly more painful to never try anything new and stay stuck in old patterns that don’t work.
Those are just some tips that you may find useful. If they help you, use them. I know they helped me tremendously, because I’ve personally lived through them. If you can relate to them in any way, then you may find value in what you’ve just read, and I hope you apply them to your life.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the course of my life is to learn to grow past being comfortable and be okay with not knowing if people will accept you for it. Push past your comfort zone and put yourself out there.
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