11 Strategies to Develop an Unshakeable Belief in Yourself
Success requires that you believe in yourself 110 percent, 25 hours of every day. For some, this belief comes naturally. For others, it must be learned and can take years of practice. Here’s how these billionaires, icons and world-class performers accelerated the process of developing an unshakeable self-belief.
Related: 4 Tactics for Believing in Yourself
1. Win in your mind first.
You might be naturally confident, but enormous obstacles can shake faith in your plan and personal competence.
To inoculate against the negative impact of inevitable obstacles, shore up your commitment with a crystal-clear vision of what victory looks like. It might be getting the Navy SEAL Trident, losing 60 pounds, launching a new product or raising funding—anything significant to you. Revisit your vision through daily visualization and box breathing (inhale, hold, exhale and hold for four seconds each).
This process of “winning in the mind” develops great courage to overcome any challenge. You’ll confidently find victory in daily small wins with grace and humor until the mission is accomplished.
2. Uncover the cause of temporary disbelief.
Examine your strengths, limitations and the reality of your situation honestly every day. Some days you won’t believe in yourself, and that’s OK. But if you can unpack and see where that temporary disbelief is rooted, you’ll identify what’s needed to move forward: a change of strategy, a talent you need to hire, some information you need to collect or verify, or something else. Relentlessly moving forward ultimately leads to success, nothing more.
3. Be maniacal in your beliefs.
It’s odd that we often need a third-party opinion to believe in our missions in life. That doesn’t have to be the case. The best entrepreneurs are repeatedly told they’re “crazy,” that they should be “reasonable” or “realistic.” Social pressures are all around us. Most news channels tell us to be afraid, to not be an outlier and “don’t rock the boat.”
Self-belief means being willing to go against societal norms and some very aggressive incumbents with vaster resources than yours. Be maniacal in your beliefs and determination. Only then will you truly believe in yourself.
4. Stay enthusiastic.
Unshakeable belief comes from experience. One of my companies is currently in total meltdown. The problems seem insurmountable. My wife asked, “How do you deal with this? You’ve got a smile on your face. What’s the secret?”
I explained that it’s part of being successful. Some of my investments give me a 20, 30, even 100 times return. But I’ve had more failures than successes. Of my 500 investments, more than 300 failed. I lost all my money. But 100 deals generated $5 billion. I don’t care about the losses.
Failure is part of getting to the next step, but it devastated me in the early days. Then I realized that three out of four businesses fail in my industry. Fail fast and cheaply. Do a post-analysis of each failure: What went wrong and how could you do better?
Winston Churchill said, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” Keep stepping up. Those who control their emotions and treat failure positively control their destiny.
5. Invert your thinking.
My trick is to think of a project as my duty; the project has drafted me, so there’s no option but to serve the cause.
When faced with the prospect of writing the Star Trek reboot movie script, I thought, Who am I to take on this cultural legacy? But my next thought was, That shows I care. My final thought was, Even if I mess this up, why should I let someone who doesn’t care as much mess it up?
If you truly care, that’s half the battle. If you’re called to serve—by a job or your own soul—do your duty as if you don’t have a choice. You might die on the battlefield, but at least you gave 110 percent. And I’d rather be by your side than anybody else’s.
—Roberto Orci, Hollywood super producer and screenwriter whose movies and TV shows have grossed more than $5 billion worldwide
6. Develop competence.
One of my coaches, Pooh Richardson, was an NBA player for 10 years. He told me, “Your competence is your confidence.” One of the problems with the school system is that it doesn’t give us any practical skills, so we lack confidence, and then we try to artificially inflate our self-esteem and act confidently. But the brain doesn’t work that way.
The brain needs to feel competent so it can trigger the confident exterior result. Get better at stuff. Build practical skills. Learn programming and public speaking. Get in the gym. Learn a sport like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And get great at it.
7. Magnify your unfair advantage.
It’s easy to be hard on yourself. But I haven’t met one person who doesn’t have an unfair advantage.
To uncover your unfair advantage, take out the post-it notes, write down every win you’ve ever had in your life and put them on a wall.
Take stock of what you see. Put the top five to 10 accomplishments on your phone’s home screen. Look at yourself every morning and remember why you’re incredible: You’ve got the unfair advantage that can’t be replicated.
8. Focus on the positive.
No one is you, and that’s your power. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Confidence is contagious. People want to be around those who exude confidence and a sense of purpose.
Don’t get hung up on your failures. Learn the lessons. Treat them as trials or practice runs in your quest for greatness. And just like you’d offer a bonus to a high-performing employee, take inventory of your successes and celebrate them. Maybe treat yourself to a day spa or splurge on that dream trip to Bali. It will keep you motivated.
The mind is powerful; it believes what you feed it. The more you focus on the positive, the better you’ll stay focused on your goals, perform and ignore the naysayers.
9. Embrace failure as a reminder.
Look at failure as a gain, not a loss. Once I ventured into an unfamiliar space, inventing an app for on-demand massage in Miami Beach. My planned $40,000 investment turned into a $150,000 loss. It was completely outside of my core competence. But it reminded me that whenever I do things within my core competence, I’m successful.
Your core competence is tied down to your passion—what you know and love. Maybe you were brought up around it. At 5 years old, my dad took me to his factory, which manufactured empty capsules for pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements. I’d stick my hand into the production line and mess up the lot, but I didn’t care: I’d just developed a fascination for my life’s work.
10. Keep working at it.
If you don’t master your mind, it will master you, sabotaging your purpose, business and finances.
Keep your eyes on the vision you want to create. Listen to your intuition and build your intuitive intelligence. Most successful people work innovatively from their gut instincts.
Eliminate analysis paralysis and second-guessing yourself. Focus your attention only on what you want with great positivity, bringing you into positive consciousness. Otherwise, you’ll downward spiral into the five D’s we do to ourselves: Doubting, Disbelieving, Diminishing, Discounting and Dismissing (which destroys your self-esteem and sense of worth).
Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people. Success is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. Hire creative people who you vibe with and nourish your vision. Believe in yourself. Believe in your power. Believe and you will achieve.
11. Set the right expectations.
You can’t go into business expecting to be an overnight success or that you’ll make no mistakes. You don’t hit a home run the first time you step up to bat, and it’s the same in business. You might strike out, a lot. But it only takes one home run to transform your life.