What I do involves a lot of helping people surmount obstacles, usually in the form of handling objections. The most prevalent objection we, as mentors, get asked about is how to respond to the problem of “no money.”
The answer is always the same. Money (or time, or skills, or lack of knowledge, etc., etc.) is never really the issue. The issue is always BELIEF.
No one sets out to achieve something if they don’t have an inkling that they can do it. Even on some tiny level, maybe buried deep inside, they have a flickering ember of a belief that it is possible. As they embark on mastering whatever it is, the ember starts to glow then grow into a flame that eventually consumes any doubt about accomplishing the goal. They have fostered belief. Belief is the flame.
Without belief nothing great is possible. The Olympic athlete doesn’t sacrifice years of hard work because they are “trying” to win a medal. They know they can and that knowledge is bound to belief.
The realization as to how intrinsic belief is to achieving a goal came to me quite powerfully when I first saw the movie Argo. It washed over me as I watched the climactic scene at the airport. The Americans trapped in Iran must play their parts to convince the guards that they are Canadian film-makers.
As an actor previously, I knew the effectiveness of my performance relied on fully immersing myself in a character. If I didn’t believe I was the person I was playing, the audience sure wasn’t going to buy it either. While on the edge of my seat during this scene in Argo, I kept inwardly screaming, “Just act “as if!” Believe it!! Just lose yourself in that identity and they will believe you.“
It is hard for me to describe just how powerful & vivid this epiphany was for me. During the previous weeks I had been pondering what was holding me back. How was it that success seemed just out of reach? I sat there, in that theater, and this movie had just revealed to me one of my biggest roadblocks: My lack of belief in my own abilities. (As an aside, I am always in awe of how messages can be delivered when one is open to them.)
Earlier in the film, Ben Affleck, as Tony Mendez, delivers this line:
“The only way this works is if you believe that you’re these people so much that you dream like them.”
Could that be any more perfect?!
If we don’t believe we can do something, we are doomed.
In our industry, we are persistently reminding people to believe in themselves, what they are doing, the company, the possibilities, their dreams, etc. Time and again, people sabotage themselves because they don’t have the level of belief they need to overcome challenges. They cave to the first person who tells them that what they are doing is crazy. (Never mind that the person discouraging them likely has no credibility themselves and is rather projecting their own fears onto the situation.)
So the question follows – how do we build belief?
We build a fire.
Belief starts as an inside job. Just as with a fire, it starts as an ember, an inkling. This inkling is our commitment to something. It could be something we want to change, something we value, but ultimately, it is something we stand for. As the ember (our commitment) is fanned and wood is added (action is taken), the fire (our belief) grows.
First, it might be helpful to identify where the fire has gone out. Do you need more belief in yourself, the process, the company, the industry, the products…all of the above? Also, the wood you use to keep it going will be contingent upon which fire you are stoking. Maybe you need to improve skills or gain more knowledge. This is where a good coach or mentor can make suggestions.
As a simple formula, it looks like this: Commitment leads to action which builds belief.
For example, based on empirical evidence or clinical research, someone might have an inkling that our products are different. (Here, belief is literally an inside job!) Personally, I did not believe, just because someone was telling me how different Shaklee was, that I would get results that no other solution had yet produced. But, I was committed to finding a solution to my health issue. Belief comes from action that results from a commitment. In this case, it was a commitment to my health. I took the action that started building the belief. Without action there is no belief, but the ember that starts the fire is a commitment to something.
Commitment leads to action which builds belief. Likewise, you can’t get to commitment until you decide what you want. You must take a stand for what you want to change. Without taking that stand, making that commitment to whatever it is we want, and taking the action to build on it, the flames of our belief will easily be extinguished.
And, we can’t just take action once. We must do it repeatedly. A fire must be fed continuously or it goes out. Belief isn’t something you achieve once and you’re done. It is a practice.
What are you committed to? Maybe it isn’t as dramatic as wanting to get out of a hostile country without getting executed, but what is that ember, deep inside, that you have silently (perhaps unconsciously) been fanning? Is it better health? Is it more financial freedom? A better relationship? Making a difference?
Truth be told, if you want the answer to what you are committed to, take a good hard look at your life. What is manifesting for you, right now, is what you stand for and ultimately, what you believe. The results you have in any area of your life will reveal what you are truly committed to in that situation.
Harsh. I know. The good news is that you have a choice.
Don’t like it? Is what you’ve got now not what you stand for because, literally, you can’t stand it anymore? Decide to change it. Choose and DECIDE!!
Choice. Decision. Discussions, perhaps, for another time. For now, I’ve got to go put some more wood on the fire. Stay tuned.