Thoughts on Confidence

By: John Steuernol

I have always maintained that the absolute key to success in our business is something I call ‘quiet confidence’. People do not wake up one day and say: “Thank goodness, confidence arrived last night and now I can cold call and get on with my career.” It just doesn’t work that way.

Confidence, like assertiveness or patience, are qualities that just do not mysteriously appear on their own. Acquisition of these qualities requires us to program the mind and cultivate the quality. It’s the things we consciously think about that determines the depth and the breath of these qualities.

Bob Proctor a noted motivational speaker has said: “Millions of people get things every day they don’t want, but they expect.” Put another way, William James, the noted American father of psychology said: “People tend to become what they think of themselves.” We plant the seeds of our success or failure every day by the steady stream of self-talk that moves us either closer to, or further away from our goals.

Negative messages create what we don’t want. If we go into a meeting and think they probably won’t buy from us, that will be the likely outcome. We have to believe they will buy from us and act accordingly if we wish to have a positive experience.

If I were to say to myself: “things aren’t going very well”, my focus on what’s not working becomes my preoccupation. If on the other hand I were to say; “I enjoy my work; I understand the problems and get past them;” my thoughts are now centered around achievement rather than failure.

Canadian speed skater, Gaetan Boucher, a double gold winner in Sarajevo said: “I had the physical skills to be world champion 3 years before I actually became world champion. It took me 3 years to learn to think and act like a champion.”

And that is in fact what we need to learn to do, is to think and act like champions. Champions do not allow negative thoughts to dominate their consciousness. They concentrate on what they can do, not on what they cannot do. In the words of Vince Lombardi, they discover ‘winning plays’. Creating an attitude where we want the winning plays often comes as we fill our minds with positive affirmative thoughts.

The world of sport is rife with these one liners that helped the author stay the course. For example we all remember Muhammad Ali’s, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee;” or how about Vince Lombardi’s, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Affirmations, by their nature are personal and unique to the individual. What works for one may not work for another. As goofy as it sounds, one of mine in 1986 was ‘spin the wheel, and make the deal”. This was the 1st year I cracked the $1,000,000 revenue threshold and so it worked for me.

Our business is a business of managing the mind; first ours and then that of our clients. If we are to manage our own mind to a higher level of performance what should we do.

  1. Learn to let go.Remember, if you’re focusing on failure outcomes, you’ll simply get more of them. Right now, identify a thought pattern or behaviour that is just getting in the way of your ultimate success. Acknowledge it for what it is, but don’t dwell on it. Now let go; imagine it’s evaporating into the air around you.
  2. Talk to one of your mentors (hopefully you have at least 3), and share with them what you seek to achieve and get their perspective. Talk therapy works well, but unfortunately many advisors feel it is a sign of weakness to discuss their challenges. In fact it is a sign of strength to do so.
  3. Acknowledge your accomplishments, as small or as insignificant as they may be. Do this every day, and initially several times a day until you see you confidence building. When I train newer advisors in the art of cold calling, I tell them that if the only thing they are able to do is say “good morning, my name is….” and then their approach falls apart, I tell them to at least acknowledge that they were able to say “good morning” and their name, and then they can build on that. It might sound silly, but in fact, it works.
  4. Build on your success. Confidence is built upon the recognition of successes, no matter how small, and then systematically adding to the success framework. Selling is merely the mastery of a host of a number easily identifiable skills that should be looked upon as building blocks to success. For instance, cold calling includes about ten different skills, while a discovery meeting could include as many as fifteen.
  5. Discover winning plays. Find those in your community who perform the task or skills you would like to perform in a most excellent manner, and then determine how you’ll adopt these into your business and make them your own.
  6. And finally, find that thought or affirmation that works for you and use it as a daily reminder of the quest you are about, and then with constant practice you’ll ultimately build your confidence and your practice to the level of success you seek to acquire.
John Steuernol
Your ‘At The Moment Coach’
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