Setting small attainable goals as a means to build confidence cannot be understated.Barbara Wright Sykes offers some great advise in an article found here:
“Set goals for change and take small steps in your goal plan that are attainable. Once you succeed in your initial efforts, give yourself praise and reward. Recall your victories to help you move forward through the list of goals, so that change becomes imminent. This constant reminder of your successes is reinforcement that you can do it; you can set goals and implement a plan of action. Before you know it, your new behavior will take on the attributes that you desire. You will feel secure with new activities and responsibilities. As a result, you become comfortable stretching yourself to new expectations.Just knowing that you are qualified, capable and able to make great strides is enough to catapult you into new and uncharted territory. You will gain such confidence in your accomplishments, that you will cease to fear change. You will no longer look upon your old comfort zone as status quo. You will begin to welcome change as a new and refreshing frontier, and the best part is you will no longer be held hostage by procrastination.”
Lacking confidence is a self imposed barrier that can be crippling.The quote I included is part of a bigger story that really forms a bigger picture about this. I recently found it again when digging through some old files. It’s a summary of a conversation with Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee, and it went like this:
Try it. Or die. You have options. Which sounds more comfortable?
“Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile.[Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a half minutes per mile] So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.” I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.” He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.” I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.” So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so
I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” –and we’re still running-”if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles. Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”