I always used to think about what it would take to start writing. Would I be any good? Is it worth it? Over the years, I’ve come to understand one thing: Effort and commitment exceeds talent, any day of the week. My boxing coach always says to me- “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. I was never a talented writer, and I was never a talented boxer. But from when I first started writing, and when I first started boxing, those are two areas I have worked hard in and have excelled. But the way I look at it, to excel, you must strive for small continuous improvements every day in the chosen area of your life. If you’re thinking about learning a new skill or practicing an area of improvement, the following ideas will help you believe in yourself before you start applying the work.
Visualize Yourself Improving
When I first started writing, I would imagine having over 50 articles published. An achievement that I felt was too out of reach. I would continuously take “writing breaks” for a couple of weeks and not be motivated to seek out new ideas. This article is the 50th on my website, and I have plenty of others published across different publications. Once I imagined completing one at a time with efficiency, I have now written more in the last six months than I have in two years.
When you start to think what the end result would be, your brain tricks you into believing it is too far out of reach. There are different ways to look at it:
-If you’re writing a book: Don’t imagine yourself finishing a book, think about finishing the first ten pages
-Losing weight: Don’t think about losing 20kg, instead think about losing a kilogram per week
-Selling products: If your goal is to sell 1000 products in a year, look for selling 100 products in the first month.
Visualizing small milestones create momentum and motivation to reach the end goal. When you start to see results from the small achievements, you naturally begin to do things unexpectedly that move you towards what you’re trying to achieve.
There can be a lot of self-doubt before starting something new. But once you take action, it becomes easier. Here’s an example: When you apply for a job, you get called in for an interview. You find yourself in front of a panel, feeling nervous and anxious. You begin to wonder if they like your answers and if you’re good enough for the job. The company gives you a phone call offering you the position. Once you start your first day, the beliefs and feelings you had from the job interview are entirely different. You have started a new job with the confidence you can perform and achieve results for yourself and the company. The doubt and lack of belief present itself at the beginning because you are moving into the unknown. But once you start, it gets a lot easier.
Think of it this way: If you want to start a new skill, remove the panel of interviewers from your imagination and begin. Want to start lifting weights? Seek out a personal trainer. Want to learn how to cook? Print out a recipe and give it a go. Want to start writing, but don’t know where to begin? Put your imagination on a page and see where it takes you. Action is a fundamental part of progression.
Find The Time
Believing in yourself before you start means allocating your time. Before you begin to learn a new skill or practice an area of improvement, understand when you will apply the action. Find out what time of the day, what the scenario will be, and where you will practice. By prioritizing the action beforehand, you eliminate the excuse of ‘not finding time’. From what seems like a barrier to already begin, you have now opened up the opportunity to improve. We all have the same 24 hours in the day. Audit your days and how you spend it, but there’s always time if you genuinely want to begin or improve on something.
Believe In Yourself Before You Start
When I packed my backs to study abroad in the USA, I spent two nights at Dallas airport alone. I was due to be picked up as soon as I arrived, but Sydney’s plane delay meant I missed my connecting flight. The next flight was supposed to be the following morning, but a severe storm meant further delays and I would stay a second night. Being in a foreign country, It was uncertain times, but knew I would find a way.
I bought a phone with a U.S sim card, tracked down the university’s number, and let them know I’ll be coming the following day. It took me around 64 hours to get from Perth, Australia to Kentucky, USA. It was a simple belief I had that meant I was able to feel as comfortable as possible in an uncertain situation. I had a few beers at the bar, watched some TV, and had conversations with people I’d never met. The only uncomfortable part would be the benches I slept on.
That was my first experience of America. And I’ve been back several times since.
The most significant difference I’ve seen between those that achieve results and those who don’t isn’t their intelligence or access to resources. It’s the trust they have in themselves to find a way. It’s the belief to make small and big things happen. Some of us trust in ourselves that we will move forward and figure it out. Others believe the ideas and practices presented to them are determined to fail. While one view may not work for one person, many ideas can work for most people.
The willingness to experiment, think differently and find a way when feeling uncertain is how you can believe in yourself not only before you start, but also during when you feel you have lost the belief to continue.