Don’t Stop Believing…In Yourself!

Building ‘Yes I Can’ Confidence 

As children, we have big dreams about doing and becoming anything our heart desires.  I mean, who hasn’t thought about going to the moon or becoming a Ninja Turtle?!  The older we get, however, the more reality sets in.  It’s not that you can’t do everything you dreamed of.  But it’s certain that there are steps you have to take in order to achieve those goals and often times, the road to get there is paved with some pretty insurmountable obstacles.   

Interestingly enough, the biggest challenge we face when striving to achieve our dreams is ourselves.  Often times, we let society beat us down or we’ve created an unhealthy environment that doesn’t support the “big picture” ambitions we aim to achieve.  

That is why the Leadership Life Skill Belief is such a critical part of your journey as a martial artist, and simply, as a human being trying to navigate life.  John Addison, Leadership editor for Success Magazine, wrote that “To get what you want in life, you have to build belief in yourself!”  Sometimes it’s hard to dig deep and discover that “Yes I can!” attitude, so we talked with some experts to help get you started. 


Just Do It! 

When you have a goal, one of the first steps you must take is to own it!  Want to open your own business?  Maybe you want to start competing toward a World title for the first time ever.  Regardless of what it is that gets your heart pounding, you have to embrace it and then, just go for it!   

Addison explains, “Life is short.  It goes by so quickly.  Most of the things you worry about don’t really matter.”  So, take the leap.  Your goal will require some planning and preparation, but the only way to get started is to, well, get started.  No one ever accomplished anything sitting around thinking about doing it.  They actually did it.  And you should, too. 


Be Aware of Your Surroundings 

What you see, feel and hear are all contributors to your mindset.  As Addison explains, “Who do you spend your time with?  What do you listen to?  People often surround themselves with people who drain their battery, who are negative and don’t build them up.”  Instead, “Surround yourself with people who are positive, build you up and who help you create belief in yourself.” 

Master Monica Smith, 6th Degree Black Belt and member of the ATA Headquarters Tournament staff, says that being around positive energy will have an effect on how you view yourself.  “Negativity is contagious and it can spread quickly.  The people I hold close to me are people that support me.  If you surround yourself with people who truly care and want the best for you, you will begin to see a positive change in yourself.” 

You should also be careful about what you watch on TV and listen to in your earbuds.  These messages can influence how you think and how you feel.  Just like you do with people, expose yourself to positivity and let it radiate around you. 


Break It Down 

Some of us rely on checklists for mundane daily tasks or work projects, but you need to take that same approach when it comes to your goals.  Smith, who is currently training and preparing for her 7th Degree testing at this years Worlds explains how she practices this process. “Long-term goals aren’t achieved overnight.  As I prepare for my 7th Degree test, I have little milestones throughout my journey.”  And there’s a few tips she uses to keep her on track.  “One thing that helps me stay motivated is telling people my goal.  That holds me accountable for my progress.  I also write down my goals, my long-term goal and the milestones to get there.  As Emmitt Smith said in his NFL Hall of Fame speech, ‘It’s only a dream until you write it down, and then it becomes a goal,’” Smith says. 

Breaking things down is also a great practice for any time that you start feeling down on yourself, Addison explains.  “Doing something you said you were going to do makes you feel better about yourself.  It doesn’t have to be anything bit.  Be a daily goal setter and a daily goal hitter…Remember, inch by inch it’s a cinch to get things done,” says Addison. 


Pass It On 

Having self-worth and belief in yourself is tremendously important to children.  Smith, mom of 6-year-old Nila (an ATA Tiger Brown Belt) tells us that teaching her daughter that she can do anything she sets her mind to is a priority in the way she parents.   

“Every day, I tell her what she is; she is strong, she is kind, she is smart,” Smith says.  But she’s also very careful about what she says about herself and others, because that can also have a damaging effect on youth.  “I have to be careful about what I say when I talk about myself around her.  I must use positive language.  I grew up with very low self-confidence, which is one reason I started ATA, and I never want Nila to feel that way about herself,” Smith adds. 

Little ears are listening and little eyes are watching.  When you say you are going to do something and a child sees you do that, there is true pride in that moment.  Strive to be a leadership example around others and you’ll find that positive belief with catch on.  


As you can see, having belief in yourself is huge, but don’t let it all go to your head.  Addison has this to share.  “I always tell people they need to be boldly humble.  I realize this is a tricky thing, having a healthy self-esteem but not having an out-of-control ego.  It can feel like a contradiction.  But you have the ability to find a healthy balance between the two.” 

It’s not as hard as it seems.  Approach your goals with confidence but do so with humility and grace.  Then, you can, in fact, make it possible. 



Author: Jenny Wolff   

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