Action: The Key to Self Confidence and Career Success

Tuesday morning, I was sitting in the waiting room at Rose Hospital in Denver while Cathy was undergoing shoulder replacement surgery.  Nurses would come out to get patients who were scheduled for surgery.  When the nurse called one guy to go in for his pre op preparations, he said, “He’s not here.  He chickened out.”  Then he went into have his procedure done.  Good for him.  Surgery is scary.  I remember when I had my cancer surgery.  I had more than a little anxiety.

All of this stuff surrounding surgery reminded me of Tweet 47 in my career success book, Success Tweets.  “Act.  Feel the fear and do it anyway.  That’s the definition of courage, and a great way to build your self-confidence.”

Just like Cathy who had to be willing to act on her shoulder pain, and have joint replacement surgery, all of us will encounter scary moments on our road to life and career success.  We are better off when we approach these moments with confidence.  I felt very confident after meeting Cathy’s surgical team.  She did too.  That reduced a lot of our anxiety about the surgery.

Let’s talk about how confidence can help you deal with the scary moments you encounter on your road to career success.  I subscribe to Sharon Melnick’s online newsletter.  In a recent post, she made several interesting points about confidence.

  • Confidence will help you be flexible.  You will consider all alternatives and options.
  • Confidence will help you follow through on ideas that you might otherwise talk yourself out of.
  • Confidence will help you be persistent – and hold on to your vision for your life.b

She’s right.  Confidence is the foundation of all life and career success.  Without it, you will have a difficult time succeeding.  To build your self-confidence, you have to be optimistic, face your fears and surround yourself with positive people.

Fear is a great confidence and success killer.  Elbert Hubbard, the author of “A Message to Garcia” (, one of the best essays on personal responsibility ever written, has some great things to say about facing your fears…

“The greatest mistake you can make is continually fearing that you will make one.”

Read that again.  Those 14 words are powerful!  They are some fundamental career advice.

If you let your fear of making a mistake stop you from taking action, you will never take any action and your fear will ruin your life and any chance of creating the career success you want and deserve.

In 1988 I was ready to start my career success coach and speaking business.  I was afraid.  I was worried that I wouldn’t succeed.  I had always worked for large companies.  I wasn’t sure I knew exactly what to do to run a successful career success coach business.  Nevertheless, I looked my fear in the eye, quit my job and moved forward.  Twenty-four years later, I’m still at it.  My fears were unfounded – but they were real.  I’m glad I faced them and acted.

Fear is persistent.  It doesn’t go away.  It will wait for one of your weak moments and then it will strike.  If you let it get the best of you, you’ll never move forward.

Fear most often manifests itself in procrastination.  When I find myself procrastinating, I always ask myself, “What are you afraid of here, Bud?”  Identifying what I fear always help me defeat it.  Once I identify what I am afraid of, I can take positive steps to move forward through my fear and on to success.

Make a list of your doubts and fears.  Decide what you can do to overcome them.  Then act.  Take at least one positive action – no matter how small – every day to overcome your doubts and fears.  Even if these actions don’t work out as well as you hope, you will be on the road to overcoming your fears and creating the life and career success you want and deserve.

Remember, procrastination feeds fear, and action cures it.  The choice is up to you.  I choose action.  My best career advice says you should, too.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people are self-confident.  Self-confident people don’t let their fears get in the way of their success.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 47 in Success Tweets.  “Act.  Feel the fear and do it anyway.  That’s the definition of courage, and a great way to build your self-confidence.”  Identify your fears, and then do what you need to do to move past them.  Action is the great antidote to fear.  It puts inertia on your side.  Once you are moving forward, you are likely to continue moving forward.  It’s the first step that is the hardest – and scariest.  If you want to beat your fears, you need to take the first step – act, and then keep on going.

That’s the career advice prompted by my time in the waiting room during Cathy’s surgery.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site on September 1.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  To celebrate the grand opening, I’m giving away a new career advice book I’ve written called I Want YOU…To Succeed in Your Corporate Climb.  You can find out about the membership site and get the career advice in I Want YOU… for free by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.

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