Fear, Courage, Self Confidence, Success and Melanie Oudin

Self confidence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart your Professional Success.  You can become self confident by doing three things.  First, choose optimism.  Believe in your heart of hearts that today will be better than yesterday, and that tomorrow will be better than today.  Second, face your fears and act.  Procrastination and inaction feed fear and rob you of self confidence.  Action cures fear.  Third, surround yourself with positive people.  Don’t let the naysayers into your life.  Hang around with people who are positive about themselves, their careers and life in general.

Fear is debilitating and a success killer.  It can rob you of your dreams and keep you stuck in mediocrity – or worse yet – failure.

One of USA President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s most famous quotes deals with fear…

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

This quote reminds me of a common acronym I often see applied to fear.

F    False

E    Evidence

A    Appearing

R    Real

In other words the anxiety and stress that accompany fear are almost always worse than the actual consequences associated with the thing we fear. 

Fear tends to paralyze us into inaction.  As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, whenever I realize that I am procrastinating, I ask myself, “What scares you about this, Bud?”  Once I answer that question – and it’s usually one of two things: fear of failing, or fear of rejection – I can confront my fears and move on. 

Brian Tracy says, “Fear is also caused by ignorance.”  I agree.  The less you know, the more you fear failure and rejection.  For several years, I have wanted to extend my business and do more online.  I’ve had several false starts because I didn’t really know what I was doing.  In 2009 I decided that it was time to learn what I need to know about internet marketing.  As I did, I became more and more confident in my ability to succeed in the online world.  My fear of failure and rejection decreased as my knowledge increased.  When you know what you’re doing, you tend to feel confident, competent, in control and unafraid.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are self confident.  Self confident people face their fears and act.  Fear is emotional, and often irrational.  Just remember a common definition of fear – False Evidence Appearing Real.  If you want to succeed, you need to look your fears in the eye and take action.  Become courageous.  Act in the face of your fears.  As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.  If you master your fears, you’ll build your self confidence and be on the way to a lifetime of success and happiness.

That’s my take on fear, courage, self confidence and success.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment.  Also, please share your stories of when you conquered your fear by taking action.  They will inspire all of us.  As always, thanks for reading.


PS – Have you been watching the US Open Tennis Tournament?  Melanie Oudin, a 17 year old American player has become this year’s big story.  She will be playing in the quarter finals tonight.  Serena Williams was the last 17 year old to get to the quarter finals of the Open – and right now, she is the best player in the world.

Melanie has beaten three of the best players in the world to get to the quarter finals: Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova.  Melanie gave us all a lesson in the importance of self confidence when she was asked why she shed no tears of joy after any of her big upsets.  “There are no tears because I believed I could do it.  Now I know that I do belong here.  This is what I want to do, and I can compete with these girls no matter who I’m playing.  I have a chance against anyone.”  Young Melanie has certainly conquered her fear of failure – and has laid the foundation for a successful life and career as a professional tennis player.

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