Success Lessons From a High School Student

Self confidence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become self confident you need to do three things.  1) Become an optimist.  2) Face your fears and act.  3) Surround yourself with positive people.

Last week I did a Skype cast for members of an advanced placement class at my old high school.  The students read Straight Talk and came prepared to ask me questions about it. 

One young man sat way at the very end of one of the rows.  Towards the end of the program, he got up from his seat and made his way to the computer and microphone in the middle of the room in order to ask a question.

From the way he hesitantly approached the microphone, I could tell that he was nervous.  He sat down and squeaked out a question: “In your book, you talk about the importance of self confidence.  How can I go about building my self confidence?”

I had to smile, because I could tell that walking to the microphone and asking that question was not easy for this young man.  I said, “You’re on your way.  You got up and asked a question.  I could tell that this was difficult for you.”  He smiled.  I continued, “Facing your fears and acting is one of the most powerful things you can do to improve your self confidence.  You just did that – good for you.”

It’s true.  As you know, there are three keys to becoming self confidence: choosing optimism, facing your fears and acting, and surrounding yourself with positive people. 

Becoming an optimist is more of a philosophical decision.  You choose to live positively, and believe that things will be better today than they were yesterday.  You can’t always choose the people with whom you surround yourself – especially when you are still in high school. 

However, you can choose to look your fear in your eye and take action – just like the young man did when he asked me the question on self confidence.

You will encounter things that scare you every day.  Fear can paralyze you into inaction.  The more you face your fears and act, the more self confident you will become.  When you act, one of two things will happen; you will succeed, or you will fail.  Success will boost your self confidence.  Failure will provide an opportunity to learn and grow – which should also boost your self confidence.

Mike Ditka, the famous American football coach says, “Failure is rarely fatal.”  He’s right.  It’s an opportunity to try again, only more intelligently.

The common sense point here is clear.  Successful people are self confident.  Self confident people face their fears and act.  They don’t let fear paralyze them into inaction.  If you want to become self confident, identify your fears and then do what it takes to overcome them.  Procrastination is a good place to start.  The next time you find yourself procrastinating on a job or task as yourself, “What am I afraid of here?”  Once you identify your fear, you’ll be in a position to act on it and overcome it.

That’s my take on becoming self confident by facing your fear and acting.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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