I arrived on the Microsoft campus at 7:30 a.m. I was scheduled to deliver the closing keynote presentation that afternoon, and I gladly accepted the invitation to sit in on the entire day of learning leading up to my keynote. I was gifted the opportunity to see two incredibly badass speakers, Robyn Benicasa and Vernice Armour, do their thing.
Robyn is a world champion adventure racer, ten-time Ironman triathlete, and the founder of Project Athena Foundation. Vernice is the United States Marine Corps’ first African American female combat pilot, having completed two tours in Iraq. They both left the audience, myself included, mesmerized by sharing personal stories of defying the odds, demonstrating unbelievable acts of courage and refusing to accept defeat, no matter the circumstances. Both of these women have lived truly extraordinary lives and the lessons they shared were invaluable. I walked away with pages of notes!
Then it was my turn. There was a time in my life when I would have been throw-up nervous by the notion of batting clean-up in this lineup. I don’t have any extreme adventure athlete or active duty combat stories to share. That isn’t my life experience. However, I have learned the secret to stepping up and delivering in high-pressure situations. That secret was reinforced to me following my keynote with Microsoft.
@RyanEstis You rocked it. Thanks for bringing your authentic self.
— Cindy Lea Kelly (@gsdlea) May 4, 2016
Just Be You
Bring your most authentic self. Great advice. I want to reinforce an important point I made in my last post around my journey home:
When we stop hiding and decide to show up as our most genuine, vulnerable and compassionate selves, a funny thing happens. We start connecting.
I believe that notion holds true in our most intimate, important relationships. It’s also relevant to our relationships in business and it’s especially true when we’re giving a presentation trying to persuade people to believe what we believe. In those moments we need to show up as the best, most authentic version of ourselves. Authenticity resonates:
— Cindy Lea Kelly (@gsdlea) May 5, 2016
That is why I am obsessed with the routines, rituals, process and preparation that put me in a position to “show up” as my very best, most authentic self. The discipline of preparation provides me the freedom and self-confidence necessary to deliver. Here is the truth about discipline:
“There are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” — Jim Rohn
Discipline also makes me a happier person. Walking around anxious and unsure of myself in the days or hours leading up to my big moment only serves to minimize my enjoyment. What fun is that? A little discipline drives self-confidence and helps me relax and relish in the present, knowing I’ve prepared to do my very best and my very best is always enough.
The Self-Confidence Formula
The best formula for self-confidence I’ve come across comes from Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich. The formula lives permanently on my desktop so I can refer to it often. Here is the the “self-confidence formula”:
“First. I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my Definite Purpose in life, therefore, I DEMAND of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action.
Second. I realize the dominating thoughts of my mind will eventually reproduce themselves in outward, physical action, and gradually transform themselves into physical reality; therefore, I will concentrate my thoughts for thirty minutes daily, upon the task of thinking of the person I intend to become thereby creating in my mind a clear mental picture of that person.
Third. I know through the principle of autosuggestion, any desire that I persistently hold in my mind will eventually seek expression through some practical means of attaining the object back of it, therefore, I will devote ten minutes daily to demanding of myself the development of SELF CONFIDENCE.
Fourth. I have clearly written down a description of my DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life, and I will never stop trying, until I shall have developed sufficient self-confidence for its attainment.
Fifth. I fully realize that no wealth or position can long endure. Unless built upon truth and justice therefore, I will engage in no transaction which does not benefit all whom it affects. I will succeed by attraction to myself the forces I wish to use, and the cooperation of other people. I will induce others to serve me, because of my willingness to serve others. I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism, but develop love for all humanity; because I know that a negative attitude toward others can never bring me success. I will cause others to believe in me, because I will believe in them and in myself.
I will sign my name to this formula, commit it to memory and repeat it aloud once a day, with full FAITH that It will gradually influence my THOUGHTS and ACTIONS so that I will become a self-reliant, and successful person.”
We each have access to a limitless reserve of potential. It exists inside us. It was put there for us. We just have to embrace the discipline required to tap into it and have the self-confidence and courage to unleash our inner superhero into the world.
Discipline weighs ounces. Regret weighs tons. Let’s opt for discipline.
You can access your inner superhero anytime using this simple 60-second exercise (like the Microsoft employees pictured at the beginning of this post):
Ryan Estis helps companies and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance. Each live event blends original research with compelling stories that move participants to take action. Ryan has 20 years of business experience working with the world’s best brands to initiate change, inspire innovation and deliver growth. Learn more about Ryan Estis.