Welcome back, Dear Readers.
Last Wednesday, I shared some advice from a business coach. Of his four steps to success, the most crucial one was belief. It’s not enough to know where you’re going–you have to believe with all your heart that you will get there.
I’ve struggled with a lack of belief since I was a kid, past that all-too-short-lived stage where I thought that everything I did was special and awesome. Even now, after supporting myself as a writer for twenty years, I’m still pleasantly surprised if someone tells me they’ve read my work and enjoyed it. I’m always braced for this terrible criticism that never comes.
After I had to part ways with my agent, I struggled with a real crisis of faith. I’d thought landing the agent was the tough part, you see. I’d believed that once I got an agent, she would sell my book, enabling me to focus on what I really wanted to do, which was to write fiction full time. When this didn’t happen, I was devastated. I kept hoping things would change, when it would have been obvious to any outsider that this just wasn’t going to happen. So I remained in agent purgatory for several years, during which time I didn’t write a single word of new fiction.
Once I made the decision to end that relationship and start fresh, I wrote a new novel–my first since I’d signed with the agent. But what I didn’t do was submit my work. I haven’t submitted my work since I signed with the agent, but I’ve continued to write books.
What’s the problem? My belief has been shaken.
What is your goal? What are you working towards right now? Do you absolutely, one hundred percent believe you’ll achieve it?
If you ever find yourself feeling doubtful, here are the four areas to focus on in order to strengthen your belief.
1) Clarity. You need a plan.
2) Confidence. If you find it difficult to be confident about your plan, the business coach says a lack of trust is usually the issue. Identify what you might be lacking confidence in and address it…or, if it’s something you can’t control, create a work-around for it.
3) Competency. Gain competency through skill development, training, seeking advice, coaching, and gaining experience.
4) Past experiences. The past is to learn from but does not dictate your future.
The fourth point was a revelation for me. I’d been using my past experience with an agent to dictate my future relationships. Because that one instance had not worked out, I’d convinced myself that it would be the same thing with all other agents. And why would I submit my work if I’d convinced myself it would mean going through that painful experience again and again?
Think about the hurdles you have faced in achieving your goals. Could belief be an issue for you? Do you have a clear plan for success? Are you confident it will work? Do you have the training necessary to make it happen? And are you able to learn from your mistakes without letting them define you?
Feel free to share your thoughts. I’d love to hear how these principles worked for you, or how a lack of belief has held (or is holding) you back.