The Confidence Guy

Wired into Truly Confident Living

Category: ‘Being successful’

Jul 13

Do you have a leap of faith story for me?I need your help.

I’m looking for examples of taking leaps of faith. Examples of those throat tightening moments when you say “What the Hell” to life and jump in with both feet.

What was it that you made a leap towards?  What was going through your head (both urging you to go for it and warning you not to)?  What was it that made it okay for you to take that leap?  What happened after you leapt and how do you look back on it now?

I wanna get as many stories as possible so let me know your story in the comments or via email, retweet this if you’re on Twitter and if you have a friend with a great story be sure to send them on over.

Thanks!

Mar 30

Your Greatness is Determined by Your BeliefHistory is littered with greatness.   Like Helen Keller overcoming great disability to become an advocate for numerous causes and a leader in civil liberties.  Darwin tackling a world full of dogma and working tirelessly for 20 years to solve some of natures biggest riddles.  Martin Luther King overcoming massive prejudice to lead a human rights movement, the effects of which would ripple right around the world.  Churchill overcame overwhelming odds to secure victory in the Second World War.  Or even when Federer overcame a miserable 2008 where it appeared his reign as the King of tennis was over, only to return to the most impressive form in his career.

These people might not have set out to change things or to seek greatness, but it happened all the same.  What they did set out with was a deep desire to play the best damn game they could, and they achieved great results that we now interpret and label with “greatness”.

But let’s not make the mistake of believing that achieving great results or doing great work is directly derived from desire or passion, something I’ve seen a lot of people espousing online recently.

One thing doesn’t naturally lead to the other, just like the front door of your house or apartment doesn’t make you leave the building, it simply makes it possible for you to leave.  You might have a desire to open that door, but if you don’t believe you can or if your belief in the fear of what’s on the other side is too great, you’ll never leave the room.

You still have to get up and go through that door; you’ve got to make the choice to engage and there’s simply no substitute for getting up and putting the effort in.  That’s true of the few people I’ve mentioned above, as well as the dozens – no hundreds – of other examples I could have used.

But while taking repeated action and a deep desire are most certainly essential parts of greatness, no amount of desire or effort can be enough without a supporting belief.

As Bruce Lee once said, water adapts to any container – in other words your life shapes itself and adapts to the barriers you’ve set.  It doesn’t matter if you pour 20,000 gallons or a glass of water into an empty swimming pool, the water can only go as far as the dimensions of the pool.

If your beliefs place barriers artificially close to you you’ll never reach into the well of potential on the other side, and you’ll never achieve greatness or do great things.

I know you’re great at stuff – I know you are – but unless you believe that you are you’ll never be able to use those things in the real world.  Whether you’re a great cook, a great singer, a great entrepreneur, a great basketball player, a great connector, a great Mum,a  great friend or a great goat-herder, without belief and trust in your capability you won’t be able to apply your capability.

Those great people I mentioned made great things happen because they believed their capability was greater than any limits the world might present them with.

You’ve got to believe it and you’ve got to feel it.  That’s what true confidence is – a belief and trust in your own capability right down in your bones; a belief that enables you to apply that capability no matter what.

Feb 08

Go towards it with confidence. That’s where life is.

Dec 27

I ate so much on Christmas Day that my trousers broke.  I bend over and ping, the waistband can’t cope with the pressure and snaps open.

Fortunately the Errey’s aren’t prone to embarassment and I had my special Christmas underwear on, but with 2009 and the whole of the naughties about to expire our thoughts turn to next year and all the things we want.  Like shifting that belly so I don’t become a regular trouser-breaker.  That’s one of many aims I have for next year, and besides ushering in a new decade many of use hope that 2010 will usher in a new era for ourselves and for the world.

Thing is, 2009 is still here, for another couple of days at least.

So either you want something or you don’t.  Either you want to change something or you don’t.  Wanting to want it isn’t enough.  Putting it off and making excuses isn’t enough.

One of the things with confident living is that you know what’s important to you and you do things about them.  You know what matters to you and you’re willing and able to make choices .  So I’m not going to wait until next year to start shifting that belly, and I’m not going to wait until next year for all of the other things I want to happen.  Why would I wait to make a great choice?

Why would you wait to make a great choice?

Start right now.

Comments Off on Don’t Wait for 2010, Start Now
Dec 24

I’m not going to tell you how to have a confident Christmas. I have no idea what that would actually mean.  Instead, as it’s Christmas Eve, I want to share something else with you, just because I want to.

This is from Karen Jacobsen, a woman I worked with some time ago who I’m thrilled to bits to be still be in touch with.  She’s fantastic, and this clip of her and her son is really magical — enjoy.

Merry Christmas.

Comments Off on Silent Night
Nov 26

I’m just catching my breath after some of the craziest weeks I’ve ever had.

My silence here was because of the madness that was Rihanna Live, the project I just delivered as part of my latest freelancing gig.

That was some of the most pressurised stuff I’ve ever experienced.  12 hour working days with a 2 hour commute either side were not uncommon, but I gotta say, I had a ball.  The efforts culminated on November 16th with a live event streamed live to the globe.  That day was such a rollercoaster ride, that when a key piece of the tech did exactly what it was supposed to do at exactly the time it was supposed to do it, there was thunderous applause, hugs, cheers and smiles from everyone in the team.  We did everything but bump chests (this is England, after all).

We couldn’t quite believe that all our hard work had paid off.

But it had, and in some style.

I’ve now finished that freelance gig, but I’m still catching my breath.  I know we didn’t stop global warming, stop a school from burning down or build a hospital in Africa, but it was intense all the same. So much so that it’s been pretty weird since 16/11, and I know the whole team have experienced something similar.

I even joked that “post 16/11 everyone’s looking for meaning in their lives”, and while it got a laugh from the team they also appreciated the truth in it.

After a huge peak, after a huge success, what comes next?

After an intense period of working closely with good people to achieve something bordering on impossible, what comes next?

When the meaning for your efforts reaches a conclusion, what replaces it?

For me personally, I’m not sure.  The CFS continues to bite and so I’m taking some time out to relax and figure things out.  Seems like the kind thing to do, and I get the feeling there’s a lot to learn.

But I do know a couple of things.

There’s a peculiar resonance to those connections you make when creating something impossible.  A resonance that makes them all the more intense and memorable.

It’s like your relationships and connections have their structure aligned by the frequency of your circumstances.  Connections made with people doing something average or ordinary will feel average or ordinary.  Connections made with people during something extraordinary will feel extraordinary.

So the first thing I know – today of all days – is that I’m grateful to my team.  Thanks guys.

The second thing I know is this.  I know that if I let myself absorb and integrate what I’ve done over the last few weeks, I’ll come out with something pretty amazing.

I’m going to let whatever happens next take shape without forcing it or needing it to take shape.  I’m not going to search for something meaningful to do next, I’m going to relax.  I’m going to let meaning come to me.

Comments Off on Rihanna’s Left Me, Now What?
Sep 17

pianoI have over £50,000 worth of debt.

Gulp.

It’s debt I racked up during my high-living twenties (earning some decent money for the first time in my life, I thought I’d live like I was earning 4 times my salary) and after I was laid off back in 2001, when I lived off credit for a good couple of years.

I’m in a debt management plan with my creditors, paying off a tiny amount each month to each of them, which I’ll be doing for the next 12 years.

The constant drip, drip, drip of the debt hanging over me has been the course of some genuine stress over the last few years, and while I’m earning great money in my freelancing work with some nice additional income on the side from coaching, there are times when the burden of debt means that I have to borrow money from my mates for things like train fare and food.

It would be embarrassing if it wasn’t so familiar.

Considering that I’ve only been doing it for 2 years, my freelancing earns me more than double of any job I’ve had before, which I’m astoundingly grateful for.  I affords me the ability to work for 3 months and then take a month or two off to focus on coaching.

But it means I’m fiscally reliant on a job that I’m good at but not really that interested in, so that I can manage my debts and give me a little space to work on what I’m really passionate about.  If I had no financial constraints, there’s no way I would do the daily trek to London, working myself loopy doing work that doesn’t really matter to me.

Add to that the reality of trying to cope with chronic fatigue syndrome while working in that same break-neck workplace and trying to build a business on the side so that I can go full time with it in the medium term.

Looking back, I can’t believe how fucking stupid I was to get myself into this much debt.  It’s easy for me to get frustrated with the situation and wonder just how the hell I can move things forward without making myself sicker or losing a piece of my soul.

The simple thought of waking up with no debt hanging over me brings lightness to my movements and relief to my breath.

But that’s not the reality I’m faced with, and the game I find myself in is one entirely of my own making.

At this point you might be asking yourself, “Okay, I get it, you’re a financial dumb-ass, what’s this got to do with anything?”

Good question.

It would be easy for me to give up.  To quit coaching and just focus on the freelancing, making as much money as I can as quickly as I can. It would be easy for me to quit, to sell my home to pay everything off and focus on getting well.

Sometimes those options seem really tempting.

But despite the situation I find myself in, despite the demands I place on myself, despite the days when I’m thoroughly pissed off and despite the days when my bones ache, I still trust in my ability to make things happen.

I won’t let myself do a bad job, whatever I’m doing.  I know what I’m like when I’m firing on all cylinders.  I know how it feels when I’m in the moment, at my best.  I know the talents I have and I know my strengths.  I know what matters to me and I know what doesn’t.

I know I’m better than the circumstances I find myself in.

And I trust all of those things.

That’s all confidence really is.

Being able to implicitly trust all the things you have, no matter how overwhelming the odds.

So while on paper I’m as broke as piano in a burning barn, I completely accept where I am and I know in my bones that who I am and what I’ve got is more than a match for the circumstances I find myself in.

Aug 25

flickr_com_photos_uaeincredible_1458303830On Saturday evening I found myself on a bar stool swigging a beer and chomping on a rump steak burger, medium rare.

This kid and his dad came in and sat on the 2 stools right next to me, and I spent the next 30 minutes hearing snippets of their conversation.

The young guy must have been 18, but to my advanced years he looked about 3.  Handsome, well dressed and full of life, I heard him tell his Dad that he knew he’d be successful and wealthy.  “I know I will. I just know I will.”

I heard him tell his Dad his big plan – how he was going to retake his A-Levels, then get a job in an advertising or marketing agency, didn’t matter which because he’d just learn what they did and move on, then start up a DJ business and open his own club.  He was bursting with ideas, and was certain in his future success, but something in what he was saying was niggling me.

His stoicism.

He was reeling off a list of things that he planned on doing, but none of it seemed personal.  He could have been reading from the phone book.

He was so focused on being successful and wealthy that it sounded to me like he’d come to believe that the end justifies the means.  He thought being successful and wealthy was an end-point in itself, a place where everything would become peachy enough for him to relax and be happy.

Success and wealth are NOT end points.  Success is simply how you define and derive meaning from what you do and wealth is just something that happens from time to time while you’re busy doing your thing.

I love how he had ideas, and I love that he was bright enough to have a plan based around those ideas.  Ideas are important.  Without ideas we’d be pushing everything around on square wheels or sitting in front of Fox News.

Ideas are particularly important for a generation of workers who are competing more than ever to get into the workplace and find meaningful work.

The folks over at Brazen Careerist have understood this, putting ideas at the centre of their new site (launched today; go take a look at some amazing people who I respect to pieces).

But while ideas are important, the thing to remember is that it’s easy to come up with them, you do it all day long.  Ideas are just thoughts; thoughts about what you could do, how you could do it, how things could be or how you could be.  Ideas are daydreams, meanderings, whisperings – sometimes solid and practical, sometimes nebulous and nonsensical.

Ideas are ten a penny, so what’s important are ideas that have a personal resonance, a meaning that makes inaction impossible.

What’s important is an idea that shares the same breath that keeps you alive.

It takes guts to recognise those ideas and it takes real confidence to give them space to grow.  It’s always safer to go along with the cheap, easy stuff.  It’s easy to go forwards when what’s on the line doesn’t matter to you.

When I spoke with this kid and his Dad, I got to like him, and I did see some sparks of fire and flashes of inspiration – he just needs to listen to them.

Comments Off on The Kid with Cheap Ideas
Jul 13

Little did I know when I wrote my ‘Taking a Break‘ post, that I’d be taking a break for over 6 weeks.

I honestly thought that I’d have a week off from writing and hop right back in the saddle with a ‘yee-haw’ and a mischievous twinkle in my eye.

The last few weeks with the CFS have been tougher than I expected, and I honestly have no idea how I’ve kept working so long.  There were times in the office where I didn’t have the energy to stand up, and my body was screaming at me to stop.

I’ve got so many layers of aches and pains I’m like a giant onion of hurt.

And so I’ve finally stopped working for at least 2 weeks, and I gotta tell you – it feels great.  I don’t have to do anything.

I know what I’m like though – I’ll start feeling antsy that I’m not doing anything and start thinking of how I can be productive during my time off.  What can I be getting on with, what projects can I pick back up and get going with?

I’ve missed you guys so I’ll more than likely do a little bit of writing, but I’ve made myself a promise for the next couple of weeks that will stop my spiralling need to do stuff – my first priority is to do whatever my body wants, and everything else is secondary.

It’s a chance to put my body and health ahead of anything else, and it’s an opportunity I’m really grateful for.

I’m most certainly going to get over this, and my confidence in that fact is down to the fact that I’m still laughing.  Even when the room was spinning and I felt like throwing up, I was laughing with my colleagues about silly stuff.

I still know what matters to me.

The second I stop laughing I know I’m beaten, and that’s not about to happen.

So that’s why I trust that my body will heal and that’s why I’m confident that I’ll come out of this more ‘me’ than ever.

I might be down temporarily, but I’m most certainly not out.

May 27

So I just turned 38.  I’m not normally someone who uses birthdays as a marker to measure progress, but this birthday made me realise something that I’m not very comfortable with.

I’m exactly where I was a year ago. With the added bonus of post viral fatigue.

This is something I’m not happy with.

You see, I’ve been sprinting hard for the last year.  Freelancing, writing, working, coaching, with some playtime in between.  I’ve been pretty non-stop, but despite all of that motion I haven’t moved forwards.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some great people, made some amazing connections, increased my readership and had some fun.  I’m grateful for all of that.  I am.

But I’m still in the same place in life, doing the same things, and there has to be some significant changes in the next year.

I need to stop hiding.  I need to get out there in the world and do what matters to me.

One of my favourite pieces in my Truly Confident Living method is my “What the Hell” exercise, and I need to say ‘What the hell‘ a lot more.

I need to stop putting 90% of my energy into freelancing, something that earns me good money but doesn’t light me up.  I’ve known that for a while, but haven’t taken positive action about it.  This hit home when my family read some of my blog posts (which was kinda scary and exciting) and were so glowing about my writing that they all chimed in saying that I’m ‘wasted‘ in my freelancing work and how much talent they think I have.  They’re biased of course, but it was refreshing to hear.

I need to cut right back on the booze.  Again, I’ve known this for a while but it was made clearer when a reader emailed me a few days ago saying, “I’m finding a real disconnect between writing about building confidence and your frequent references on Twitter to your drinking bouts.

If I’m honest, I’ve been using drink as a way to switch off, and that just isn’t serving me well.  That has to stop.

I need to be more generous.  With all the work required in sprinting to stand still, I forgot about generosity.  I’ve become too inward looking and that’s something that does me a disservice.  I know that I step into my potential when I engage with a generous spirit, so I’ll be more free and less cautious with that.

I need to get back to my fiction writing, which I’ve neglected because a. I haven’t had time and b. it’s hard.  This means a lot to me, and I get a huge amount of pleasure from it.  I will get my novel published.

To be honest with you, writing this post, I feel like a bit of a fraud.  I’m supposed to be all over this stuff, right?  I’m supposed to be on top of my game; an example.

Just goes to show how easy it is to forget what’s important and to get sidetracked.  It’s so easy to keep yourself busy and look into the lives of others, but not take the time to look into your own life.

What I do know is that I have the tools to change things, and I’m not afraid of a bit of brutal honesty.  Confidence is being able to make choices that serve you well; choices that honour what’s important to you.  I know about this stuff.

What I need to do is put what I know into practice and get into a new, bigger, better game. I’ll be doing some real work on all of this and I’m about to sign on with a new coach so that I’m fully accountable.

You can help too, if you’re willing.  I want you to hold me to things – hold me to everything I’ve said here and call me on it if you see me not doing something.

A scene from the old TV show Fame just popped into my head.  Curly haired piano playing genius Bruno Martelli had been approached to write some jingles for a TV ad, and he’s not sure whether he should compromise on his vision for his music or go ahead and make a quick buck doing some easy work.

He plays a piece of classical music for his teacher and mentor, Mr Shorofsky, that amply demonstrates his talent and passion.  When he finishes playing, Mr Shorofsky pauses, then says,

Very good, Mr. Martelli. But you can do better, and you know it.

Bruno cancels the jingle work without another thought.

I can do better.  I know it.  Things WILL change.