Step One: Believe in Yourself
‘be·lief’: trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something
“Hey Dad, do you think I can really do it?” Asking that question was the first time I risked hearing an answer I knew I did not want to hear. Luckily, my father didn’t hear the question, but my mom did, and like any other kind mother would, she leant over and whispered, “you can do anything if you try hard enough” into my ear!
For most people, belief is an interesting thing. My three boys made me understand belief on levels that I never imagined. But let’s go back before I was a dad. I can remember always believing in myself – but strangely, I just did not see it. If you think that statement doesn’t make sense – let me explain. I am currently mentoring an amazingly smart person who has managed to create a wonderful life from nothing. Sure, she had support from her family and she didn’t grow up poor. And yes, she was given the tools to believe in herself but I still had to point out to her as she starts her own company that belief in one’s self is manifested in the execution. When you decide to actually “do” something, this is a sure sign of believing you can. When you are told what to do on the other hand, you don’t get the chance to exercise self-belief. The line between thinking ‘when will they see that I am completely full of shit?” and “hell yeah, I got this” is so thin, it can blur your thinking. Belief, however is the triumph over the first in my opinion.
How is it possible that a group of highly motivated people can assemble and create something of value? Every good start-up has that. Some are big and some are small, however the collective belief in both the individual and the group are what sets successful ones apart from those that struggle.
In my career, I have been blessed in dealing with some shockingly closed-minded board members and advisors. By close-minded, I mean people who thought they were brilliant and were in actual fact simple minded, arrogant and not very smart. All of them were dismissive of new ideas, and never believed in their younger members and you know what – almost all of them have all gone on to spectacular careers mirrored by one failure after another. Seeing these types of people in action, presiding over young leaders and closing their minds to the future, taught me a valuable lesson about belief. If you want to create leaders, you need to believe in them. To believe in others, you need to believe in the devilishly handsome person staring back in the mirror (sorry, that’s me in my case ☺). They didn’t – and it proved detrimental to them.
I am fortunate enough to meet people who are much more successful than me. I recently met a man who washed cars when he was young and now is a billionaire. I asked him if he ever doubted he would be successful and he quickly answered, “fuck yeah, every day!”. We all doubt ourselves, it’s only human, however if we keep going back to the belief, that self-doubt will eventually become commonplace and you’ll learn to trust your gut. At Billaway, we are facing a very important juncture. We are faced with challenges we never expected (we all hope for growth but who really expects to exceed growth WAY faster than planned?) We work together, laugh together, drink, eat and even bowl together and believe that by trusting each other and working as a team we will learn the things that we currently don’t know- together.
We are changing the world one tiny step at a time and in doing so, we are bringing a brand-new way for consumers to pay for mobile airtime (talk/text/data). We believe we can do it and guess what? WE ARE!
The best part of my day is telling the people in my life “I believe in you”. Try it. It goes a long way at helping them believe in themselves and sometimes all someone needs is a little push. As I tell my children all the time, anything is possible if you try hard enough and just when you want to give up is the time to double down. Never give up. And if the “light” at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train it’s probably time to run the other way.