Have you noticed yourself getting stuck in your progress recently? Have you taken steps toward your goals, but then stalled on that progress for some unknown reason?
Believe it or not, this happens to all of us . . . but there is hope! Today, I’m going to share with you a key secret to confidence that almost no one uses. It only takes 30 seconds, and it applies to every situation in life: self-acknowledgement.
Picture this: just recently, I was running a Mastermind call with about twenty people. I typically start these calls by asking everyone to share their “wins” from the previous week. Normally, this is a morale boost and a happy moment for everyone . . . except for that, on this occasion, I heard nothing but crickets. So, I changed tactics:
“Ok, instead of sharing our wins, I want each person to tell me what’s going on with them right now—how do you feel when asked to think about your wins?”
Yet, every person I called on simply said that their wins weren’t big or good enough to share.
YIKES. Why had my group so suddenly lost its confidence?
This is actually a common problem that few people ever address: the tendency to downplay our successes (or ignore them altogether) because we believe that taking pleasure in them will stunt our progress.
Fact: wins beget other wins.
Think about how you feel when you exercise really hard: do you think to yourself, “Wow, that was a great work out—I think I’ll never do it again!”? When you have a very productive day, is it because you took pleasure in getting one job done and then decided to sit around eating bonbons?
So often, we think that celebrating our small wins means giving ourselves undue credit; that acknowledging ourselves will lower our expectations and make us complacent.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that success builds on success. Just like with our exercise analogy, when we get faster, stronger, and better in some way, we get excited! We feel the energy and positive charge of that accomplishment (no matter how small), and it makes us want to do more.
When we hit small milestones on the way to our ultimate goal, we are actually more likely to continue toward the finish line.
example: one of my participants in that same mastermind group has the ultimate
goal of being able to talk to anyone confidently and successfully, with freedom
and ease. Even though he’d been to three
separate social events in just the previous week (and prompted conversations
with no less than fifteen new people!) he didn’t recognize all of the amazing
progress he’d made because he was too focused on the couple of times
that he got too nervous to engage.
He’d taken giant steps forward, but he wasn’t celebrating them at all! He’d gotten tons of practice with his social fitness, done countless “reps” by making introductions and conversing fluidly, and taken himself completely out of his comfort zone when it would have been so easy to make an excuse to skip those social events. He was afraid to celebrate because he hadn’t met his goal in just seven days.
Now, do you think he felt inspired to jump right back into the tough work he’d been doing? Do you think it sounds like he was jazzed for more social interactions? If you said “No,” you’re absolutely right.
When we deny ourselves the opportunity to celebrate our small wins, it doesn’t inspire us to try harder—it just teaches us that there’s no pleasure to be found in the progress!
Sometimes we do this to ourselves because we assume that some people are just born with confidence, and that we will never have it no matter what we do. It’s a negative feedback loop that allows us to stay in our comfortable, antisocial bubble . . . and it’s complete and total BS.
Nobody is born with confidence—it is something that has to be learned and, in some cases, practiced. One way of doing that is by celebrating your wins.
So, how do we do that if it does not come naturally to us?
Well, for most of us who suffer from social anxiety, the desire to celebrate small wins does not come naturally—we’ve got to fake it ‘til we make it. In other words, we have to force ourselves to do it.
One habit I’ve formed over the years is to throw myself a mini-party. Whenever something goes right—I make a big leap in my business, or something wonderful happens to me, or I hit some personal milestone—I stop what I’m doing, put on some music, and take a few minutes to dance, jump around, cheer for myself, and generally bask in my success.
Yes, it’s ridiculous, and it makes me laugh . . . but that is the point.
Why is this seemingly absurd act so incredibly important? Because I am literally training myself to acknowledge what I’ve accomplished. I am learning to accept that each step forward I take matters.
If we don’t take the time to bask in our victories, we will never learn to take pleasure in the work.
If you want your journey toward ultimate self-confidence to be a total drag, then by all means—have at it. But, if you want to complete each new endeavor with the emotional juice necessary to fuel another leap forward, then you’re going to want to learn how to have fun doing it.
If you really want to take it to the next level, you can also practice a more socially acceptable version so that you can literally celebrate every single small victory no matter where you are: simply hold your fist in the air and exclaim, “YES!” You have to say it out loud, or it doesn’t count.
Not only is this teaching you to enjoy the process, but it is also simultaneously reinforcing the idea that wins are not just possible—they’re normal.
When we celebrate our wins, we remind ourselves and solidify in our psyches that success is something we can achieve.
This is essential when it comes to updating our failure identities. Most of us who have dealt with social anxiety tend to believe that things aren’t going to work out for us—we believe it so much that the condition of being an unlucky loser becomes part of our identity. Instead, we have to make our wins our defining characteristics:
“That’s just like me to make the sale!”
“Oh, look at that: I got another person’s phone number. That’s so me.”
“There I go again, making everyone around me happy!”
By altering our failure identities and learning to celebrate our wins, we will begin to change the way we see ourselves. This, in turn, will allow us to boost our confidence in every single area of our lives and change the way we exist in and interact with the world around us. Only then will we be able to enjoy the happiness we truly deserve.
Thanks for taking the time to be with me today. As always, I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences below! What successes have you been ignoring? Which wins, no matter how small, can you take a moment to appreciate and celebrate right now? Please let me know what you’re finding most valuable so that I can continue to learn from you and hone the content of these videos!
Until we speak again, may you have the courage be who you are and to know on deep level that you’re awesome.