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Posts Tagged ‘confidence’

While studying India as a college student, I was so inspired by the principles by which Gandhi lived his life that I decided to emulate them as much as possible. So much so, that many months prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq I called one of my best friends and asked, “If I don a white robe, walk down to Washington DC, and sit in front of the White House in protest, will you join me?” The long, hesitating pause was all I needed to know. And it was soul-crushing.
 

Something tells me that prior to taking a stand against British colonialism, Gandhi did not call his best friend.
 

Needless to say, I tried to live my life with a humility I believe Gandhi possessed. I never wanted the spotlight, or to be the #1 guy, or the CEO, or the leader. In fact, I often say, “I don’t want to be the leader, but I will make the best damn #2 guy you will ever have.”
 

Then, about 7 years ago, I joined Toastmasters. (Toastmasters is a phenomenal organization that develops your public speaking and leadership.)
 

True to form, at first I simply listened and admired the amazing speakers in my club. Then I started taking roles to support the group and be in service to them. Then, when asked, I took on leadership roles in the organization – but never the role of president. Over the course of time, I also began speaking.
 

At each meeting, the club would vote for best speaker. I won best speaker awards and best impromptu speaker many, many times. Apparently, I was good at this.
 

However, I never voted for myself when the club voted for best speaker. Keeping with what I thought were Gandhi-like principles, I would always vote for someone else, even if I spoke during that particular meeting.
 

Then it dawned on me.
 

If I don’t vote for myself, if I don’t believe in myself, why should anyone else? It was a HUGE shift and lesson. It was very hard for me to do, but I did finally vote for myself. That act turned out to be an extremely important piece of my personal growth and confidence.
 

A few weeks ago I returned to Toastmasters after a 2-year hiatus. At that particular meeting I was asked to speak on an impromptu topic, which I happily did. I truly enjoy speaking and inspiring others when I can. There were 3 other people that spoke on impromptu topics that night. Falling back into my old ways, I voted for someone else rather than myself.
 

In an unusual twist of fate, as if the Universe wanted to hammer home the message, I was asked to help count the votes to see who the club thought was the best speaker that night.
 
 
 

I lost by one vote.
 

Message heard loud and clear.
 
 
 
If I am not for myself, who will be for me.

– Hillel
 

We each hold a magnificence and inspiration inside ourselves. All too often though, we allow it to die on the vine of doubt, approval or humility. But this is absurd! Who we are, and what we have to say, is divinely inspired. Our souls are gifts meant to be shared with the world. As unusual as this might sound, each time we withhold what is inside we are actually being selfish.
 

Interestingly, the rest of Hillel’s wisdom states –
 

If I am not for myself, who will be for me. But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?
 

I cannot think of better words to encourage belief in yourself . . . sprinkled with the humility of Gandhi. Perhaps this was the wisdom Gandhi listened to when he donned his white robe and began his walk.
 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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I recently took a few classes in Tae Kwon Do, the martial art originating in Korea.

 

I gotta admit, I took them because of a Jason Stratham movie. Well, not so much because of the movie, but rather what I saw in the movie – the quiet confidence both lead characters had knowing they could defend themselves and those they loved. It was that confidence that finally motivated me to explore martial arts, something I wanted to do for a while.

 

But I was surprised by what I experienced in my first class.

 
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Shortly after I walked in, I saw two students quickly moving through their forms (a pattern of motion). Their speed and movement was aggressive, and I immediately felt myself draw back thinking that this is not what I wanted. I am not an aggressive person.

 

During the class, there were many times when we were supposed to forcefully vocalize a sound to accompany our motions. This felt almost impossible for me to do, and if I made the sound 5% of the time, that was a lot. But making this sound was important. It provided additional power to the movement and I felt the difference it made when I did it. Still, I struggled.

 

Feeling my power with this much intensity was new to me. Striking. Hitting. Defending. Kicking. It was not who I am. I am more peaceful.

 

But the practice of all martial arts is not about striking, hitting, or kicking. It’s about owning your power, feeling your power, being confident that you know how to use it, and most importantly, consciously choosing when to use it.

 

By the end of the class I felt quite different having accessed that part of me that is so powerful and feeling what it was like to not be afraid of what I am capable of. Just like the movie, I felt more confident. I noticed I was standing taller and felt more firmly grounded when I walked.

 

Even after just one class, I had a greater understanding of the quiet confidence I sought – It is one thing to know and have access to your power. It is an entirely different thing to actually use it.

 

Don’t be afraid of either, for I am convinced that this is the place from which your ability to change the world is sourced.

 

The measure of a man is what he does with power.

– Plato

 

Power is not something we hold over people. That is fear or domination. True power is the understanding that you are capable of anything and can exercise that power to manifest your dreams or the dreams of others. Power is something that is sourced from within and given to others, or the world. That is true power.

 

So, how will you choose to use YOUR power?

 
If this video doesn’t inspire you, or at least reach deep down inside you and plant the seed of wonder, begging the question, “What am I capable of? What is my true power?” than perhaps nothing ever will.
 

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