Originally posted on February 6, 2013 by John Dessauer

A few months back I was in Aruba (I know, I know, tough life…) speaking to a group of real estate investors. My talk was mostly spent on delivering ideas that will help their business in the coming year. I also did an exercise called a SWOT analysis.  This is an exercise that helps business owners discover strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is a powerful exercise that helps the business owner and entrepreneur.  The analysis helps to develop a blueprint for exploiting strengths and opportunities, improve weaknesses, and prepare for threats.  Going through the exercise, I have noticed that other things typically arise that may be holding the entrepreneur back. The one thing I noticed in Aruba was self-confidence.

I have noticed that even though people are in business, or are going into business, they may not have the self-confidence that they should. Self-confidence is nothing more than being o.k. with some degree of failure. A person without self-confidence may ask, “what if I look stupid, or what will they think of me?” A confident person should be asking questions like, “What is the worst that could happen?” OR, “Will I ever see these people again if I fail?”

By the way, if you do see those people again, they probably have taken some pleasure that you have failed. It is unfortunately, human nature. These aren’t the kind of people that you want to be associated with anyway. That is the essence of where confidence is built, with the main ingredient being experience.

Experience teaches us that the stepping-stone to confidence, like success, is failure. My advice? Fail fast, early and often. Failure is your quickest way to self-confidence. If you have no self-confidence, you simply haven’t failed enough. I know that it seems backwards from how we should act, but trust me; failure is where I have cut my teeth.

Not only have I failed, but I also take full responsibility for it. I have trusted the wrong people, I lost money (a lot of it), I have made bad real estate deals, brought on the wrong partners, made bad decisions with my children, I let my health go, and the list goes on and on. But through it all, I have gained a lot of things through learning from those failures.

For instance, I am married to the absolute best person in the world. This is something that would not have happened had I not failed. Our companies are not only growing and thriving, but they are financially stronger than ever before. I watch what I eat and am exercising regularly (okay, don’t get too excited about that one, I started October 1st!). Finally, I am more confident about our future than ever in my existence.  Through it all, I am pretty sure that there are people out there that want me to fail. They are not achieving in their lives and don’t want to see anyone else do well either. There lies my fuel…

Three things I would like to have you think about with regard to what other people think. Other people’s thoughts are the corrosion to self-confidence, unless you use it to your advantage.

1. Respect yourself enough to walk away from anyone or anything that doesn’t serve you, grow you, or make you happy.

2. I believe we are who we choose to be. Nobody is going to come and save you. You have got to save yourself. No one is going to give you anything. You have got to go out and fight for it.  Nobody knows what you want but you, and nobody will be more upset if you don’t get it than you. Don’t let anyone come between, or interfere, with your dreams. By letting them do that you give them power that they currently do not (and should not) have.

3. The entire water of all the oceans of the world can’t sink a ship if the water can’t get inside. Just as all of the negativity of the world can’t bring you down if you don’t let it take over you!

A lack of self-confidence is an internal thing. It is internally based on external conditions that you assign value to. Take other peoples thoughts of you for instance…Forget about people that are going to judge you with your failures.  Their thoughts don’t and never will matter. They don’t know that you and your self-confidence are under construction. Believe in yourself and change the world.

“Remember, wealth has nothing to do with money, success has everything to do with failure, and life is as simple as you make It.”

– John Dessauer