Life is best described metaphorically as continuously transitioning through each of the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Truly successful people are not those who try to avoid certain seasons; they choose to embrace, overcome, and thrive as they seamlessly flow between seasons, regardless of how long or difficult each one may be.
Successful people don’t just overcome the difficult season of winter but actually thrive during the harsh cold. They also blossom throughout the spring, reap a lush harvest during the summer, and adequately prepare for the fall and winter that inevitably follow. Such cyclical expectations and preparations are mindsets that are key to sustained and against-the-odds success.
Here are five tips on how to be confident and courageous through every season of your life:
1. Fuel future successes with past achievements. It's easy to feel like a failure after a particularly harsh setback and even the most empowered of us can, at times, doubt ourselves. No matter where you are in your career or life, however, you have undoubtedly done something that has made an impact.
You need to take the time mentality to be proud of any successes you might experience. Not every past achievement needs to be profound, but you can find those times you made a difference in the world and know that you can do it again.
2. Regularly invest in "The Power of You." Do you ever get to the end of the day, week, month or even year and feel like you haven't accomplished anything? Chances are you've accomplished much more than you realize but without any tangible, physical evidence it can be difficult to bring those accomplishments to mind.
A great way to create a visual bank of your accomplishments is to make deposits in what I call, “The Power of You Jar.” Every time you accomplish something or do something good, write it down on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. Watching that jar fill up is empowering. Then any time you’re feeling bad or doubting yourself, just reach into the jar and get that reminder of what you’ve already accomplished.
3. Channel your inner prize fighter. You can learn a lot from boxers. They spend three minutes fighting each round and 60 to 90 seconds resting. During that time in between rounds they are getting refueled, receiving advice, and getting encouragement. They have a whole training team that is supporting them and speaking life into them.
Can you imagine how disastrous it would be if the boxer’s trainer said, “You're going to lose” or “You should quit”? Any doubt during a fight could lead to a knock out. Yet we allow negative people in our corners all the time—people who are not encouraging and people who don’t help us. Is it any wonder we are getting knocked down?
When channeling your inner prize fighter, it's important to not only come out of your corner swinging but when you're resting and rebuilding in between rounds, make sure the people with you are truly in your corner.
4. Cease self-doubt with an actual "Stop" sign. If there's one piece of self-help advice you've heard ad nauseam, it's probably, "Don’t speak or think negatively." Wonderful advice and for many, it can be next to impossible to follow. Even if you've attended the most incredible motivational seminar or are pumped up from a motivational book or video, the principles you've learned and the changes you want to make often quickly fade in following weeks or months.
An effective way to keep that motivational level up and to make those changes stick is to use visual cues. If you want to stop thinking negatively, for example, get an actual stop sign. It doesn't have to be full sized, just big enough to be a reminder. Put it in your office, your bedroom, or wherever it needs to be visible. Then any time you are doubting yourself, you can see the stop sign, and this will be the reminder to hit the brakes and get back on track.
5. Don’t outsource your success. If you have achieved something, surmounted an obstacle, or had any sort of triumph, take credit for it. If you find yourself saying, "It was nothing," or "I didn't really do much," people will believe it. This doesn't mean you should suddenly become a glory hog; however, it does mean that you can take credit where credit is due. Allow yourself to be seen as successful, and you will feel successful, too.
Some winter seasons in your life will be more challenging than others. The best way to get through those inevitable cold, harsh days is to take stock and give yourself credit for what you've already accomplished, surround yourself with people who support you, stop negative thinking at its onset, and allow yourself to acknowledge and enjoy present, in-the-moment pleasures. Doing so will give you the motivation and fire you need to be confident and courageous to work through any difficult season.
DeLores Pressley is an executive life coach, chief executive officer of DeLores Pressley Worldwide, and founder of the Global Up Woman™ Network, Canton, Ohio (www.delorespressley.com; www.launchlivesummit.com). She is author of How to Live an UP (Undeniably Powerful) Life.