Belief is confidence toward an expected result. It’s the expectation that what you say and what you do is true. Belief is such a powerful word to a leader that it’s the common denominator to a leader’s performance necessary for success. There is powerful influence from a leader who believes where they are going. All great teams that succeeded had leader’s who believed. A leader must have the belief that their actions matter and that their final outcome will be successful. I was recently working with some leaders who were experiencing some exceptionally fast growth in their business and I asked them what they thought caused the change? They answered, “We really started to believe that we could do this.” Belief changed their performance. Additionally, their new found belief inspired their team that resulted in new outcomes. An aspiring leader will have little influence without unwavering belief. Someone not achieving their expected results needs to check their commitment that comes from belief. A leader without belief will be detected like a blip on a radar screen. If you don’t believe in where you are going no one else will either. It seems like our country is in dire need of more leaders with belief. LIFE Leadership is filling the void by providing cutting edge information to restore the belief that each of us can make a difference.
Our thinking makes a difference. It effects our attitude. Our attitude effects our habits. Our habits effect our results. A leader who has belief has confidence that their performance will lead to the expected results. Actions demonstrate the belief in what you are doing. It’s the belief that you will be successful at the end of your performance that will drive you. You don’t need all the facts to have belief. On the other hand, belief must be realistic or it becomes a fantasy. An example of a fantasy is that you don’t possess a skill necessary to achieve your goal. If you believe that you can dunk a basketball but don’t have the skill, it’s a fantasy. Michael Jordan had both the physical skill and the team building skills necessary to have influence with his team. On the other hand, however, skills necessary for leadership can be learned. Can you learn to listen to another person or cast a vision for your team? Can you be unwavering in principles and develop the character necessary to influence others? No one will follow a leader if a leader is constantly wavering or would sell out their principles. Without principles as a foundation a leader’s influence will wane.
Why is there a leadership void in our country? Do you see trends where people in a position of influence sell out their principles? Claude M. Bristol writes in ‘The Magic of Believing,’ “Be aware of the forces at work in this country that would destroy initiative.” Complacency rises as our belief declines because lack of belief leads to a lack of initiative and ambition. Media, school systems, and government all influence our confidence to believe in our performance.
For example, the school system promotes conformity and resists creative thought. The optimal learning environment doesn't happen when we are taught to stay in order and face the front, or when we are taught to stand and move on a bell. Don’t break rank! Compulsory schooling teaches, bells, order, and standardized tests. Today, families are preparing their kids to pass standardized tests shortly after birth to give them what they believe is the competitive edge in the ‘workforce.’ When we begin to fear violation of sequence there is decreased experimentation and diminishing curiosity. Only one hundred years ago we were free from regimentation.
This programming feeds directly into the saying, “Keeping up with the Joneses.” (See The Financial Matrix) Easy credit shifts our focus toward consumerism. Consumer spending and instant gratification steal our self esteem. Once our nation achieved goals through delayed gratification and sacrifice. Is it a wonder that today as a nation, finances are our greatest problems? Psychologist Erich Fromm writes, “Living in a market economy, man feels himself to be a commodity…his self esteem depends on conditions beyond his self control. One’s self esteem is bound to be shaken and in constant need for confirmation from others.”
How many of us feel we deserve success? Do you have a fear of failure? Maxwell Maltz writes in ‘Psycho cybernetics,’ “95% of people have feelings of inferiority to some extent.” Feelings of inferiority come from the way we judge ourselves or measure ourselves compared to others (The Joneses). We see a decline in self confidence to believe that the our actions will lead to a desired result. We come to the conclusion that something is wrong and we are not worthy.
There are guidelines to improve our belief. We can expect that our actions will lead to something meaningful if we apply certain principles. George Leonard in his book, ‘Mastery,’ lists five specific areas to improve our belief:
- Expect resistance
- Understand and embrace change to circumnavigate resistance.
- Develop a support system.
- Develop comfort from regular practicing.
- Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning.
French novelist Andre’ Gide writes, “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose site of the shore for a very long time.” You will not use your imagination unless you believe it’s possible. Imagination leads to the creation of the end result. Read what Paul G. Stoltz Ph.D writes in his book ‘Adversity.’ “Creativity thinkers have belief that gives them a higher threshold of tolerance to uncertainty and complexity.” If you ever worked with top leader’s Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady you’ll know that they thrive on making adjustments to improve a process. There is an old saying, “Don’t break it if it ain’t broke.” Leaders on the other hand say, “If it ain’t broke, break it.” Businesses often fail from lack of innovation. Another business innovation then overtakes them and soon they are out of business. By breaking your own business you insure that your competitors won’t overtake you. Belief gives one the self confidence necessary to break out from the past and believe in the future.
Great leaders of the past became known because they believed in their cause. They had unwavering principles. This helped them overcome insurmountable odds. You and I enjoy most of today’s creations because someone took a risk and believed in their imagination to innovate change. It’s time to believe again. It’s time to reframe our thinking of past failures. Instead, think of those past failures as experiences placed in our path to help us learn and grow. It’s time to believe in yourself. Read Claude M. Bristol again, “To learn systems of success, I sought out successful people who gave me the keys for getting what I wanted out of life.” Align with a group of leaders and let’s get our country believing again. God Bless, George Guzzardo