Learning to Believe

Project Me

When it came to the process of building my best life and becoming the person I wanted to become, my only real obstacle was me. Sure, I believed there were many barriers at the time but looking back, I now understand there was only ever one thing that could really limit my possibilities and potential over the long term.

Although I’m not hugely talented, my problem was never total lack of talent. There’s not a lot but there’s enough to succeed. And while I’m no academic genius, my problem was not lack of intelligence or education. I didn’t have an abundance of either but I had enough of both. So too when it came to things like time, money, resources, opportunities and support. Like most people, I had an adequate supply. No, in the pursuit of excellence (or, at the very least, improvement) my biggest problem was always belief.

Actually, lack of belief.

In me.

Specifically, in my talent. My potential. My creativity. My like-ability. My writing skills. My ability to run and grow a business. To be a boss. A leader. A teacher. To say something an audience might want to hear. To be funny enough. Interesting enough. Good enough.

Everything enough.

To be more accurate, my problem was not really me but rather my (lack of) belief in me. Put up your hand if you relate.

Wow, that’s a lot of hands.

In reality, I (the physical, emotional, cerebral, spiritual creature that is ‘me’) was fine but the way I thought about myself, wasn’t. For a range of reasons, I had a pretty underwhelming opinion of me. Relate? Of course, I covered my insecurities and (perceived) inadequacies with humour and bravado (as all some blokes do) but all the while, I was actually convinced that I just didn’t have the ingredients for much more than mediocrity.

Not sure where those beliefs came from but there they were as real as the hair on my head and as limiting as a literal anchor around my neck.

Over time, I came to understand that, in order for me (my day-to-day reality, my life situation, my results) to change, my beliefs needed to change. In a big way. For me, the shift happened gradually and it generally came though doing.

Doing new things. Different things. Scary things. Things that took me away from my safe, familiar routine, habits, patterns and people. Things that forced me to sink or swim. Things that enabled me to grow, learn and see old things in new ways. Over the years I’ve done many things that scared the crap out of me but as Marilyn Ferguson once said:

“On the other side of fear is freedom”.

She was right. When you do something you’ve never done (especially something that challenges you), there’s an automatic and unconscious adjustment to your belief system. Your world view. Your ‘you’ view. Without even knowing (most of) you, I believe that you have what it takes to, not only survive, but to thrive, transform, overcome and succeed.  

The important question is, do you believe?

“Belief is critical. Talent is optional”.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

RoxbyMum February 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Fk me. You rock!

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Sandy Fishwick February 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm

This speaks to me loudly. I am reading a book at the moment by Dean Karnazes called “Confession of a all night runner” and a quote from his book sums it up for me. “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up”.

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Chris February 24, 2012 at 6:14 am

Awesome quote Sandy. I love it!

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Shopper Girl February 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Yes, my hand shot into the air with all those others. Very timely for me and not sure where to start but like Sandy’s quote here too. Guess I will start by ‘doing’…….. Thanks.

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Suu February 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I’m glad you took up the challenge of change. I still don’t know why you’ve influenced me to do better, be better, and have better. So whatever you’re doing please keep doing it.
Yesterday’s post had me laughing my guts out even though I know I wasn’t supposed to read it and today’s has me wanting to read tomorrow’s as well.

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Anonymous February 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm

So the thing that compensated for the lack of belief was courage?

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Mon :D February 23, 2012 at 5:34 am

WOW!!! … Love this post Craig!!! :D

I’ve embarked in starting my business in Group Fitness & was very scared if it was going to work out or not … I received my brochures yesterday & started taking them to local places: town shops, libraries & friends to spread the word and ended up talking to people who were very interested & keen.

This morning I woke up at 3:15 am with an overwhelming feeling of … what if it’s going to work BETTER than what I expected? and the venue is too small? … and you know, it’s scary but there is always a way to work around the fear, by embracing the moment and taking it one step at a time and learning to think ahead and have an action plan B if need be :)

I’m enjoying having left my secure permanent job to do something that I’m passionate about and requires much more dedication … That was one of the scariest steps I’ve taken & found it extremely liberating … My confidence built up whilst working for others and for myself in my own backyard and seeing people respond positively, this was part of the process of more self belief and that I could create my own story … and I feel Blessed and very Grateful to have my lovely Family & Friends who Believe in me too :)

Thank you Craig & Team for your continuous support, Love your work!!!
Big Hug, Luv
Mon :)

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Chris February 24, 2012 at 6:30 am

Wow Mon that is AWESOME, I wish the very best of luck to you!!

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Lu February 23, 2012 at 6:35 am

Great post! I’ve re-posted some of it to my FB page as I really like the stuff about challenging your world view and change. It’s fundamental to keep challenging yourself if you want to change and grow – not necessarily “improve”, but grow and not stagnate.

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Cardinal Cyn February 23, 2012 at 7:29 am

each time you push your own comfort-boundaries, it’s like investing in yourself. great stuff, Mr Harper

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Kayley February 23, 2012 at 7:46 am

Oh wow…..how time appropriate for me that you have written this. Of late, my belief in me has been minimal. I can completely and utterly relate to everything that you wrote Craig but can honestly say, the change is starting. Slowly I am starting to get out of my comfort zone, starting to do things that I have been putting off for years for numerous reasons and although they aren’t particulary scary, they are things that I never thought I was “good enough” to do. I guess I was afraid of failing.
I was talking to my trainer last night who as set up a bootcamp and she wanted me to tag along. All I kept thinking was, “she’s going to kill me…I’m not fit enough” blah blah blah. By the end of the conversation I thought to hell with it. Give it a shot. Believe in yourself and just stop thinking!
Hopefully during the days or years to come, that belief in myself will grow. But really enjoying my new life and am proud of what I am now achieving. Thanks again Craig!! :)

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Trish B February 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

A great post, Craig, and perfect timing. You caught me in the middle of a crisis of confidence, because I am currently stepping outside my comfort zone, and it’s scary out there!
There’s a great sense of community on this site: I could imagine hundreds of people shooting their hands up in the air and then taking time to rethink their individual approaches to their own particular challenges.
As always, thanks for your sane advice.

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Chris February 23, 2012 at 8:10 am

Oh yeah this is SO me. I really think this is the essence, the key, to unlocking potential and success … the hard thing though is how to get that belief!! I agree challenging the boundaries is a good start.

Hoping you will have more to say on this topic Craig, love it!

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Jen N February 23, 2012 at 8:34 am

You must be a secretive spy Craig because you were telling my story!

@ Sandy. I love that quote!

Have a wonderful day everyone!
:) :) :)

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Mazz (Mildura VIC) February 23, 2012 at 8:51 am

I am on a journey in 2012… already this year I completed Craigs 7-day challenge, started doing a Meditation workshop, am changing employers with a view to changing my career, and am getting in touch with what makes “me” happy… what is it that makes “me” complete… and that is my journey for the year!! I will keep growing this year and accomplish more spiritual and educational pursuits in the process…. Decide, Commit, Do, Finish, Grow, Repeat (thanks for that Craig!)

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Beach bear February 23, 2012 at 8:54 am

Thank you for writing about this Craig. This is such an important issue as i think a lot of us (i know this includes me) think that we are the only ones who feel like that about ourselves. I look at other people and i think wow look at how confident/successful/talented they are. Over time now though i have come to realise (through talking to lots of people like us) that this is not always the case….that often these people appear to be all these things but sometimes they are also feeling these self doubts and struggling with their own issues.

So i learnt a while ago (but still have to consciously rip myself into gear at times) to stop beating myself up by comparing me to everyone else in the world. To embrace my OWN talents and who i am and just get on with being me. Not easy by any stretch but necessary otherwise you spend your life worrying about things that dont exist.

Thanks everyone for your posts its great having this site that we can share with others :) Have a great day and know that you are all good enough!

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Hayls H February 23, 2012 at 10:12 am

this post definitely resonates with me too!
Since the doing project, I’ve been trying to do new things. Been saying yes to more things that I usually wouldn’t think twice about, and while I still get that feeling sometimes that I’m not good enough or worthy, I’ve found that these new experiences are having a positive impact in small ways.
I’m going to trust that the gradual shift as you say, has started, but i need to continue the ‘doing’ to get where I want to.

thanks for the words.

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Kerri A February 23, 2012 at 10:52 am

Thank you Craig – this was right on the money for me!

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Nashy February 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

A great article and it resonated more as I reflected on what I do. It’s a pity that in today’s world people (more often bosses) tend to focus on the negatives which in turn creates that self -doubt. I am experiencing that now and it is a challenge to keep the positive thoughts going when criticism is around every corner. The article is a great pick me up and at an excellent time to boost the morale.

Well done to Mon – that takes courage to live your dream – it will work because you will make sure it does.

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Kelly February 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Another keeper! Thanks Craig. ‘On the other side of fear is freedom.’ Love that!

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sarahsarah February 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I so needed to hear this, really great article ~ thanks Craig. I really liked the ‘ freedom on the other side of fear’ bit too.

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Cheryl February 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Craig this is so true and something I have to work on everyday. I had a major shift a couple of weeks ago when I fulfilled a desire of my heart. I went skydiving (keep in mind I am a few years older than you). WOW what an experience !!!!
I think the most powerful part has been to see how brave everyone thinks I am and how it is the one fear they would never want to face. It has empowered me and brought true freedom in so many areas – fear is but for a moment – freedom is forever :)
My greatest lesson – I learnt to trust Me

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Nikki February 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Thanks for that little pep talk. I am just about to reenter the work force again seeing both my kids are at school now. I’m petrified. I torment myself every night with self doubt because even though I’ve got years of experience under my belt, it is still new. New faces, new ways of doing things.
I hate being new, and I like to know everything all at once so I feel confident about what I’m doing. I know I’ll get there but I guess like most things, it’s not going to happen in overnight.
Take Care X

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chebbieanne February 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Confidence or learning to believe grows from having a go at things and then learning as you go. If you stress over not knowing everything from the start you are probably not going to be open to learning new stuff. I believe there is very little in life you cannot do if you really really want to and are prepared to put in as much effort as it takes to get it right. Sometimes it is scary how much you can achieve when you get going.

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Ilze February 23, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Hi Craig!

You have a great timing with your posts:)
Thank you for inspiring not only me but so many people!

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Roxy February 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Puts a new slant on ‘fake it til you make it’. If you can’t believe in yourself at the particular moment, fake it. Sometimes in that persona your confidence grows and you actually start to believe it. Another great article, I’m lovin’ the personal slant (you seem to ‘speak’ to people, myself included).

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Annie Mac February 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Craig this is an amazing post. It hits home all the way. I can identify so well. Most of my life has benn lived with a lack of self belief which this I am working on self belief. An attitude of I can. Posts like this give a feeling of being not alone in life’s journey and the realization that many are going through similar journeys is so comforting. It gives you the confidence to have a go. It’s inspirational. Thank you.

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Vanessa February 24, 2012 at 12:14 am

Thanks for this Craig. I have just had my first abstract accepted for a national/international conference, and I am so nervous that I was nearly going to pull out. Reading this has convinced me to take a deep breath and go for it.

Not sure if I believe yet, but willing to fake it til I make it.

Thanks again.

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Chris February 24, 2012 at 6:32 am

Interesting isn’t it how many of us this resonates with. Would love to hear more from you all how you try and overcome it, hearing success stories is very inspiring!

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Chenzo February 24, 2012 at 7:34 am

“To be more accurate, my problem was not really me but rather my (lack of) belief in me.”

I love that – so true…so many of us have suffered with that at one point or another.

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I Needed to Believe February 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm

It’s a shame you have to use swear words on your blog, lowers my view of you, but anyway everyone else thinks it’s ok, so in regards to this post, I have never thought fake it until you make it is a really good thing to do. See do you fake that the sexy man/woman you really want is your partner? Do you fake in the office that you are the CEO? Do you fake you are thin when you tuck into the pizza? I’m not getting what you are saying, and that’s ok, but self-belief can be delusion. Belief must be followed by action. On the other side of fear is freedom – but for some who have faced the fear and the paracute did not open, well they are on the opposite of something and it is not life. Believe in self but don’t be delusional. One cannot do anything.

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chebbieanne February 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Have you ever tried to fake it while you are working on making it? or do you just think about it and do nothing? If your partner is not the person you think you want do you stay together because you do not believe you can actually have a relationship with the sexy person you think about? Do you maintain a sexy healthy body? It sort of helps them to be attracted to you and yes I realise that is very superficial but you did raise the point. When you watch your CEO do you think what can I learn from them about running this company so I can do that job when I have learnt enough? and act accordingly. If you are fat and eat pizza you are only deluding yourself. Belief is knowing that you will lose weight if you eat properly and exercise in the right balance to achieve the body you want. Delusion is eating crap and wondering why you dont lose weight. Self belief is knowing that if you really want to achieve something you can find a way to make it happen. No one said it would be easy but if you believe in something enough there is always a way to make it happen. There will be hard work involved and disappointments and failures along the way but you will learn heaps and if you apply yourself eventually you get there. Delusion is thinking you can make things happen by just thinking about it. Your approval of Craig is irrelevant to the message he is trying to share. Focus on the lesson not the teacher and might get what he is saying.

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Suu February 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Craig? Are you ok?

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Michelle February 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm

You are so right, as usual. I love the quote “Beyond fear is freedom” I think I will steal it for my daily mantra

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