As part of a leadership program, I have to attend talks about leadership once a month. The reason I’m telling you this is because there was this one talk I went to last week, which I think is worth sharing, especially given the society we live in today.
We had two guest speakers, both who have been incredibly successful in Australian sport. In the field of sport, you have so many people watching you, wanting to be just like you, and so yeah, they are leaders in this world.
The media will always give a biased opinion, and so how we perceive things will always be inaccurate unless we hear it from a first person perspective. In this case, the guest speakers were always exposed to the media because they had achieved a lot in Australian sport, and were hence often the centre of attention. However, what they told us (which we would have never inferred from the media) was extremely raw and important, and that is what I want to share with you.
Whether you’re a world famous athlete, creator, or academic, or you’re just a teenager in today’s society, you will always face judgment and critique. Wherever you go, people will always have an opinions on you and will make conclusions about what you can or can’t do. The fact that our society is so internet-orientated probably makes this worse because it means that we can just share something and immediately, people will form their judgments about what you post.
It’s hard because having an opinion about something is part of being human. It’s completely normal and we all do it. But what we have to be cautious about is how we express our opinions, because it can get to the point where you cause someone to feel unworthy, under pressure, or they feel as though you have put a load of expectations on them.
Because the guest speakers had started winning races and games, it eventually got to the point where people expected them to continue winning. Additionally, they had family, friends and fans, who they didn’t want to let down. Over time, this built up and caused them to feel under pressure as they felt like they HAD to do well to please everyone.
And that’s where the problem lies. You can’t please everyone. There will always be someone in this world who is unsatisfied with something you do.
As people, when we start to get good at something, we get more confident with it. And I suppose this is a good thing because confidence is a key trait that people strive for (Demi Lovato even wrote a song about it!). However, the time taken for us to lose this confidence is just a fraction of the time taken for us to build the confidence, because one harsh comment can just knock us down, and that’s just human nature. When we lose this confidence, we start to doubt ourselves and this causes us to slowly lose ourselves. But in order for us to succeed, we can’t doubt ourselves. If we want to do well, we can’t doubt ourselves. If we want to achieve a goal, we can’t doubt ourselves. So really, it’s not about confidence. It’s about self-belief.
For one to be successful, the first step one must take is to believe in yourself. As cliche as it sounds, it doesn’t matter if nobody else believes in you because you should be striving to achieve your goals for yourself. Yeah sure, it’ll be nice if other people are rooting for you as well, but at the end of the day, your goals will only affect you. If you believe in yourself and you think you can achieve something, then chances are, you are more likely to be successful! However, the other problem is that as people, we can’t help but consider what others think of us. It will get to the point where we don’t want to let people down, and I don’t want to sound cheesy, but those who care about you will still support you even if you do have a bad day. So don’t be afraid to try something different. Don’t be scared when you come across something that’s challenging, because if you believe you can do it, your loved ones will be supporting you. And if you don’t get there the first time round, you can always try again.