The common theme in our culture today as it pertains to so called grinding, hustling…success, is “you must believe in yourself!”

I get it, truly I do.

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From a psychology point of view I don’t know if we really realize what holding that perspective does in the long-run to someone’s mind. To accomplish something, you don’t have to believe in yourself, you should shift your attention off of you and put it on the actions and skills needed in order to do what has to be accomplished. Your success isn’t about your self image, it’s about acquiring particular sets of skill.

For example, if I wanted to be a speaker, believing in myself isn’t the first thought in my mind. The thoughts in my mind should be 1) how can I learn some presenting skills, and 2) is the message I want to bring, valuable for the audience? Who I am never comes into view. You know that your identity is involved if you make statements and ask questions like, “I’m the best at what I do!” “I’m confident and assured!”… “Why would they listen to me???” or “Who am I to speak to them??”

Notice that none of those statements recognize the people who are to be served, it’s all about the self.

Let’s slow down and be more practical about things. I know we feel good listening to motivational talks but often times they aren’t around when you have relational problems later in life because you don’t know how to progress through your own skill progression or transition.

When you connect your identity to your success, you are more apt to take advantage of other people who are supposedly bricks to step on or you are more likely to suffer from lack of self-confidence in high anxiety moments. Why? Because if your identity doesn’t get affirmed through the success you have connected it to, then you will either move aggressively to protect your “existence” or feel overwhelmed by the moment.

Take a breath.

Figure out the skills needed.

Plan to learn them.


Then deliver.

Trust me, your identity is something altogether different than what our culture is trying to say it is. Don’t let their marketing dollars affect your psychology.

Click here to read an article about the experience of retirement for elite athletes. See how the mind operates when you connect your identity with the things you do.

Click here to read another elite level athlete talk about how connecting your identity to skills affect your psychology. Here’s a quote from the article,

“I wrapped my identity and self-worth up into how hard I climbed and even the number on the scale – equating success in climbing, extreme self-control and deprivation with being a good human being,” Emily wrote. “It affected my self-confidence, my health, my relationships, everything.”

Your performance is not your identity. To perform and accomplish, believe in the fact that you can learn. Simple. #PushForward

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