"Believe in yourself. You can do it!" This is the message in about 75% of today's movies. And about 100% of graduation speeches. But as much as we hear this advice, we're still a little skeptical that all you need for success in life is a healthy dose of self-confidence.
After all, in the fable of the tortoise and the hare, wasn't it the latter who had the strongest belief in his ability to win?1
In the real world, whether you're trying to start a business or put away enough of a nest egg for retirement, it seems that success takes something more.
Renee Warren has a good idea of what this is. As a business owner and entrepreneurial coach she's worked with many people who have achieve remarkable success, both personally and financially. Writing for Entrepreneur, she tells us that the secret to these people achieving so much hasn't been their circumstances. Instead, it's been how they interpret and respond to their circumstances.2
In other words, their mindset.
No one is born a success, she says. How "cut out" you are to achieve your ambitions "depends more on your perspective than anything else."
For starters, the successful people she has known almost always have a specifically defined "why." Their end goal isn't necessarily a dollar amount, but what that dividend will allow them to achieve. The question they're able to answer (one that's directly applicable to retirement investing) is, "What do you want the money for?" Is it freedom? Is it security? What will it enable you to do?
Additionally, the successful realize that there will never be an ideal time to launch their initiative. Warren quotes personal development expert Angie Lee, who says, "Ready is a lie." If you keep waiting for ideal circumstances to present themselves, you'll never achieve your goal. Done is better than perfect.
In a related area, those who eventually succeed have a unusual way of looking at setbacks. Warren calls this "a healthy view of failure." The key is not to fear roadblocks but to expect them. And when they appear, embrace them as opportunities to be a problem solver.
And finally, they make the actions required for success part of their routine. Something they keep doing on a daily basis until it becomes a habit. Or as Warren puts it, "Consistency is your currency."
Whether it is investing for retirement or just succeeding in life, a little self-confidence can't hurt. Just remember that self-confidence alone isn’t going to be a strong enough motivator when the going gets tough.
And if you haven't clearly defined your "why" for your investment and retirement desired outcomes, you should do a little brainstorming with your trusted advisor.
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