I have a friend who recently lost her job after working at the company for over 30 years. She's one of the smartest people I know, so while we were having lunch days after it happened I told her that she should look at it as an opportunity to maybe do something else, something big that could make her a lot of money and have a chance to live a life she might love.

Common Domestic Kratt (Krattus Krattus)
Anita via Compfight

She listened to my words... but she didn't act on them. Instead, she started applying for all sorts of jobs that, in my mind were beneath someone of her intellect. I understand what it's like being out of a job and trying to find something to bring income into the household. At the same time, I was never one to limit myself to low hanging fruit until I absolutely had to.

I know a lot of people who believe that their path in life is set at a young age. Go to school, get a diploma, get a job, don't make waves, rinse, repeat, retire. Sure, every once in a while one of them gets a promotion into leadership, but it happens rarely. Leadership positions scare a lot of people.

What's even scarier is taking a chance on one's own and seeing what they can do with it. I understand this one very well. It took a great leap of faith those 14 1/2 years ago when I decided to try things as a solo entrepreneur. Over the course of time, I've had some major successes as well as some major stress. Life isn't perfect to any degree.

Yet, I've had some great adventures, traveled to places I never thought I would, spoken to people in 9 states and got paid for it, flown first class so often I started to feel I was entitled... aah, it's been a lot of fun.

You want to know a truth? As much as I enjoy working on my own, it takes a lot of courage to even try. I had my hand forced so I went with it. When I got into it, I literally knew nothing except how to do the work I wanted to do. I didn't know anything about marketing or sales. I didn't know anything about sending out letters, and email was still relatively new.

I had written a few things, but nothing like what I would accomplish later on. I'd never even thought about creating a project, let alone writing books. I wasn't afraid to speak in front of people, but to actually stand in front of a bunch of people and get paid to do it? Who'd have ever thought.

You know what I did have? I had the self confidence to at least give it a try. I knew that if I believed in myself that good things could come out of it. After all, I'd already had a nice track record of that sort of thing happening throughout my life, so why couldn't it happen by going it alone?

No matter what you decide to do in life, you have to believe in yourself. It's not as easy as it sounds; I know that because most people I meet don't come close to believing in themselves. They're ready to allow someone to talk them out of things instead of thinking for themselves or believing in themselves enough to shut out the noise of discouragement.

I'm one of the few lucky ones. My wife went along with my trying to have this kind of life. My parents worried for a short while, then came along; that's what parents do.

Won't is can't
Stephen Hampshire
via Compfight

I didn't have a single friend tell me I was crazy for trying. I kept expecting someone to try to talk me out of it, but it never happened. I think it's because my life had been a pattern of telling myself I could do it if I only tried. If I didn't think I could do something, I didn't do it, which is why it turns out I can't paint or use a hammer (that's a shame isn't it? lol).

In my opinion there are six stages to get through:

Being comfortable in the knowledge or talent about something - no matter what it is, you have to look deep into yourself, acknowledge what you're good at, and determine what you believe your worth is at that particular thing.

Believing that you're as good as, if not better, than others in doing something - this is not conceit but a true assessment of your skill level when you compare yourself to others doing the same thing. There are a lot of folk who will tell you that you should never compare yourself to others. That's new age thinking; life is about competition, whether you always win or not.

Being willing to contemplate action steps - these apply whether you want to work for yourself, work in a particular industry, work your way up the ladder, work your way towards a certain level of pay... as well as things in your personal life.

Courage - action steps mean nothing if you never have the courage to put something into action.

Learning how to self motivate - we all have patches of time when we're in mental distress, whether it's because something isn't going right or we're unsure of our actions. It takes courage to start something; it takes self motivation to keep you on course.

Showing others your belief in yourself and your skills - unfortunately, none of us can succeed in a vacuum. If you're a writer, you need buyers to succeed. If you're working at your job you need to impress the right people to get a promotion or more money. If you're a consultant, you have to market yourself and let people know what you're good at because they're probably not going to find out any other way.

If you believe in yourself with all your heart, others will have to believe in you. When you succeed, they succeed; people love hanging around with winners. 🙂