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When it comes to hitting any sort of goal whether it be personal or fitness - your mind will be tested, your determination will be tested and your resolve will be tested. Having a strong 'why' and reason will always keep you on track, but it is your confidence level that effects your delivery, which in turn determines your results.

Many people that know me tell me that I carry an air of confidence about myself. It’s true I am confident, but more so, I am confident within my abilities and my efforts. I’ve studied myself hard and I’m pretty aware of who I am. But the truth is I wasn’t always like this. It took time for me to work it out, it took time for me to really know what it meant to be 'confident', it has been a journey and the beginning of this journey came from a statement that I will never forget:

"You can’t do better than your best"

Before I was a trainer I use to be in sales. I was that lovely guy knocking your door at an ungodly hour trying to get you to sign up to something. The early stages of my sales career were extremely difficult, directly impacted by the fact that the job was 100% commision based. So every bad day came with the heavy reminder that my days effort will be fruitless. What further increased the pressure was the fact that the job praised the high performers and every night we celebrated their successes. Returning to the office to watch the celebrations felt like a personal attack on my confidence.

I have always had a resilient side, when I'm in - i'm in and giving up has always been something I've found difficult. So as much as I was disheartened by my failures, in equal measure there was still this little thing inside of me that wanted to push on and continue. But as time moved forward slowly I lost myself just going through the motions of life and the job.

Until one day a woman joined the company and absolutely smashed it. A lot of people had come through the business and started with a bang, but there was something different about her. So one day I decided to shadow her. Although I was not aware of it at that moment, I was really praying for some sort of miracle. I hoped to see something in her approach that greatly differed from everyone else I'd seen - be it a magical word she used, a particular hand gesture that hypnotized the customer or maybe some dishonesty (that way I could blame people success on the fact that they cheated.) But there was nothing. She repeated the lines the we had been taught and stood like she always stood. And as the day wore on I began to feel that I had wasted my time.

But as I reflected on the day there was something that really stood out. Regardless of the amount of times people told her no, her smile remained the same, her delivery, her energy, did not dip, as if the second she heard the response she forgot that she had just been rejected. A lot of people I have shadowed have kept their composure, but not like her. In witnessing this and being present in her resilience I had to ask:

“How do you keep your attitude how do you keep going?”

She paused for a while and replied with a question, “what is confidence?”

When she responded like this it knocked me back. I didn’t quite know how to reply and so I instinctively answered,

“Being good at what you are doing.”

She said, “confidence to me is knowing that I gave it my best shot, knowing there was nothing more I could do.”

And when she said those words, it was like a light bulb in my head had be switched on.

“Stephen, you can’t do better than your best.”

Those words have forever stayed with me. not only has it changed my approach to everything, but it has changed the way I feel about my approach. A lot of times in our lifes we live by other people's standards. We compare ourselves to what other people have accomplished. And it takes a high level of awareness to realise that this is both unfair and places an unnecessary level of pressure on ourselves .

When I realised that all I can give is all I can give, I gained automatic confidence from it. When I realised that the formula to self improvement comes from giving it all you've got I could not allow myself to perform any action half hearted. But the biggest thing is - when I give it my absolute all and it doesn't go my way, there is something deep down inside me that says ‘you learned and next time you will do better.’ Nothing is a loss.

You can’t do better than you best. But first you must give your best.


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