No matter what people think of you, always believe in yourself. When you decide to believe in yourself, everything you want will start going your way. When I came back to the Netherlands in 2008, I had found a job in one of the big international banks in Amsterdam. I had been hired in the technical department of the bank to set up a team in India
I’ll always remember my 1st day at the bank.
What it means to believe in yourself
When I arrived, I could not help but notice that there were only 3 women in the team (out of approx. 40). All the others were mostly Dutchmen in their 50s & a few young Indian men.
I went around and introduced myself to each of them. All were welcoming, except for one man: he was the oldest.
When I introduced myself, I reached out my hand to him, told him my name, and said that I was the new manager of the team. He then asked me:
‘Do you have any technical background?’
I replied ‘No’
He looked a bit surprised and continued:
‘And do you have any banking background?’
Here again, I said ‘No’.
He looked puzzled. I knew he was wondering how I could have been hired to work in the IT department of the bank: me, a young woman, French, with no specialist knowledge.
At that moment, I told myself, ‘Fair enough. Just believe in yourself,’. He does not know me, he does not know what I can do. And maybe I would have reacted the same way if I had been in his situation.
We have a natural tendency to criticize and undermine each other. Being immune to criticism and self-doubt is necessary to get ahead in life. Had I listened to the doubts that flooded my head, I wouldn’t have made any progress. I wouldn’t have achieved the things I’ve achieved.
Why is it important to believe in yourself?
To create the life of your dreams, it’s important to first believe you can make it come true; otherwise, defeat will run you over.
The moment you believe in yourself, things will change. You’ll notice your motivation rise; you’ll have more energy to go after your goals, and you’ll overlook things that aim to bring you down.
Once you draw on your inner strength — a strong power within all of us — you can then face any obstacle life throws your way.
Without a level of self-belief, it’s hard to get ahead in life and take control of it. You’ll never hear of the success of someone who didn’t believe in themselves.
Can you imagine a world where there is no Harry Potter?
Neither can I. If J. K. Rowling didn’t believe in herself after she got rejected 12 times, that’s the world we would live in right now.
Life is a rollercoaster that keeps on challenging you, and you have to be ready for confrontations, failures, and major setbacks.
It’s how you react to them that matters. The stronger you feel about yourself and your skills, the better your reaction will be.
The ability to believe in oneself is something we all have to master. Self-belief and hard work will always earn you success.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” — Lucille Ball.
When you have a strong self-belief, the world conspires to help you get what you want
In the next days and months, I got to know my team members, my job, and I went to India and met my other colleagues.
Every day, this man was always slightly grumpy and unfriendly. Although it sometimes bothered me, I continued to build relationships with all my colleagues and team members, getting to know them while they were getting to know me.
I was one of the few women, one of the youngest, and one of the few foreigners on the team. Yet, I was confident in my abilities. I knew I had been hired for a good reason.
My manager had told me during one of my interviews: “I already have many specialists in the banking and IT areas. What I need is someone who has experience in managing international/virtual teams.”
3 years later, this man had a heart attack. I went to visit him in the hospital and at his home when he was better. I helped him deal with HR and other challenges he had while he was recovering.
He came back to work a few weeks/months later. He had become friendly with me. Because I had helped him when he needed it, it had had a positive impact on him.
A year later, he retired.
And then, the unexpected happened…
On his last day, we had a farewell gathering, and he made a speech. He had worked for over 40 years in that same bank. He told minor stories and thanked the bank for all the opportunities he got….
And at the end, he said: “There is also one person I would like to thank here, and this person is Virginie. She has always provided me with all the support and help I needed, especially when I got sick.”
He brought tears to my eyes…. His kind words touched me and I could not help remembering my very first day in the department, as well as his remarks and look…. How different it had been!
On that day, I realized that what people think of you should never matter. What matters is what you think of yourself.
So how do you start to believe in yourself?
1- Practice gratitude and self-love
Being thankful brings peace. Research proves that writing what you’re grateful for every day alleviates stress and makes you feel better.
If the first thing you do when you wake up is practice gratitude, you’ll start your day on a positive note. It should always be a part of your daily routine.
2- Change your mindset
Many books and business gurus talk about the importance of mindset, and for a good reason: mindset reflects everything — your reactions, your confidence, your self-esteem, your feelings, etc.
The more focus you put on changing your mindset, the better results you’ll yield. It’s the reason many people in grievous situations can conquer challenges and achieve success.
3- Stay confident and continue doing what you’re good at
Let nothing shake up your confidence, for that’s the biggest source of energy and motivation. If you don’t have confidence, you won’t succeed in the face of adversity.
No matter what people say or think of you, believing in yourself and staying confident paves the way for progress. Always ignore what’s been said about you, and focus on things that bring you joy.
4- Be human and empathetic
Be a loving person and treat others like you want to be treated. What goes around comes around.
I can’t imagine what my life would look like if I had been toxic to the grumpy old man. He never would have said sweet things about me.
Remember, every single one of us is fighting a battle of our own. Be mindful of that and always offer help when you can, even if it doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.
As Theodore Roosevelt said:
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”