Before you can embark on a new project, you need to believe you can do it. In order to believe you can do it, you need have to some self-confidence. In order to have self-confidence, I think you need to do one or both of the following:
- Accumulate small wins. Successfully take baby steps. So if you want to write a book, for example, you first write and publish an article that gives you confidence in your writing ability.
- Expose yourself systematically to the techniques and habits of those who have already done it. In other words, demystify the accomplishment. If you want to start a company, read tons of first-hand accounts and talk to entrepreneurs to understand step-by-step how they did it. This will de-mystify the achievement, not allowing you to attribute John Doe’s success as some “magical talent” that’s been with him since the womb (a typical excuse).
By the way, self-confidence — telling yourself, “I believe I can do this!” — is only half the job. The other litmus test before starting something is, “Does this excite me?” Both must check out positive for the project to succeed.
How else do you cultivate the self-confidence that will allow you to set forth towards an ambitious goal?
(hap tip to Cal Newport for helping spark and think through this idea)