This is Ron White, I would like to share some things I have learned while working with my friend and mentor, former U.S. Navy SEAL T.C. Cummings, about building confidence.

Motivational speakers all over the world are telling you that ‘You Can Do It!’ ‘You Can Do It!” And, that is true, if you set your mind to something it can be accomplished – with a lot of work, discipline and determination. What happens though, when you take on too much “I Can Do It?” It can do YOU in!

The “Get ‘er Done” attitude is a good one. It shows you are motivated and confident, but how far can that feeling go when you have overextended yourself to the point where you aren’t able to get either all, or most of the work done? Or, worse yet, what if you attempt everything and fall short everywhere? You have to know your limits, and where and when to ask for help. The less you feel you are accomplishing the less confident you will feel.

The dictionary defines overextending as to‘extend beyond a reasonable or safe point’ or to commit oneself beyond what can be repaid. That goes for finances, time and energy. To overextend yourself, or to commit to more than you reasonably ‘can do’ will only result in worry and anxiety, and is definitely not on the list of known confidence builders.

Did you ever know anyone who as so sweet and kind that anytime anyone asked her for help she would be there – school aide, soccer coach, party planner, etc.? She couldn’t say ‘no’ to anyone because she felt guilty. Soon people were taking advantage of her, and she was taking on more and more until she was so stressed out she physically became ill. All the time she was working so hard others were not looking at her with respect. Actually, they were looking at her as a source to take some of their burden off them.

At the beginning this woman was confident and assured, honored that people thought she was so capable. When it became too much, and she had to let her family suffer in order to meet the obligations she had taken on her confidence slipped. The more she took on the less efficient she was in the other jobs she had to perform.

It is better to do one thing exceptionally well, than ten things mediocre. You want to be the best you can be, and you are more confident after accomplishing something exceptionally well and earned respect of your peers. Doing multiple jobs that barely come in under the radar do not get you recognized in a good way, and will do nothing to boost your confidence.

My friend T. C. Cummings told a story about his SEAL days, where they could do up to four dives a day. Diving is the most dangerous thing a Navy SEAL does. At the end of a long day of exercises and practice, including being so cold from long-term immersion in icy cold water, they would like nothing more than to just hit the rack. Even after the last exercise they still have a few hours of mapping, cleaning their gear and getting ready for the next exercise or mission. They make checklists to make sure they haven’t forgotten something. In addition, they each have a diving buddy, team member or supervisor who double-checks everything they do, making sure they are prepared and haven’t forgotten something. When you are tired it’s very easy to miss something. Since being totally prepared is a matter of life and death, having someone watch your back is essential.

Who do you have to watch your back to make sure you are ready for the next phase? It’s great to have a ‘can do’ attitude, but you need to recognize when too much is too much, and potential problems could exist. You need to make sure you have someone around who is able to be honest with you, and can help you recheck your work.

You will find the lesson on self-confidence among many available on the training CDs “Mind of a Navy SEAL,” and in our training “Think Like A U.S. Navy SEAL” workshops.



“Mind of a U.S. Navy SEAL” workshop

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