The power of self-belief

A valuable career goal is to strive for excellence in what you do.

(I always encourage my clients to aim for excellence, not perfection - the one is a healthy, stretching objective; the other is unattainable.)

Excelling, being excellent, implies being completely on top of your brief, delivering to the highest standards, with superior skills.

It is a fantastic reputation to have in the workplace.

However, being perceived by others as excellent is only part of the story.

To be truly excellent, one must also believe in oneself.

This is particularly important when going for an interview.

You have to believe you are the right person for the job - that you will excel at it; otherwise, what hope do you have of convincing an interviewer of that?

So take some time to focus on your excellence:

  • Remind yourself of your positive attributes.

  • Make sure you keep a record of any positive feedback, and your performance reviews.

  • And before an interview, work out why and how you would excel in that particular job. Write it down, and practice saying it until you truly believe it, and can say it convincingly.

There is a wonderful historical story which shows a fine example of self-worth.

In around 78 BC, Julius Caesar was travelling back to Rome, having been abroad serving in the army. He was 25 years old.

As he was sailing across the Aegean Sea, he was captured by some of the pirates that roamed that area.

He was held prisoner, and the pirates demanded a ransom of 20 talents of silver for his safe return (around £310,000 in today’s value).

Julius Caesar was outraged - he valued himself much more highly than that.

And he knew this was literally putting a cash figure on his worth - with his ambitions, it needed to be higher than that.

So, according to Plutarch, he insisted that the pirates set the ransom higher - in fact, more than double, at 50 talents of silver (around £773,000).

Then he sent off some of his companions to raise the money.

Left with the pirates, Julius Caesar then continued to demonstrate his belief in his own value.

He refused to behave like a prisoner, but instead treated the pirates as if they were his subordinates, for example demanding that they remain quiet while he slept.

He spent most of his time composing speeches and poetry, which he then recited to the pirates.

And when he joined in with their games, he then began to lead them.

The pirates were persuaded by Julius Caesar’s own estimation of his worth, and treated him with respect.

They also allowed him freedom to roam about the island where he was held.

However, during all this time, he promised them that when he was freed he would return to punish them with crucifixion…

After 38 days (according to Plutarch), Julius Caesar’s companions returned with the ransom money, and he was freed.

However, as he had promised the pirates, he did return.

He raised a small private army, invaded the island where the pirates were still hiding, and took back his 50 talents of silver.

And as he had warned them, he then crucified them - but as a sign of leniency, he ordered their throats to be cut first.

In this story, Julius Caesar demonstrates par excellence the importance of valuing yourself - and how the world will treat you at your own estimation.

So strive for excellence, and believe that you can, and do, excel!

If you would like support in developing your self-worth so that you can get the career you want, get in touch: