In my senior year at Boston College, I was scheduled to interview with a gentleman, John Slattery, who at the time was the VP of Marketing for NESN. I told Patricia (my girlfriend at the time and now my wife of 18 years) about how I was going into this meeting and getting this internship, and I was reeking of confidence. She said, “Go get it, but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work out,” being supportive and caring at the same time. I smirked and told her that there was no room for doubt and I was just going to go out and get it because it was a perfect fit for me. I think, actually I know, my over-confidence was puzzling to her.
So I went out and I got the gig. I interned at NESN and I am confident that John would say that I was one of his best interns. I approached the opportunity as if I owned it and had a very positive experience. Patricia’s words of caution wasn’t the first or the last time that folks expressed to me that I should balance getting excited about an opportunity without getting overly “up”, setting myself up for failure. I have to say that my confident approach puzzles people at times. I remember when we were setting a very aggressive revenue goal for the new stadium; the Patriots President and Owner, Jonathan Kraft, was amazed at my confidence in obtaining the goal – his words are as clear now as they were back then, “I’ve never met anyone as confident in themselves as you.”
There are reasons I am this way. I don’t believe there is any such thing as failure, unless you quit. I think it is impossible to fail if you give your all into everything you do and you allow your passion to guide you to achieve your ultimate goals. I don’t believe there are any timetables or exact steps that take you to your destination. I am happy to accept and acknowledge pitfalls and roadblocks. But again, failure is only when you quit. Because of this I do not doubt myself at all. If I set out to do something, I always do it. It may not be in the timeline that I have originally set out for, I may face challenges I didn’t expect, I will even be hit with set backs along the way. But, no matter the pitfalls or how many times I get knocked on my ass, I get up, dust myself off and get back to business.
The biggest problem with most people is that they doubt themselves, because they listen to the naysayers and the people who live in fear, people who can only get satisfaction by tearing others down. The only way these pessimists thrive is through crushing the dreams of others. The fact of the matter is they have no power to crush your aspirations. Only you have that power. Don’t subscribe to their thinking, don’t let them take you off track, and never, ever, ever give them the satisfaction of letting them believe they have gotten to you.
Don’t think for one second that I’m saying I haven’t had bumps in the road or that I have not made mistakes. I have, and imagine I will in the future. Don’t think that I have already achieved everything I have set out to accomplish or that I believe that I have; I have not, and in some instances, have a long way to go. Don’t think for one second that I don’t question myself and examine how I am approaching things. I do it constantly. Questioning yourself, or hearing others question you, is not the problem. Letting the questions deter you from your mission is the issue. Letting their doubt in you become your doubt is the problem. I know it sounds cliché to say that you can achieve anything if you want to. But it’s anything but cliché, if you truly believe in yourself. The problem is that the fear of failure has been beaten into you since you were born. It’s time to escape the chains of doubt.
I believe in me. I’ve got to tell you, and please do not take offense to this – I don’t care if you believe in me or not. I would be lying if I said I didn’t prefer that, but I am not going to let it negatively affect me. Believing in yourself is the key. If you can do that, there is no stopping you. It’s not about money or power, as most people may want you to believe. It’s about you having confidence in yourself. I know a number of talented people and so-called rich people who lack the confidence I speak about. They may have celebrity status and possessions, but they lack what money and fame can never buy. The only true measure of success is how much you believe in you. You cannot be truly happy without that being solid first.
Always remember, you are in control of your destiny. You are the only one who can prevent your success. Don’t let others lead you to you doubting yourself. Believe in you and then success and happiness will come true.