Believe in Yourself …Or No One Else Will
If there is one message that my father instilled in me over the years, it is trust your instincts.
Only one time in my life that I didn’t, and I got creamed. I am not saying that every time I trust my instincts I am right, proven out or I win. This is certainly not the case. But, I do know this. When I do trust my instincts, I put myself in the best chance to win.
I remember one episode, where my self-doubt almost got the best of me.
I was 25 years old and had recently graduated from Georgetown Law School. I had returned to my home town ready to take on the establishment and run for City Councilman. I remember announcing my candidacy and being shocked by the brush back from the so called “powers that be.” I was admonished, “You are too young and inexperienced.” An elder statesman suggested “It would be more prudent if I got feet wet by serving on a committee.”
Thankfully, I was feisty and basically told everyone to buzz off. I am sure my manner was a bit more acerbic than it needed to be. But, I didn’t like being told what to do. So, I jumped in feet first.
My campaign manager was a battle tested politician who also happened to be my best friend’s father. I remember him telling me to get to work knocking on every door in town and asking for every one’s vote. I dutifully got to work.
Over the next several months insults and false accusations were hurled at me. It hurt because none of it was true. The establishment even fielded the police chief as my rival candidate.
I began to doubt myself and question my decision for one reason alone. I listened to the naysayers and began thinking “Maybe they were right.” Thankfully my mentor and campaign manager brought me to my senses. He forbade me from listening to anything the opposition said or wrote about me and focused me on executing our plan.
I blocked out all the noise and I campaigned like I was 20 points down. On election day we crushed our opponent, winning every district, including our opponent’s.
I didn’t beat my chest upon victory or retaliate for the mean things that were said or written about me. Instead, I internalized a very important lesson and it has guided me ever since – except on that one occasion when I ignored my better judgement.
I decide what I want to be and do. I seek the counsel of people I trust and if the pros outweigh the cons I go for it with everything I have. This way I have no regrets.
Remember, no one ever built a statute in honor of a critic. Being a critic is easy. Taking chances is hard. Challenge yourself to take the road less traveled. If you do, you will be duly rewarded.
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