It seems that every success story we hear boils down to how the person always believed s/he could:
- Overcome the odds
- Seize their big moment
- Get recognized
- Reach the top
Their self-belief is what sustained them when they were down and nearly out. It was the one internal force that fueled their momentum and prevented any idea of quitting.
I don’t know about you, but there are days when believing in myself is no problem. Then (ugh) there are those seemingly endless other days when nothing is clear, self-doubt takes over, and my optimism goes underground.
Unfortunately, the success that we’re after often feels elusive. The more our vision of it waivers, the more difficult it is for us to dig deep when the going gets tough.
Jeremy Lin has become an inspiration to legions of fans.
Lin is an American pro basketball player for the New York Knicks with an economics degree from Harvard (and a 3.1 GPA) and parents originally from Taiwan. At 6’3″ Lin had enough height to play serious basketball; he performed exceptionally in high school, allowing for the belief that he could play professionally.
Here’s what happened: Lin
- Did not receive a college athletic scholarship
- Was not drafted into the pros after college
- Eventually got a partially guaranteed contract the Gold State Warriors
- Was then waived both by the Warriors and then the Houston Rockets in preseason
- Was picked up by the Knicks as a back-up player for 2011-12
Through all the ups and down, the being shuffled around, and the disappointments, Lin kept playing and getting better. He got to demonstrate both his talent and his belief in himself when the Knicks finally put him in a game.
At the time Knicks’ coach Mike D’Antoni said, “He got lucky because we were playing so bad.” That was Lin’s moment and he seized it. The Knicks won that game and the next six under Lin’s on-floor leadership.
D’Antoni said that Lin has a point-guard mentality and “a rhyme and a reason for what he is doing out there.” (How’ s that for helping to boost self-belief!)
The adoration of Knicks fans for Lin gave birth to the term “lin-sanity.” What Lin has done seems “insane,” given his bumpy ride which included sleeping on his brother’s sofa in NYC waiting for his moment.
Consider these lin-sights
Jeremy Lin didn’t just believe in himself, he kept working at becoming a better player.
Believing in ourselves also means believing in things that matter to achieving our goals the right way, as Jeremy Lin did:
- Work hard, keep getting better, increase confidence
- Stay committed to your goals, no matter the obstacles
- Make your success about something more than yourself like the team
- Cultivate humility during the ups, courage during the downs
- Seize every moment to participate–always be prepared and ready
- Focus on the job at hand, block out distracting noise
- Accept success and failure as having equal value to improving
- Take one day at a time, don’t over analyze or project into a future you can’t control
- Ignore the labels you can’t do anything about
- Lead when you’re needed and facilitate the success of others
Jeremy Lin is just like you. He’d come close to finding a place in his hoped for career and then watched it slip away. So he tried again until a set of unexpected circumstances gave him a chance to shine.
Lin’s story isn’t about “celebrity” careers. It’s about yours too. It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in. There’s a level of achievement that you want too. Attaining it starts with your belief that you can and will.
If it can happen for others, I can happen for you. And it will, when the time is right and you’re prepared and ready. Please don’t give up.
Photo from STEVESD via Flickr