The Magic Feather: Believing You Can Succeed [Open Exchange Magazine]

by Jaya Schillinger
Open Exchange Magazine, Winter 2006.

In the classic Disney film Dumbo, Timothy the mouse coaches our unconfident little elephant friend by saying, “The things that held you down are going to carry you up, and up, and up!” He was trying to get Dumbo to stop feeling rejected (those ears!) and develop his talents. The tenderness of that movie always makes me cry. What inspires me about it is the way our reluctant hero triumphs over rejection, at first by believing in the magic feather, but then ultimately he learns to believe in himself.

Facing rejection is hard for everyone, and if you’re in a service business where your product is YOU, the fear can be paralyzing at times. Yet, in order to succeed, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and believe that you can do it! And that is especially true in the early phases of your business. When you’re working really hard at start-up, and the money isn’t coming in yet, believing in yourself is what keeps you going!

Here are a few things I’ve learned about getting through fear and developing belief:

1. Your belief must be greater than your fear. It can be a struggle, but try to pay more attention to what’s working in your life than what isn’t. Acknowledge your successes, great and small. Authentic confidence is built through repeated positive experiences. So don’t focus on your failures. Start counting your wins.

2. Believe in yourself—not circumstances. This one is tricky. If you haven’t developed belief in yourself, it’s tempting to place your belief in something else like a job, a business partner, the economy, or a certain opportunity. This can be good for awhile, but it’s a simple fact of life that people, places, and conditions are changeable. Your success is ultimately created by you, for you.

3. All great endeavors will be tested. Success doesn’t usually happen all at once. It’s more typical for us to have times of forward momentum, followed by back-slides. Setbacks do not mean you’re failing. Use them as opportunities to for reassessing your beliefs, goals, and actions. Work through the problems, change strategies if you need to, and never stop believing in yourself.

Beliefs are powerful because they affect our feelings, decisions, and actions. But even though we may have been relying on a particular set of assumptions about life for years, those beliefs can be changed. The New Year is a great time to do that. What is your definition of success for 2006? And just as importantly, spend a moment to think about what beliefs you will need to achieve that success. Happy New You!

© 2006 OPEN EXCHANGE P.O. Box 7880, Berkeley, CA 94707. (510) 526-7190


About the Author

Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.