“The most vital quality a soldier can possess is self-confidence.” – George S. Patton

Self confidence was never really my thing. I always found it curious that my name has been known to be translated as warrior. However, to be honest, I have always been a worrier.

If I look back at the past decade, I can more clearly see the transformation in my own life with regards to increased self confidence, which leads to decreased worrying. It’s not that worrying is a bad thing. It is a normal emotion. Its just that when one lacks self confidence in their own abilities, it can very easily lead you down a trail of paralysis from analysis.

These were cool people. I had gotten to know them individually while at college. However, I have no idea what I was thinking when they invited me to a summer campout with a bunch of others.

The trip up to the lake was fine and I felt comfortable with those whom I rode with. But, my comfortability stopped as soon as we arrived at the campsite. Once the tent was up, I froze. My introverted side completely took over as I remained in that tent until the next day around noon.

I was scared to death to come out and actually meet new people. I can only imagine what my friends were thinking.

I was a prisoner to my self doubt and lack of confidence so much so that I couldn’t even bear meeting new people and holding a conversation.

After much prodding, I finally left the tent and that evening began to loosen up a little as we took a boat ride under the stars and talked about life. It took everything within me that weekend to pry myself out of my shell.

I recall another time where a good friend of mine and I joined a family, whom we were very close with at a Scottish Rite dance at a local school, or something like that. For all intensive purposes, this should not have been a problem for me. These were close friends.

Yet, there I was, all alone in the band room down the hall from where everybody was having a blast and dancing the night away. I couldn’t take it. I was scared to death. All I could was slip out into the hallway and find any unlocked door I could find and just hide.

When I finally returned, I could offer no explanation but the old… “not feeling well” one.

As I look back at those instances, I get very embarrassed. Of course, no one remembers those moments except for the one who lived them.

As my self confidence increased over the years, I found that I began bordering on part introvert and part extrovert. If I needed to turn on the extrovert, I could. However, as quickly as I could retreat back into my introvert shell, I would.

I believe what kept me in my shell for so long was my overwhelming fear of failure, which is funny because sometimes we can find ourselves healed of our fear of failing only to find our selves with a new fear, a fear of success.

To many who knew me, they would have never detected this crippling fear. But for those who knew me best, it was as clear as day.

If it hadn’t been for those who knew me best, there would have been no way I would have ever been able to achieve any bit of success over the years, let alone being placed into a position to run several companies with annual revenue in the millions one day.

Simply put, they saw something in me, that I didn’t see in myself. I hate to think what my life would have been like if they had kept their mouth shut with regards to what they saw in me.

I don’t know, maybe this is why I feel so strongly today about mentoring young people and helping them find their DNA in a way that releases them to fully maximize their full potential.

I know this, confidence is everything and when you face those times when you feel like you are all out of it… look around, if you have been wisely surrounding yourself with those that elevate you, your confidence won’t be too hard get back.

The funny thing about confidence is that when you are in a place where it is needed, it is so obvious to those who surround you if you got it or not. Simply put, you can’t fake it.

Sometimes, your confidence will reveal itself in places you never thought possible.

I sat there on that long boardroom table surrounded by radio people being grilled by questions of what my company was all about. We were there to develop a campaign. I never felt so inadequate in my life.

At the time, I had recently been asked to take on the role of general manager for three very different companies. Earlier on this particular day, I had spent the whole morning wrapped up in one company and suddenly, there I was in the midst of this group getting grilled about a different company. It was dizzying.

I recall sitting there at that table feeling like the spotlight was completely on me and yet… inside, all I wanted to do was run. I felt so overwhelmed, unprepared, and inadequate for what I was asked to do with running these companies.

As the questions kept coming from every side, I remember bowing my head for a few moments. I could hear the questions coming, but, for a moment, I felt like I had slipped away.

“Dear God, I have no idea what I am doing. I feel so inadequate. I don’t belong here. I don’t know how to answer these questions. I need your help. I give up.”

It was a moment where I was in the room, but not in the room. It was a silent call for help to the only One I knew could hear me right then and there.

And yet the questions kept coming…

“What is your core demographic?” came from one end of the table. While from the opposite end came… “Why should people shop with you?”

And yet, there I was, momentarily checked out from the constant questions saying a silent prayer… a plead for help.

“Tell them stories.”

I remember that moment like it was this very second. As I have said before, it was like a thousand arrows had simultaneously hit their mark. Something changed, there was a pivot… my countenance was suddenly different as I remember looking up and around at the many faces gathered at the table.

3 words… tell them stories. And so I did.

Suddenly, I felt like a different person. I felt emboldened as I began to tell the countless stories of the many people I had come across while working on the sales floor. It was really quite surreal as the stories seemed to flow out from me as if I had rehearsed them before the meeting.

At one point, I could sense that those gathered around the table were on the edge of their seat and moved at what they were hearing. I remember seeing a few even begin to tear up as I was rattling off several experiences.

It was one of those moments to remember. I wonder if they had sensed it too?

“That’s it.” were two words that came confidently from one end of the table. “Just tell the story. That’s the campaign.”

And so we did. A few weeks later, I went back into that office, but this time, to enter the studio. Unscripted, we flipped the record switch and began telling stories.

I went from trying to prove myself to just being myself. Oh how the weight of trying to prove one self to others can cripple one so. Being simply yourself has the power to prove yourself to others a thousand times over that which you could ever conjure up on your own to do so.

But what happened on that one day? Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed with seeking the perspectives we think we need, when all along, its much simpler than that. The perspectives we thought we needed were merely based on the same old stuff. This is what we always do, so… let’s do it again. In other words, these are the building blocks and formulas for building a successful campaign. But, don’t you think that somewhere along the way, we lost sight of what a true campaign should look like?

I learned how to tell a story in first grade. Miss Britt had us all take turns reading from picture books in front of the class as they all sat on the floor in front of you.

Thirty years later, I learned how to surrender my anxieties in a board room as a still small voice spoke three words… “Tell them stories.”

In the process, a campaign was born and to this day, was the only campaign I ever remember people talking about.

But, to tell a story… you need a story. And, when you feel alone, know this… you are not alone.

There is power in those three words. So, live life to be a storyteller. We all have a story. Is anybody listening?

Yep! In a still small voice, He said… “Tell them stories.”

Three words and a cry for help.

And here I was thinking I was inadequate. I was trying to respond to the questions in a way I thought I was supposed to. I was never so wrong. God heard me that day and showed me that I did belong there and that I was the very opposite of inadequate. I just needed to be me. I just needed to be… a storyteller.

I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t asked for help? Two words… train wreck.

Confidence, I guess it was in there all along. I wonder if I could round up those friends for another camping trip again sometime? I don’t know what I was thinking, it was hot in that tent.

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