Confidence: Take Time to Remember
Your Successes

Let’s get back to my Life by the 4 “C’s” formula for achieving your version of the writer’s life.

First a quick review:

The first “C” — Commitment

The second “C” — Consistency

The third “C” — Clarity

Today, let’s talk about Confidence.

That's right, confidence is last — not first.

That’s because confidence is an effect — not a cause. Confidence only comes after making the commitment to try something, then doing it consistently and getting better at it.

For example, in both 2008 and 2010, I submitted leads for the Bootcamp Spec Challenge.

[EDITORIAL NOTE: AWAI sponsors a series of Spec Challenge Assignments for their most popular programs and products that need fresh copy. Once you've registered for Bootcamp, the details of the AWAI Spec Challenges will be posted in your AWAI Members Area. Headline winners each walk away from the conference with a $1,000 check.]

While I was extremely nervous that I might not be good enough, I submitted the Spec Challenges anyway.

After all, if I didn’t win, then no one except me and a few people at AWAI would even know I submitted the lead in the first place.

But if I did take the action of submitting a lead, which is consistent with being a copywriter, and I did win … how great would that be for my confidence?

Well, I won. Both years. And my confidence grew a little bit more.

Fortunately, you don’t need to wait for Bootcamp to gain confidence. In fact, you can create a “confidence binder” today.

A confidence binder is a three-ring notebook where you put anything positive about your writing. And I do mean anything. If someone likes a comment you wrote on Facebook, print it out and put it in your binder.

Go back through your life and anything you have that confirms you as a writer or thinker (old school work, doctoral thesis, projects for your employer, etc.), put it in your notebook. I found some old poems and writing prompts from high school that I used to start my folder. I even found a few essays I’d written that got great comments from the professor from when I went back to night school for a while.

If you land a job or project, put the acceptance letter in the binder. Put paystubs in the binder. Put positive critiques from your Circle of Success group in the binder. Put anything positive that relates to your writing in any way into that binder.

Then, each time you add something to the binder, go through the whole binder and relive those feelings of confidence.

Go through the binder again when you feel down and depressed and think the world is about to cave in on you.

The confidence binder was my lifeline for a long time. It kept me going when I felt like quitting,

Do you use a confidence binder or something similar? If so — or if you are willing to give this a try — I’d love to hear about it in the comments here.

Tomorrow, I’m going to show you how to put the 4 “C’s” together into a master plan for success.

And believe me, if a kid that flunked out of college and failed high school English class (twice) can live the writer’s life, so can you.

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Published: August 22, 2013

6 Responses to “Confidence: Take Time to Remember Your Successes ”

  1. I have a similar notebook on Evernote. But you're right. I should print it out so I can see it. Thanks for the tip!


  2. Hi Sean,

    I SURE DO have a 'confidence file'.

    Mine I call The Brag File.

    When I get the 'self-doubts' raging I can pull out The Brag File every other day!

    It's full of clippings, articles, publicity shots etc. from the past forty years!

    Just like you suggest in your post -- mine is full of everything!

    Owning some form of tangible record of past achievements and success recognitions and checking through it as needed has been a source of confidence-boosting inspiration.

    Good series. Thanks.

    Mike Searles

  3. Hi Sean, I liked the idea of a confidence file so much I started one. I had kept a file of memos, some I wrote, and others written by managers from a past job. It really felt good to re-read the feedback but it pointed out how much I had written while working a position that didn't really require it. Thanks for the 4-C series!

    Guest (Nancy Tossell)

  4. Thank you for this idea. I am constantly finding bits of things I have written, or comments about what I have written. I have them stored in different places and thought about putting them in a single file. I just never thought to make a point of fully using them as motivation and inspiration. I also like the idea of an assessable binder for storing them.

    Lisa G

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