Do You Trust Yourself?©

I love movies, and I’m convinced that they offer us many life and business lessons, but only if we’re paying attention. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Harrison Ford (Indy) is following the clues provided in his father’s (Sean Connery) diary when he arrives at what appears to be the end of the path – a chasm 100 feet down and 100 feet across. Across the gap is his path (the “path of God”) to the holy grail, but there’s no apparent way over the abyss. His father’s diary instructs him as follows: “Only in the leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth.” At that moment, Indy realizes that the only path to his goal is a “leap of faith” … and he takes it and moves on in his journey. Here’s a link to the movie scene:

A few minutes later he finds the Grail Chamber, and he now must make another decision – which cup is the genuine holy grail? Not much at risk – choose wisely and save his father’s life; choose poorly and he and his father die. Certainly, more is at risk here than in most of the decisions we face every day in our businesses, careers and lives. As we all know, Indy chose well, but the key is how he chose well. He was certainly thoughtful and logical, but in the end he trusted his instincts and his gut, which all comes down to trusting himself. Now, I get it – this is all in a movie and it’s not real life. Or is it?

Every day we are faced with decisions, which most often involve some form of risk – rarely a risk of life or limb, but risks of dollars, time, opportunities or relationships. Life and business always involve risk. Even staying the same involves risk, but we rarely see it that way. And it is the risks involved in any decision that cause us to hesitate, delay or choose not to decide. We seek to avoid risk by not making decisions, yet that avoidance often creates even more risk.

The essence of risk is the unknown. If we knew the outcome of each possibility, then there would be no risk and therefore nothing to think about or worry about. We would just decide and take action toward our goals, desires and objectives. This brings us back to Indiana Jones. At the edge of the cliff, Indy took a leap of faith, and underlying every leap of faith is a high level of trust in yourself. I certainly believe that there are forces above and beyond myself supporting me and my decisions (in my faith, God), and yet it’s the trust I have in myself that allows me to make decisions and to pursue paths that are uncertain. Indy had to trust himself again when he had to choose the right cup. The same is true for each of us every day – getting to where we want to go, personally or professionally, requires us to trust ourselves.

My word for 2015 (I have a foundational word every year) is trust. For me that means to trust myself and to trust God, because this trust allows me to take more risks, leap further and spread my wings to soar. Only when I trust myself can I achieve my goals. Only when I trust myself can I attain my dreams. Only when I trust myself can I risk enough to live my mission fully and authentically. The same is true for each of you, which leaves each of you with a single question: Do you trust yourself enough to decide, to do and to dream?

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