Article by Daniel Milstein
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As the sole architect of your destiny, you need to make sure you're utilizing one of your greatest tools: your own voice. That inner voice will help you formulate a plan and drown out the external voices of critics and naysayers. Your voice holds the power to boost your confidence and help you both navigate and learn from setbacks when they occur.
Be very honest with yourself. Is your own voice joining the negative chorus of doubters? If the answer is "yes," you'll need to reprogram your thought process by telling yourself these three things today — and every day — for the rest of your life.
1. Do It Now
Procrastination is like quicksand. Left unchecked, it will pull you into a quagmire of crippling indecision. You'll make excuse after excuse, eventually foreclosing on your own dream. If you're continually telling yourself it's okay to do nothing, then nothing will be what you achieve.
Instead, allow your inner voice to motivate you from morning until night. Fiercely commit to your dream with a sense of urgency. Remember, the difference between "could" and "did" lies in planning and action. Become your own greatest coach and advocate for change. Don't take "no" for an answer, especially from yourself.
2. I Deserve This
Whenever I meet someone who has allowed their dream to derail, or who appears to be passing up opportunities for personal growth or improvement, I always ask why they don't deserve their absolute best.
If you're among the folks who settle for anything less than the success you dream about, you must get out of your own way by escaping your dangerous comfort zone. Whether your dream is pursuing a career change you've always wanted or finishing your degree, begin by reminding yourself that you deserve a brighter future. Then, invest in yourself by giving your all. Never cut corners on what's most important: your happiness.
3. I Know I Can
Fear of failure, plus the attendant inability to reclaim your forward momentum after a setback, is one of the greatest obstacles to success. However, this obstacle can often be effectively addressed by empowering your inner voice.
We all have fears, but if we habitually make fear-based decisions, we'll never reach our full potential. If we allow fear to paralyze our progress, we'll create blueprints for mediocrity and miss the priceless lessons only trial and error can reveal. Make sure your self-talk is stronger than your fear.
I understand overcoming fear is not an overnight process. It might require that you take advantage of additional resources at your disposal, such as individual therapy. I know that it can be extremely uncomfortable to walk out onto your personal ledge, but the feeling of freedom is incomparable, and I assure you the view will be spectacular.
As I look back at the journey I've traveled to success, I can attest to the power of my own self-talk. There have been fears and setbacks to be sure, but I resolved the first time I met the wake-up call of ground-shaking disappointment to never consider myself a failure. I win or I learn. There are times when the road will be steep, challenging and tiring. It is during those especially trying days that you must be able to rely upon your inner voice to drive you on. It will mean the difference between giving up and persevering. The only time you run out of chances is when you stop taking them.
Start listening to your voice today. What are you saying? Do you believe you can succeed? It's true that whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. When you do find yourself achieving success, make sure your self-talk remains positive and motivating. You don't want to become complacent. Success is never owned. It is rented, and the rent is due every day.
A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.
Daniel Milstein is the CEO and founder of the Gold Star Family of Companies, operating in more than 40 offices worldwide and specializing in financial services, sports management, publishing, and film production. Under Dan's visionary leadership, Gold Star has been named among Inc. magazine's "500 Fastest Growing Companies in America." He is a best-selling author and shares his other strategies for success in his new book, Rule #1 Don't Be #2: You Get What You Work For, Not What You Wish For. Learn more at DanMilstein.com.