Belief: It’s (Almost) Everything!

Ever had a bad day? How about a week of them? Let’s define a “bad day”:

  • You’re in sales and a prospect promised they would buy, then stunned you with this painful line, “Oh, meant to call you … we’ve decided to go a different direction.” Ouch.
  • You work in the home office and your project was almost completed when the boss came along and told you to start over and redo it. Bummer.
  • Your performance review went fine, but you didn’t get that pay increase you were counting on. Man, that stinks.

Of course, one option is to quit. But we can’t do that every time something lousy happens, right? So what keeps us where we are, employed by our current organization even when things don’t go according to plan?

For some the response is “my mortgage and car payment.” The better answer is … BELIEF.

My dad, Jimmy Miller, was head wrestling coach at Cornell University from 1949-1974. In 1967 he was invited to lead the United States’ Pan American team. The “Pan Am” games are held one year before the Olympics and involve only North and South American countries.

Coach Jimmy Miller (back left) and the 1967 United States' Pan American Games wrestling team.Coach Jimmy Miller (top left) and the 1967 United States’ Pan American Games wrestling team.

That summer my father traveled to Winnipeg, Canada weeks before the family to hold try-outs and practices. My mom, three older siblings, and I made the 1,535 mile drive from Ithaca, NY in time for the competition. I was nine. And, I admit, I slept through the finals on a back row of wooden folding chairs in some downtown Winnipeg arena!

I wish I could have that moment back.

If I could, I’d sit in the front row, wide awake, and cheer on eight outstanding guys. And how do we define “outstanding” in this case?

The U.S. team swept the competition. Each man won a gold medal. Not one silver or bronze amongst them!

If my dad was still with us—using his natural ability to reduce the complex to easily understood terms—he’d tell us these guys were winners because he believed in them and they believed in themselves and each other.

Yes, they also needed God-given talent, skills, and conditioning—but without BELIEF none of those things matter.

Not only does BELIEF get us through a bad day, it’s the proverbial wind beneath a winner’s wings.

So, back to our current day work lives. If you have the ability to “keep on keepin’ on” in the face of disappointment and frustration on the job, then you possess intense belief in:

  • Your organization, never making a disparaging remark about it to a family member or friend when asked, “How’s work going?”
  • The products/services your organization provides the marketplace because you know they add value to people’s lives.
  • Your colleagues, boss, and upper management.
  • Yourself. Not cocky, prideful, or arrogant. Just confident. Your job and your talents are a comfortable match.

If you don’t possess belief in these four areas—you gotta problem!

So, reducing the complex to the simple, be honest:

Do you have the wind of belief beneath your wings?

Your answer makes a difference.

Personal Challenge Questions:

Of the four belief items listed above, where is my belief strong and where is it shaky? What can I do to strengthen my belief where needed?

We’d be honored to have you share below. Comment away!

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16 Responses

  1. Oh so true! Just this week I had an employee resign. “The job is not fun anymore,” was the reason he gave. He has lost belief in at least two of the four areas listed. What a shame for us to lose talent because of a loss of belief, but that is truly what has happened.

  2. John,
    Let me first start by saying. I love the QBQ way and try to use it at work, at home and in everything I do. I’m not sure how I found you but have been receiving your emails since 2010. I shared it with a co-worker, she loved it and we bought a book for our boss. He loved it and in February 2012 he bought books for everyone in our office; a staff of about 15. Well that brings me today.

    I do believe in our organization (we are a large electrical contractor firm). Yes at times there is frustration. But my frustration lies more in the fact that sometimes it feels like I’m the only one doing any of the believing. I really do believe in the QBQ way and when a frustration arises try to stop and put QBQ into practice; but sometimes I feel like I’m a cheerleader with no one in the stands. How do I get other’s on board? I constantly ask myself what I can do to help other’s see that the QBQ way is the only way but alas I feel that the wind might be leaving the building and that saddens me.

    1. Susan, such an authentic note. Thank you. Truth: There is nothing you can do, other than model QBQ!We all at times have a desire to change others – often we feel to help them – but it just can’t be done. So stick with QBQ! for yourself and let everything else go!

  3. John,
    I completely agree that belief is a major catalyst to success. I read the QBQ on the request of my leaders and worked to present to my team members but it seems we all just return to our disbelief throughout our office. As much as I want to have the belief, it seems to be a challenge each day. To be honest, I am not always a believer and struggle with my work expectations, lack of opportunity, and overall negativity of my peers. I know I have to turn around my belief first but know that changing my peers belief to make our entire environment more positive will not happen.
    Any ideas?

  4. You can never lose belief in yourself as not only a leader in business but as a parent or a mentor. And your ability to instill belief in others, your coworkers, your friends and most importantly your family members is what will make you stand out as a person.

    Thank you John for this great post.

  5. Hi John,

    BELIEVE OR LEAVE! It’s one of the many great messages in the QBQ book. Everybody should take the “Integrity Test” and find out if they’re in the “right box”

    It’s great stuff!


  6. Hi John
    My comment does not pertain to today’s subjects, but I wanted to share it with you.
    My sister, niece and I were headed for England recently to visit with my son and daughter-in-law serving in the USAF there. We knew early on the day of the flight that were were going to be delayed an hour due to “crew issues.” When we got to the airport, we (along with others on the flight) were told we would be delayed about 2.5 hours and would probably miss our connecting flight from DC to Heathrow. The young attendant at the check-in desk told all of us there were “mechanical issues” but that we should report to customer service upon arrival at DC and they would give us a voucher for a hotel, food and provide transportation. When we finally arrived at Dulles Airport around midnight, we were told by customer service there would be no vouchers provided as the computer listed the delay as “weather” rather than the mechanical issues stated by the young man in State College, PA. The manager was called down to the customer service desk and said there was nothing she could do because she and the others were bound by whatever the computer said. They did give us a phone number of a local hotel who shuttled the group of us to their facility only to be told the number of rooms they had available was limited. At this point, we were willing to share rooms with fellow travellers but were told the rollaway beds were discarded when they remodeled. My family did get rooms, and we were able to be placed on a flight the next morning to Heathrow. Since we were told by the airline customer service to lodge a complaint online only (they could not take it personally), I did so two days ago and have not heard back from them yet. I am beginning to wonder if we will recoup our hotel and meal costs. Besides the inconvenience incurred by my family, I am very disappointed even a manager could not make our situation right. The lack of communication between the airports was unacceptable, and this group of flyers suffered the consequences. You can be sure we will avoid this particular airline in the future.

  7. My senior year in high school our coach asked us to commit to run 14 extra 40 yd dashes at the end of practice each day. These stood for the 14 games we would have to win to go undefeated and win state. We were 12-2 and played in the state championship. Even though we lost two games including the championship I know that running those 40’s made us believe that we could accomplish our goal.

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