Belief gets a bad rap. It's a very unpopular concept in these secular times, but the (obvious) thing is: we believe things whether we want want to or not. If we can at least accept that's true, we can start to take control of our beliefs, and make them work for us. But accepting they exist is the big first step.
There's a saying, "Whether you believe you can, or you believe you can't, you're right."
In my experience, the overwhelming factor determining our work's success is our confidence in it. Our confidence is the stuff that our work made of, from beginning to end. Confidence brings work into existence, nourishes it and continually links it to us - it's the thing that makes it ours. And it's the thing that makes it shine and keeps it rolling.
Protect the seed
The trouble is, because confidence grows with evidence, it's a lot easier to wait till we see how something goes down with others, before we decide how much to believe in it. But you can't wait for it to be road-tested. If you want your stuff to be really strong, you need to protect it before it's even been created.
Practical disasters and financial worries are very real, but in my experience the thing most likely to cause creative projects to meet an untimely end is the creeping shadow of the creator's doubt. This is the absolute last line of defence. The buck stops with you, and you have control over whether or not to allow the doubt to creep. In fact, it's even better than that, because with confidence in place, the creep will be held back naturally.
So, working on your confidence in a project makes it watertight, because it offers a framework of defence against words. You know this, but I bet (like me) you don't always "weatherproof" your projects before you launch them. (More on this in this episode of the accompanying podcast by the way).
It's not about you
It's not very, well, British to think about investing in confidence, but it's your main asset and it's worth working on. It's the thing that keeps projects and businesses going - the world literally trades on it! It also allows you to define your criteria of failure in slightly different ways. If your project is no longer knotted up with self-doubt, you're free to appraise it in relation to your other goals. e.g. "This project is failing because my home life is suffering as a result of it."
It's more bearable to think about if you consider: it's not confidence in ourselves that makes things happen, it's confidence in the work. As always, the trick is to make it all less personal.
Our work is an expression of our confidence, and our confidence comes from our beliefs. So, what are we going to choose to believe about our work, this week?