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That is where we are going to get you BAK to. There are three parts to the BAK framework:

Beliefs—the self-talk and other internal messages we have accepted as truth.

Actions—the actions we are currently taking—and plan to take in the future—to find success and happiness.

Knowledge—the information and skills we need to be more effective people in every aspect of our work and personal lives.

Together, BAK will provide you with a powerful and easy-to-implement framework for creating the confidence you need to leapfrog the villains at work, in your career, and in your life.

This book has been designed around the BAK framework—enabling you to quickly and easily identify and read the chapters that focus specifically on whatever it is you need most: working on your self-beliefs, taking action, or expanding your knowledge. I want to give you a sense of what that means in this chapter, and then I need you to jump to the part of the book that resonates most with you. For example, I am an action person. I feel most comfortable with the idea of taking action, so that is the part of the book I would start with. I know plenty of people, however, who are more drawn to self-reflection and would rather start with the belief part. You decide what is right for you—there are no wrong answers.

When you start with part I, you are jumping right into examining your own self-talk and inner beliefs. What I have discovered is that for years I had been telling myself a story that was not true. I have a feeling that you, too, have been telling yourself a self-limiting and inaccurate story. Can you think of what that story could be? The one in your head that holds you back from achieving your goals and dreams, time after time? Let's decide today that this story is inaccurate—it's just not true. What would that mean to your life?

Here's an example from my own life: I grew up being called the "social" one while my sister was called the "smart" one. She had perfect grades and flawless SAT scores. She graduated at the top of her class, and she became an accomplished lawyer. I, on the other hand, had always assumed I wasn't smart. Not because anyone called me dumb, but because I saw 'her' as the smart one, which I thought meant that I wasn't.

Throughout my life, I told myself the story that I was not smart. That meant that I sat out of meetings if the person coming in had gone to Harvard or some other prestigious university. It meant that I opted out of opportunities in which I could have advanced because I was holding onto the story that I was not intelligent.

Fast-forward to last Christmas when my son, Dylan, and I met my sister and her kids at Walt Disney World. We were sitting talking when my sister shared that she had just taken her kids in for an IQ test. I laughed—who does that but my sister?! Of course she had done that, and they are probably geniuses just like her.

She asked me if I had taken Dylan in for the IQ test. I told her no and laughed again. She told me she didn't understand why I didn't get him tested. Then she asked if I had remembered taking the test as a child, and I did not. She told me that the school had directed my mother to bring my sister in for an IQ test. There was no sitter available, so I had to join them. Since I was there, they offered to test me, too, as we were only a year and a half apart in age.

My sister told me that her scores came back off the charts—in the top 1 percent, a genius for sure. Then she also told me that, while my score was not as high as hers, I also rated in the genius range.

Mic drop. This was news to me. I had never heard this story before. I couldn't believe I had spent the previous forty-five years believing I wasn't smart and then behaving in ways that reflected and reinforced this false belief.

Make the decision today to stop telling yourself the story that is holding you back. It just isn't true.

What story are you telling yourself that is currently holding you back?

If this resonates with you, then jump right to the beliefs part of this book and let's get to work on changing those false beliefs.

Of course, action is my jam. I would always rather do something than self-reflect or evaluate and access knowledge. Maybe because I have loved sports and working out my whole life, or maybe because I understand the power of momentum. If you are like me, you will want to start with part II.

Owning your own voice and speaking up takes practice but with time becomes second nature. Let me give you an example. Twenty years ago, when my confidence was low, I never felt sure if my ideas were good ones. That meant that, if I was in a meeting, I avoided raising my hand for fear that someone else would say mine was a terrible idea. It takes practice, but speaking up can be learned. Speaking up is an action step. Challenging yourself to speak up one time a day and starting off small will work. Baby steps.

I also realize now that people are invited to a meeting or to be on a team because of their potential contributions. By not contributing, you are actually not holding up your end of the bargain and not warranting your seat at the table. That is a problem.


This excerpt ends on page 16 of the hardcover edition.

Monday we begin the book Sell More with Science by David Hoffeld.
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