By Lou Goldstein

Should we believe in ourselves? Of course we should !

Do you want to believe in yourself? Of course you do !

Do you believe in yourself?

Now we can begin.

Believing in yourself simply means that you have self confidence that you can accomplish reasonable goals that you might set for yourself. Reasonable goals simply means goals that are “possible” to obtain.

You can have all the self confidence in the world but if your goal is to run from Los Angeles
to New York in one hour you will not accomplish your goal. However, if you set a goal to run from Los Angeles to New York... you CAN accomplish that goal. Just remove the time of one hour from the goal and you have a reachable goal. It may take a very long time but it can be accomplished.
Unless, of course, you were going to run from the Los Angeles City Hall to the New York Pizza place on W. 6th Street in Los Angeles, which is just over a mile (you could actually do that in less than an hour). Even I could do that (Counting the rest stops along the way).

That brings me to my next point. In addition to setting reasonable goals you must set “specific” goals. Then, after setting a specific goal, determine a plan for accomplishing that goal. Give yourself time and establish short term goals that can be met fairly easy along the way.

Let’s say you want to see every major league baseball team play in their respective stadium during one baseball season. Assuming that you can afford to do this… and have the time… this is a “reasonable” goal.

Now what is the first thing you should do? I would get a schedule for the entire season for all the teams. Short term goal? You Bet ! Easily accomplished? Yes Indeed !

The rest of the short term goals are simple. Determine the geographical locations of each stadium. Plan your traveling method (are you going to drive, fly, go by bus or some other method). Figure out the most convenient itinerary, correlating with the schedule, how you can go from stadium to yourself ample time to do this. Then decide if you want to buy tickets in advance or wait until you get to the stadium (you might have some unexpected delays along the way).

You also have to plan where you are going to stay along the way (unless you are hitching a trailer to your car, or plan to camp out each night). There are other things that will come up that decisions will have to be made, but what have you already set up to do? You have established a number of short term goals that are easily accomplished. By doing this you are having fun, building up your self confidence and believing in yourself that you, indeed, can accomplish your main goal of seeing every major league baseball team play in their respective stadium during one baseball season. One hint…I would begin your pre planning well in advance of the season starting
(don’t begin in August).

It can not be stressed enough the importance of establishing short term goals that are relatively easy accomplished in the pre planning of reaching a long term goal you want to reach.

The next point is once you have set that goal don’t let anything stop you from reaching it. Let me repeat that. Once you have set that goal don't let anything stop you from reaching it !

Talk yourself out of any negative thoughts or behavior along the way. Once you begin to think that you might not accomplish your goal, you are heading down the road to failure.

 I realize that it is “easier said than done.” Well, I have a news flash for you.
“EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE.” The first step is to make a commitment to begin doing, than you can think about how to get it done.

Be aware as you begin accomplishing your short term goals and recognize your success of accomplishment (pat yourself on the back and then say…next!).

If you have people be critical of you as you forge ahead…it’s OK to listen to them. But never ever let them affect your belief in yourself (that’s bad).  By listening you may actually receive some constructive advice that will be beneficial (that’s good).

You must believe in yourself because if you don’t…no one else will.

This belief coupled with an action plan and the determination that you will succeed will enable you to do exactly that…SUCCEED.

Make “believing in yourself” a habit. Practice it constantly
Will you ALWAYS succeed? No !

Should an occasional failure make you stop believing in yourself? Of course not !

An occasional failure is OK… if you use it as a learning tool. Why did you fail? What can you do to avoid failing in the future?

Let a failure reinforce your determination to succeed with your next goal and go full steam ahead.

History is replete with people who failed along the road to success.

The famous author, Alex Haley had over a hundred rejections before his novel “Roots” was published. He won the Pulitzer Prize along with many other honors. Alex Haley believed in himself.

So can you.

Are there any other people who failed before they succeeded? Look up the meaning of the word replete and read these stories.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN went to war as a captain and returned a private. He failed in business and was defeated twice in attempts to run for congress. He was defeated in other political endeavors along the way to being elected President of the United States.

HENRY FORD went broke 5 times before he succeeded.


THOMAS EDISON was fired from his first two jobs because he was non productive. In the process of trying to invent the light bulb he made hundreds of unsuccessful attempts. When he was asked, “How did it feel to fail hundreds of times?” Edison said,“I didn’t fail hundreds of times. The light bulb was an invention of hundreds of steps.”


MICHAEL JORDAN was cut from his high school basketball team. He once said,“I’ve failed over and over again in my life.That’s why I succeed.”


WALT DISNEY’S first animation company failed and at one point could not pay his rent and survived by eating dog food. When Walt tried to get MGM to distribute Mickey Mouse in 1927 he was told that his idea would never work because the idea of a giant mouse on the screen would terrify women. Walt suffered many setbacks. Yet he learned from those setbacks and continued to take even bigger risks and combined with the wisdom that experiencing failure, along with the never wavering belief in himself, went on to be a giant in his industry.

Jerry Brown, Attorney General of California, Hillary Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Kathleen Sullivan, former dean of Stanford law school (just to name a few).

OK, does this mean that you should strive to fail so that you can succeed later.
You ALWAYS strive to succeed…and no matter what happens when you are reaching for success you NEVER lose your self confidence…and you ALWAYS keep believing in yourself.

It is now time for another “personal” story where I can pat myself on the back to illustrate how believing in yourself works. Really, I am truly a humble, quiet, and modest individual…but I’m just saying.

In 1988 the State of Arizona passed a law eliminating the requirement to have a front license plate for licensed vehicles in the state. It was a cost savings measure for the state and it simply meant that when license plates were issued only one license plate would be sent (to be placed on the rear of the vehicle). Furthermore, it was legal to now remove the front license plate you had on your vehicle.

I had just left the real estate business and was in need of finding something else to do. I was a “young” 51 years old and too young to retire. Besides,I wasn’t rich and still had to make a living.

I had checked out a number of business opportunities that my due diligence had discarded and I was determined not to“find a job”. So far I had accomplished not "finding a job"... by not "looking for a job."

The thought occurred to me that this new law would result in a new type of product being created. It only stood to reason that someone would create a “novelty” front license plate to fill that empty
6”x 12” space in the front of vehicles in Arizona.

A few months passed and lo and behold there was no such product on the market. The more I thought about it the more I became convinced that this was an opportunity to look into.

My long term goal was to start a business that would be successful. I began by asking people around me that I knew… what their opinions were. The advise I was given was most helpful.

“You got to be kidding me” … “WHAT !” … “Have you lost your mind?”... were just a few of the comments. Buoyed by this support I decided to develop a plan.I needed some short term goals that I could easily accomplish.

My first goal was to find a local plastic company that could provide me with 6”x12” blanks of plastic that would have 4 slots (for the bolts to secure the plates). After several days of searching I found an ideal set up. I found a company that would not only provide the blanks, they also would arrange to do the silk printing of the clever and witty sayings that I would come up with that people would want to buy and put on the front of their vehicles. Do you see a “failure” story coming? Just be patient.

My next step was determining the costs involved to produce the finished product and then figure a marketable retail price that would work.I had to keep some space for a wholesale price and a commission that might be paid to some middle person who would sell wholesale. I had no idea at the time who these “middle” people would be I only knew that if I was going to build a successful business... it couldn’t only be me doing ALL of the selling.

I did my calculations and it was now “decision time”. Do I do it …or not? I asked my wife what she thought and she said, “Honey, I have always believed in you …so you do… what YOU believe in (Or words to that effect). I decided to“LET’S DO IT !

Arrangements were made, checks were written and a business was started.
I did all of the legal business organization work and began creating some clever and witty sayings to start our line of products. I began with 10 different sayings. WORLDS GREATEST GRANDMA…WORLD’S GREATEST GRANDPA… I LOVE MY WIFE…HERE COMES TROUBLE…MOM’S TAXI…GOD BLESS AMERICA…HIS…HERS…I LOVE MY TRUCK…AND…RETIRED.

 Clever and witty, right?
I contacted a friend of mine who owned and operated 3 pharmacies that also sold various gift items and novelty products (think Walgreens or CVS). I showed him my ingenious and soon to be successful product and he gave me some space on one of his shelves to display my novelty license plates.

The arrangement was that I would return in one week to replenish the inventory and pay him a commission for all those that were sold.

The time went by slowly (I was hoping for a call mid-week telling me to rush back because they were selling out). I didn't get the call week later I returned to take inventory. I went right to my shelf and began counting. I had left 20 pieces (2 of each design). There were 19 license
plates still there.

It wasn’t what I was hoping for but at least one person recognized the brilliance of the product and saw fit to adorn his car with a novelty license plate.
Then I looked to my right and saw the 20th piece. Someone, evidently took I LOVE MY WIFE off
my shelf and at least  looked at it  before deciding NOT to buy it (maybe he and his wife were having problems) and then put it back out of place 2 shelves to his right.

Problem? Yes ! Time to give up? No !

If you have read other chapters you will know that when you have a problem you should immediately begin to think about a solution rather than worrying about the problem.

It was time to go back to the think tank. What was wrong? How could it be changed? Was it because my product was made of plastic when a real license plate was made of metal with embossed (raised) numbers and letters? Was it because of the way they were displayed?

My conclusion was Yes and Yes. I did some research and found that there were 20 other states that had the same law as Arizona…that did not require a front license plate.

The research also turned up that there were no local companies that could produce a metal embossed printed product. Time to give up now?  No!  I still believed that this was a good idea and
I was determined not to give up. 

I went to the library and looked through the yellow pages from some of these states that did not require a front license plate (remember, this was now 1989 and Yahoo and Google hadn’t arrived yet).

There was a company in Atlanta, Georgia listed under Stamps and Seals that also mentioned “embossed metal signs and novelties “. A quick phone call confirmed that they, indeed, produced a metal embossed novelty license plate and in fact also had a catalogue listing (with pictures) all of their designs.
Several days later their catalogue arrived. Eureka ! It seems that there were some other geniuses in Georgia (a one plate state) that were marketing novelty front license plates.

I examined the cleverly crafted colorful catalogue which showed pictures of over 700 different designs including professional sports teams and a whole bunch of colleges and universities (which all required licensing agreements that this company had acquired). There were other licensed logo designs including automobile logos plus many others.

In addition, this company also had different types of display racks including a floor spinner rack. This rack was self standing, took up less than 2 square feet and had 24 different exposure positions to display the product. It was absolutely perfect. I could say that I designed it myself but check out my chapter about lying.

My mind (and self confidence) was just like the rack… “spinning”. I had just found out all the solutions to my problems about product production and display. This company would also produce
(in quantity) my own designs. In fact, I felt I had hit the mother lode. Now my goal (short term) was to plan how I would market and sell my newly found novelty front license plates.

I got back in touch with the company that produced the product and discussed my interest in becoming one of their customers and what type of relationship we could have.

They explained that they have different levels of prices. It all depended on the quantity that was purchased and the consistency of orders. Your relationship ranged from a primary customer up to being considered a distributor that would run your own businesses they way you saw fit. The company did not sell directly to the public (except for advertising specialty custom designed plates).
That was fine with me. In fact, it gave me another idea of how the product could be marketed.
Custom designs for local schools, businesses and organizations opened up many opportunities.
Fund raisers for schools or charities...exposure for political candidates...were just a couple ideas that
I hadn't thought of originally.

OK, now what was my next short term goal? I had to convince my newly discovered manufacturer that I was a serious and well qualified person that actually would be beneficial to them and that I would build a successful business in Arizona and beyond. In other words I was planning a negotiation which would end up being a win-win situation (the best kind).

This story has a happy ending because the novelty license plates developed into a very successful business which grew from a home based small business (I started off working out of the trunk of my car)... into an international diverse company. I ran this company for a number of years and eventually sold the company to a couple (husband and wife)… who bought this successful business and turned it into a bigger and even more successful company which they still own and run. You will hear more about their story in the chapter TRUST AND VERIFY under the ABOUT PEOPLE heading.

We never know what will happen to us in our lives. Things happen. If someone had told me prior to 1989 that I would own and run a business selling novelty front license plates I would have told them they were crazy. I mean after all, I was a college graduate in the real estate business and over 50 years old.
But something did happen… and a silly (at the time) idea became a major decision in my life. Yes, I could have given up on my idea when I experienced the failure of the plastic product right out of the box…but I didn’t. I still believed in the idea and I believed in myself.

Am I a genius? Definitely… NOT. I made a lot of mistakes along the way and created a number of problems that needed to be solved. There were also a number of lucky things that contributed to the success of my business. The point is... believing in yourself and not giving upallows things to happen... that lead to the accomplishment of goals and the success you desire.
Never be afraid to try something new. Remember...Amateurs built the Ark...and professionals built the Titanic..

For the purpose of this chapter BELIEVE IN YOURSELF OR NO ONE ELSE WILL ...I will end here with a beautiful poem written by an unknown author that I recently discovered.
                                                              Believe In Yourself 
                                                                   By Author Unknown

There may be days when you get up in the morning and things aren't the way you had hoped they would be, that's when you have to tell yourself that things will get better.

There are times when people disappoint you and let you down,but those are the times when you must remind yourself to trust your own judgments and opinions, to keep your life focused on believing in yourself and all that you are capable of.

There will be challenges to face and changes to make in your life, and it is up to you to accept them.

Constantly keep yourself headed in the right direction for you.

It may not be easy at times, but in those times of struggle you will find a stronger sense of who you are, so when the days come that are filled with frustration and unexpected responsibilities,
remember to believe in yourself and all you want your life to be, because the challenges and changes will only help you to find the goals that you know are meant to come true for you.

Keep believing in yourself

See you next time,