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Michael Gardon

  • Writer's pictureMichael Gardon

The Belief Flywheel. - The Break Issue 28

Updated: Apr 30

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Today's Issue

In today’s issue, you'll learn:

  • #1 factor that separates long term success from failure that I've learned the hard way.

  • how to build your belief flywheel

Let’s dive in.

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The Belief Flywheel

I grew up in a believing household.

Went to Catholic school grades 1-12 and was taught about belief in a higher power.

We went to church every Sunday.

Strangely, growing up around all that belief, I struggle mightily to believe in myself.

So, I think I have a unique perspective on the power of belief.

I can look back at my childhood moments from athletics or academics and I am convinced that the only real separator between moments of mediocrity and greatness is belief.

I can look back at hard challenges I’ve taken on where I “almost” made it, and the defining factor is belief.

I had the skills, I had the abilities, but I didn’t BELIEVE.

I have the ability to see this now at 41 that I didn’t have at age 10, 15, 18, 25, or 30.

And as I’ve come to recognize this separating factor, I’ve taken baby steps, that have convinced me more and more that belief is the missing element.

I haven’t ever shied away from doing hard things, but I also don’t think I’ve really fully committed either.

Even though I’ve:

  • taken on new challenges

  • started (and failed) at businesses

  • completed an Ironman triathlon

  • quit my corporate job

I still don’t feel like I’ve “made it.” Maybe I never will feel that way.

Like most of us, I need to SEE success.

But BELIEF is based on us not seeing.

So in order to believe more, I need a feedback loop of success I can see.

I need a belief flywheel.

Believing in yourself is something you can learn, but it takes guts. It takes the willingness to fail. It takes the willingness to expend energy, time and money for an uncertain outcome. It takes investment in loss .

A flywheel is a metaphor for a system that stores and builds, and keeps momentum with a low, but constant input.

To create a belief flywheel we need to make tiny progresses, stack them, and gradually take on bigger and bigger challenges until we believe!

It’s hard at first, but gets easier and easier to keep going.

For belief we need to use our entire brains - our right brain to explore what is scary and our left brain to sequence our actions into a plan that can get us to the other side.

Use your right brain to explore:

What are you capable of?

What do you want?

What lights you up?

Why not?

Then use your left brain to build the plan:

What tiny action to you need to see to believe more every day?

What needs to happen for progress?

What do you need to schedule more of?

What do you need to schedule less of?

What skill do you need to learn?

Here are the steps

1. Expand your possibilities with a BANG

Tap into the motivation and emotion you feel to be more than what you are today. For me it was the moment I realized my progress didn’t have to be linear. I wasn’t on a predetermined path. I said, I’m only 27, I can do ANYTHING. This was my investment in loss moment.

Write down all the things you could do.

2. Pick one scary thing

Pick something off the list. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just pick something that looks scary and has you feeling like YOU can’t possibly do it. One of mine was completing an Ironman .

3. Chunk down until you have clarity on the next small step

Ask yourself what you would need to see to believe? Keep asking yourself that until you have the smallest next step that you have absolute clarity on.

Do believe I could do an ironman I needed to know I could:

  • do a half ironman

  • complete an Olympic triathlon

  • complete a sprint triathlon

  • swim 1000 yards

  • swim 100 yards

So my first action was to “teach myself” how to swim 100 yards.

4. Ship it

Do the thing. It’s small. There’s minimal resistance. No one is watching. The pressure is off, so just ship the work.

5. Repeat

Ship again on the next thing. And the next and the next.

Its that easy, but it takes time. When I set the goal to complete an ironman, I gave my self 3 years to work up to it. I needed to build the confidence in myself. And I did it.

My point in telling you all this, is that I’ve accomplished all of this freedom and control by barely scratching the surface of belief in myself.

What could you accomplish by believing even a tiny bit in YOU?

Belief is a foundational habit to nurture and build. I believe in belief so much that the theme of my 2023 is “Focused betting on me”.

Belief is the single biggest change you can make to start a positive flywheel of progress, freedom and control.

So start today, and let me know how it goes.

See you next week!


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In this episode, we track Alex’s career. We discuss how he found his superpower, and how he leveraged that power to make leaps into completely different industries. We also dissect how he transitioned his business to fit into his life instead of sucking the life out of him. Finally, we discuss what skills he is trying to teach his 4 kids for the future. Heads up! These are important for anyone to have now and into the future.

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