Wisdom Key – We live in a period of unprecedented opportunity. The secrets of enduring advantage are available to anyone who wishes to climb to the very pinnacle of achievement. Each article in this series highlights two critical attributes from our book, 101 Keys to Achievement and Fulfillment. This is the eighth key. Determine your favourite key as you travel this incredible journey of achievement and fulfillment. Enjoy the read!!

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best footballers in the world today. The Portuguese winger was virtually unknown in 2003 when Manchester United toured Portugal in pre-season and played what was supposed to be a routine training match with Sporting Lisbon. The vintage skills he exhibited and his role in the surprise demolition of Manchester United earned him a transfer to join the English giants. That was a case of seizing his opportunity to exhibit his competence on the big stage.


Today, he has honed his skills and made significant improvements in his game. He has moved from earning a paltry income to become one of the highest paid,  most valuable and sought after players in the world. He has been voted the best player in the world on an incredible five occasions.


Your route to career success and fulfilment will be greatly enhanced by your competence in the important areas of your work. Everyone is paid to do something specific in a team or organisation. To be competent is to have the necessary skills or qualities; it means developing your ability in your field. The interpretation of competence varies with different roles. A goalkeeper’s competence lies in how well he prevents the ball from entering the goal posts. On the other hand, a striker is hired to put the ball into the goal posts and he earns his reward for doing just that. Whether you are paid to score, defend, attack or referee, just be excellent at doing it.

As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we’ve been given – Mary Lou Retton.

To improve your competence, you need to define what your role is and what constitutes success for you. Commit yourself to being excellent in that most important thing that the world looks up to you to perform. One of the habits of the competent is to under promise and over deliver. Always give people more than they expect from you. That means going the extra mile even when you have not been asked. Competence is dynamic. You cannot perform at yesterday’s level and claim to still be competent. You need to invest daily into having that something extra that distinguishes the excellent from the also runs. That is your surest way to the top.


Becoming the best also means enduring the disappointments and failures that go with developing your skills and keeping at it till you get to the very top of your field. At the peak of his career, Michael Jordan captured this principle so succinctly when he said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”




Self-confidence is a real asset in building a career or in generally relating to people. People who are confident are noticed and respected for who they are. When you lack confidence, you hardly believe yourself when you speak and cannot convince anyone else about what you are offering them. Many people associate lack of confidence with lying. It is easily noticeable by the lack of eye contact and fidgeting when speaking.


Imagine sitting with an already skeptical financier you are trying to convince to invest in your new project. If you keep interjecting the discussion with comments like “Well, I don’t know how things will turn out” or “I hope it works, somehow,” what do you think the person would do? He or she is likely to use your doubt as a basis for refusal. When people deal with you, they look beyond the façade at how confident you are on the issues; and whatever they see is what they believe.


Confidence comes in handy for the sales person, the pastor, the politician and anyone in any kind of profession, whether as an employer or employee. When you walk into the workplace or into a meeting, you must look bright, fresh and enthusiastic. Your body language and posture must exude a sense of confidence and assurance. Dragging your feet with your shoulders drooping suggests a low sense of self-esteem. You are seen to be confident when you walk briskly with your shoulders straight and a spring in your step. Your dressing has a direct bearing and must therefore augment your self-confidence. We organised a high-profile conference where a particular speaker came much too casually dressed. This affected his self-confidence badly and, in the end ‘hijacked’ what would otherwise have been a great presentation.


Self-confidence is born out of a sense of self belief and self-worth. You need to appreciate your uniqueness and the value you bring wherever you go. Tell yourself every morning, as you look into the mirror, that you are one of God’s most special gifts to the world. With that kind of belief and the confidence it generates, there will be no room in your life for envying others or looking down on yourself.


Being confident is not a license for arrogance. With your self belief must also come a sense of humility, borne out of the realisation that you could easily fail or make mistakes. Give no place to arrogance and learn to respect the less accomplished or endowed. This will ensure that you keep rising all the way to the top.


Key Thought: When you look in the mirror everyday, do you see a cat or a lion? The picture you see will eventually manifest itself in your life. Tell yourself, “I am a lion.”





“101 Keys to Achievement & Fulfillment” by Albert & Comfort Ocran



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You cannot consistently perform in a manner which is inconsistent with the way you see yourself – Zig Ziglar.



Albert & Comfort Ocran are Executive Coaches, Authors and Media lEducators. Their extensive list of corporate training clients can be found in the mining, petrochemical, banking, insurance, finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, public sector and not-for-profit agencies. You can reach them at [email protected] or [email protected] or call, SMS or Whatsapp 024 9999 000.

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