Yesterday the prestigious American Ballet Theater promoted Misty Copeland to principal dancer. Copeland is the first African American female, in ABT’s 75-year history, to earn top rank.

She chronicles her journey from one of L.A.’s toughest neighborhoods to center stage, in her memoir “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina”. Copeland’s story is one of courage and determination. So it was fitting that Under Armour feature her in its I Will What I Want campaign. Copeland willed herself into the history books, despite adversity and criticism. What’s holding you back?

As you pause for a brief respite this Fourth of July weekend, consider what’s keeping you from achieving your professional goals. And declare your independence from those obstacles, self-imposed or otherwise. Below are a few tips to help you will what you want:

Lead with your strengths

I recently led a branding and identity study for a client. I spent several months interviewing employees and clients of the firm, observing sales presentations, and conducting focus groups.

Several times, I witnessed members of the leadership team apologizing to prospects about things that were completely out of their immediate control – location, size, product offering.

Our prospects have many choices. And we’ll never be all things to all people. But we’re destined to achieve great things when we learn to:

  • Package our genius
  • Lead with the strengths that make us unique
  • Share our story with the audience that is best suited for our services
  • Stop apologizing for what we can’t control

Boost your self-esteem

Is confidence the culprit? Take inventory of the things that you can control, that are likely affecting your self-esteem.

Would you benefit from more product training or industry designations? Is your wardrobe or personal style dated? Could you be more impactful if you strengthened your communications or negotiation skills?

A small investment in your personal brand today, will reap generous rewards going forward.

Create a brag folder

When I graduated from college, I worked as an advertising account executive at Miami Herald.

My mentor assured me that sales would be filled with highs and lows. And he encouraged me to save letters of praise and certificates of sales achievement, to help boost my spirits when I felt defeated.

Ask clients for a testimonial or letter of endorsement, after you’ve earned it. Read these confidence boosters when you need a reminder of just how good you are at what you do.

Let go of perfectionism

Motivational Speaker Les Brown once said, “You don’t have to be great to get started. But you do have to get started to be great.”

There’s a fine line between perfectionism and procrastination. And both will hinder your success. If you believe in your brand and your ability to help others, don’t keep yourself a secret any longer!