U Gotta Believe!

07 Jan 2018
Deion Sanders

I live by and teach a saying that I coined at Florida State: “U Gotta Believe!” There’s no easier way to put it. You cannot ACHIEVE if you do not BELIEVE! Believe means “to have confidence in the TRUTH”. When you believe in something it gives you CONFIDENCE. People who lack belief will always mistake confidence for arrogance. I’ve always said don’t allow my confidence to offend your insecurity. For most of my life, especially during my playing career, people who did not know or believe in me called me COCKY, when I was just being CONFIDENT. (What in the world does “cocky” mean, anyway?) Please, never allow other people’s disbelief shake your confidence in the TRUTH of who you are.


Now, let me take you to school for a moment. The root word of confidence is CONFIDE. Sometimes you have to confide in yourself knowing that some people will never understand or appreciate you. (Now that was some real talk!) Please, listen! Your belief should never be tied to their agreement or approval. Stand firm in your belief – even if no one else believes in you. My problem early on with the media was that they were upset because I told them I was great…before they had a chance to, and they realized that I could care less about their opinion of me. Even Jesus had doubters, naysayers and haters, but that didn’t shake His belief in Himself and His assignment. DOUBTERS make you DOUBLE and HATERS make you GREATER!


Sometimes you have to believe even when all evidence suggests otherwise. (Honestly, that sounds like the definition of faith.) The true test of your belief is when you can believe with no proof! Let me explain. Anyone can believe when everything looks good, but it takes true belief to stand firm when you’re on shaky ground. And if you’ve lived long enough, you’ve come across some ground that’s shaky (and some people that are shady). You can touch your neighbor and say “amen” on that one! All of life’s challenges and obstacles are designed to shake your belief in some way. When your relationship goes bad it shakes your belief in true love and people. When you lose your job it shakes your belief in your own success and the fairness of life. When your plans fall through it shakes your belief in your future – distorting your focus.


Even if your belief has been SHAKEN…don’t let it get TAKEN! (WOW!) Hold on to your belief, like it’s a winning LOTTO ticket! Belief is the GPS that helps you navigate through the treacherous terrain of life. It’s hard to get lost when you find belief. If belief is our GPS, we have to follow the turn-by-turn directions like it’s voiced by James Earl Jones. We have to follow the directions of our GPS: God, Process, and Self. Here’s how:


  1. Belief in God

The first and most important step in the belief process is belief in God. I know some of you may not share my faith and belief in God, but this is what works for me, and it’s about time that we believe in something beyond ourselves. My belief in God is what has given direction and protection for my life. As I shared in my book, “Power, Money and Sex” before I found belief in God, I was lost and had no direction. I was at the point of contemplating (and nearly committing) suicide. My life was nearly careening into a ditch (literally) until I found belief in God and His love for me. That’s why parents and kids need to be careful of who you choose as role models. I was just a model playing a role.

I TRULY want to encourage you to find the love and direction that has meant so much in my life. All of the success in my life starts with my belief in God. He has given me the direction that I needed and has me on the right path.


  1. Belief in the Process

Everyone has to through the process. Success is not an event; SUCCESS is a PROCESS. There is no such thing as an “overnight success”. It takes about 20 years to become an overnight success. When people say me playing at Florida State or in the NFL and Major League Baseball, they didn’t see the years of struggle, hard work, late nights and disappointments that came along the way. (That last statement was so real!)


I never once played a game of baseball where they told me I could go from home plate, cut across the pitcher’s mound, and start my at-bat on 2nd base! No, I had to go through a process. I may have had to hit a double, or hit a single and steal second…but I never started on 2nd base. I had to go through the PROCESS! One of my former Florida State baseball and football teammates, Victor Floyd, did try to cut across the field going from 3rd base to 1st base after a fly ball. It was really funny at the time, but it’s no joking matter when YOU try to abort the process of life.


I can tell you, oftentimes the PROCESS is PAINFUL. I was hit-by-pitch 21 times during my professional baseball career (there’s something about that number 21). Each time I was hit by a pitch I got to advance to 1st base, but I had to endure some pain before I got there. Sometimes, you will have to endure some pain before you can advance in life. Don’t let the pain hinder your belief…it’s all a part of the process.


  1. Belief in Self

While it is important to believe in God and believe in the process, it is equally important to believe in yourself. U Gotta Believe…in U! If you don’t believe in yourself…ain’t nobody else will! Diana Ross sang a song that said you have to “Believe in yourself right from the start”. If no one else believes in you…YOU should believe in YOU. When YOU believe in YOU…there is nothing that YOU cannot do! When you believe in you, you start believing that things will work out for you. And when you start believing that things will work out…they usually do!


It’s hard for me to fathom that you could believe in that chair that you’re sitting in. You could believe in that phone you use. You believe that your car will crank up every morning, and you do believe that God is going to wake you up every day (even if you don’t understand how He did it). Yet, in spite of all of that…you don’t believe in yourself. You will never get where you’re going if you don’t believe that YOU can get there!


Don’t leave home without your GPS today. Believe in God. Believe in the Process. Believe in Self.


(By the way, I don’t wear cologne….my natural odor is “Confidence”. I’m sure you smell it!)




Deion Sanders played professional football and baseball for 16 years. Deion’s career and personal life have seen many highs and lows, winning 2 Super Bowls and playing in the World Series, he is still the only player to have ever hit a homerun (MLB) and scored a touchdown (NFL) in the same week. Deion always lives his life to the fullest and his positivity and spirituality come through in his words wether he is doing a motivational speech or writing.

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