Develop meaningful relationships with those who see in you the potential that you do not see in yourself (requiring that you exhibit a healthy dose of transparency). After resigning from the financial services firm that I referenced prior (and effectively starting all over again), if I needed anything, it was people in my corner who were willing to go to bat for me. I was blessed beyond mere words by 3 people in particular who played meaningful and life-changing roles in my life at key moments. As to believing in myself, I’ll never forget Suzanne who shared with me one day what she found most appealing about me, my most important characteristic. “Your authentic humility. You will never forget the hole you climbed out of.” She is right. I won’t.

Starting something new is scary. Learning to believe in yourself can be a critical precursor to starting a new initiative. Why is it so important to learn to believe in yourself? How can someone work on gaining these skills? In this interview series, we are talking to business leaders, authors, writers, coaches, medical professionals, teachers, to share empowering insights about “How To Learn To Believe In Yourself.” As a part of this series we had the pleasure of interviewing Alan Freedman.

Alan was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He was a financial advisor in Canada and the United States for over 52 years. His background includes Inspirational Main Platform speaking, professional writing, singing, lay preaching and counseling. He is the oldest of 3 boys.

Alan’s podcast website address is and lists all the episodes he has hosted. He can also be reached at [email protected].

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

The 2 neighborhoods I grew up in were first, in the middle-class of north Toronto (where much of my days were invested playing road hockey or baseball at the side of my house) and then when my father acquired exclusive Canadian distribution rights to the hula hoop and his financial fortunes exploded to the upside, moved north of Toronto to the privileged area of Bayview, having access to the benefits of one’s family being members of the local prestigious country club. Scholastically I was a disaster and a rebel. I felt that it was my mission to entertain my fellow students throughout the school day, like entertaining the troops. I made life for my teachers, a virtual (or was it literal?) hell on earth, for example, I recall Miss Harris calling my mother on the phone bawling her eyes out, confessing that she did not know how to handle me. I really liked Miss Harris. Then there was my music teacher (I do not recall his name). I played slide trombone and took the liberty as often as I felt it appropriate, to play my part the way I felt it ought to be played and damn the author of the music. Like most 13-year-old Jewish boys, I had my Bar Mitzvah. It was a horrifically traumatic experience for me. There is a significant part of the service requiring the bar mitzvah to chant a portion of the Torah. I remember when my bar mitzvah teacher asked me, as the big day was drawing near, to rehearse in front of my parents, I was mortified to discover that my voice was cracking horribly. I was going to do this live before friends and family. The very thought of this brought me to tears. I wanted out. I don’t know which was worse…chanting from a portion of the torah while my voice was changing or not knowing to this day, what happened to my bar mitzvah gelt (money). I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the countless number of hours I invested in myself behind closed doors where I pretended that I was on stage, mimicking the vocalist or band I was listening to.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

More important than making a living is making a life. You will recall from my biography, that my past pursuits (and passions), included counseling others and lay preaching. In my case, the counseling meant marriage counseling. In addition, my roles within the evangelical church which included my now developed and accomplished singing voice, gave me all the high profile I could handle, and I didn’t handle it well. People wanted to be with me, pray with me, touch me. It was intoxicating! Although I publicly exuded that I had it all together, privately my life was a disaster with my marriage holding on by a thread. Fran and I had hit rock bottom. I had been attending a Friday night Bible study for some time and why not…in their eyes, I was hot stuff. It was the first Friday after New Years. After some time, the person leading the gathering suggested that we form a circle with our chairs and then when it was each person’s turn, they would present to the group, the most meaningful thing that GOD had done in their life the prior year. I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. I was living a lie and I was about to be exposed. I could not hold it in any longer….and it was my turn. Everything that had pent up for months came gushing out. “I’m the worst husband on the face of the earth and I don’t know how to do this” I screamed! The tears were pouring from my eyes. I went home after the meeting and shared with Fran what had transpired that evening, sincerely apologizing for the nightmare she had been living with, begging her forgiveness. It was the leap I needed to take for the life purpose I felt called to, to manifest itself in the lives of those who would cross my path in need of a spiritual transplant that too, was DIVINELY inspired.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

A colleague of mine was about to be married and our entire office were invited guests. The company we worked for was extremely conservative and likely would reflect the dress of the attendees. Except me of course (I’m the rebel, remember?). Amongst my attire, I wore my gold painted Beatle boots, certain to draw attention. Did it ever! First thing on Monday morning, as I entered the office, the Regional Manager, with an unmistakable look of disdain written all over his face, summoned me to his office and made it abundantly clear that he not only was “ticked off” (understatement) with my apparel choices but also, wanted there to be no misunderstanding that as a representative of the firm, I was to represent them appropriately 24/7, including following their dress code. 24/7? I had heard enough and walked out. The next morning, first thing, I marched myself into the Regional Manager’s office and handed him my resignation. He said, “Good Luck. You’re going to need it. We are your only prospect for success, and you just threw that away!” He could not have been more wrong. Taking that leap and believing in me were the catalysts I needed to achieve what became a successful 52-year career as a highly acclaimed financial advisor, both in Canada and the United Staes. It would never have happened had I not made my “mistake.” The potential that resides in me just waiting to be tapped is “off the charts!” Nothing and no one can hold me back!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I am in the process of writing my fourth book titled Till Death Do Us Part? — until the masks come off and the wax removed, every date is a blind one! Some will read the title and deduce that at the most, I’m anti-marriage or at the least, anti-relationship. That is simply not the case. Nor am I anti-love. If anything, I’m a lover and not a fighter. I am however averse to entering any relationship with rose-colored glasses and paying dearly for it, especially when there exists an immense body of empirical data one could have drawn from to mitigate a disaster. This book will function as just such an invaluable resource and guide. By the way, what’s love got to do with all this anyway? Is love an emotion that vacillates like the changing of the wind, hot one moment, followed by room temperature and then cold the next, or is it a decision, a choice, a rock-solid fortress that will stand no matter the storms it faces…or is it both and subject to change? Given that no one and I mean no one will meet all the needs of their life-partner, what role does a soulmate play? Caveat emptor: buyer beware!

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to believe in yourself? Can you share a story or give some examples?

There is no shortage of predators in our world, who have honed their devious ways to near perfection, waiting to pounce on and assault, those who exhibit the least sign of weakness in themself or trust in the perpetrator. There is even a name for one of their tactics…grooming. Many of them are clothed in otherwise respectable stations and positions in life. Many are family members or near friends of family. The trauma that follows can last a lifetime. I recall a woman and a dear friend I interviewed who shared with me her story which has haunted her since the age of 7. Apparently, time doesn’t heal all wounds. A close friend of her parents, over time, had been allowed to take her and her brother out for a change of scenery, with the allure of visiting nice places and receiving nice gifts, culminating one night alone with him in a dark parking lot, stretched out across his lap, undressed from the waist down, underneath a lamp pole. Thank GOD the police showed up, taking her in for questioning. When her dad arrived at the police station, he wanted to know, not what his friend had been up to but what she did. What she did? She was 7 years old! Her upbringing to that point had been totally absent as to developing the skillset necessary to believe in herself. How might her life to that point and beyond been different if it hadn’t been?

Another significant reason as to why it is so very important to believe in oneself is this…those who are closest to us, can and may inadvertently say or do something that virtually (and in a worst case over time literally), break our heart. Take for instance the evening we were returning home from an evening out as a family. Winning the approval of my dad had been so important to me and did everything in my power to achieve it. Me and my 2 brothers were sitting in the back of the car. The focus of the conversation shifted to us. Our dad directed the discussion to the middle brother. “You’re my favorite, he said. You will grow up to be a lawyer or a doctor and will make lots of money. You two will be fine”. His words, as if they were a dagger, went deep into my heart. Achieving great success both personally and professionally, something entirely within my control, empowered me to believe in myself, diminishing and eventually overcoming my dad’s insensitive comments.

What exactly does it mean to believe in yourself? Can I believe that I can be a great artist even though I’m not very talented? Can I believe I can be a gold medal Olympic even if I’m not athletic? Can you please explain what you mean?

Believing in yourself means having eyes that see, ears that hear and a heart that understands, as if you’ve already received the object of your focus, if it reflects progress of an existing strength and not a weakness. Its material and tangible evidence is a certainty! Our role is simply to slow down, be present and wait!

Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?

There sure was. When I was married for the first time (it was legal for 10 years but in fact, on many levels, it was over in 5), my then spouse began comparing me and my accomplishments or lack thereof in her eyes, to others and in particular, 1 successful realtor. So and so works harder, accomplishes more, makes more money and on and on it went. Initially, I listened to her negative verbal assaults as if I were a punching bag, pleading my case, telling her I’d do better, then 1 day I’d had enough and filed for a divorce. Taking that leap and choosing to believe in myself and my future was arguably, one of the most effective life and career decisions I’ve ever made!

At what point did you realize that in order to get to the next level, it would be necessary to build up your belief in yourself? Can you share the story with us?

Piggybacking off what I shared above, not long after I filed for a divorce, my then spouse contacted me by phone and told me that she’d been thinking and had had a change of heart, and that I wasn’t the “loser” she’d been characterizing me as. Rather, as a husband and provider, I was a “pretty good deal” and wanted to resume the marriage. Too late! I realized fully that if I were going to become the best version of myself, it would be crucial for me to make sure that chapter of my life was solidly in the rear-view mirror, where it belonged. Going forward, I would only invest the precious and limited days of my life with those who see and appreciate the innate value I possess.

What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.

1 . Develop meaningful relationships with those who see in you the potential that you do not see in yourself (requiring that you exhibit a healthy dose of transparency). After resigning from the financial services firm that I referenced prior (and effectively starting all over again), if I needed anything, it was people in my corner who were willing to go to bat for me. I was blessed beyond mere words by 3 people in particular who played meaningful and life-changing roles in my life at key moments. As to believing in myself, I’ll never forget Suzanne who shared with me one day what she found most appealing about me, my most important characteristic. “Your authentic humility. You will never forget the hole you climbed out of.” She is right. I won’t.

2 . Whenever someone acts in a way that conflicts with your values, which may be toward you or not, make that known to them and that it is non-negotiable. A former regular participant in the BOCCE group I play with, thought it would be acceptable in public, specifically when we are playing BOCCE, to unabashedly use “the n word.” The next time the group met and before we played, I requested a meeting then and there and brought the matter to them, making my position clear…that I stood firmly in opposition to such insensitive and divisive language and if it were going to be acceptable to the group, sadly, my days with them were over. Thankfully, they all agreed. My belief in me went off the charts!

3 . Practice the priceless art of being present, where the belief in yourself resides. Anything else is an absolute waste of precious time. Focusing in the rear-view mirror of life is pointless…impotent. It has already passed you by and can no longer, positively, or negatively, be impacted by you. Gazing into the future is just as empty. It has not happened yet. It does not exist. In both cases, what is at issue is the difference between spending time and investing time. When one is spending time, the expectation is that at the end of the day, they’ll have less than they started with. They spent it down. When they invested time however, it is the opposite…at the end of the day, it’s anticipated that there will be more than they started with. It was invested. This interview I’m preparing for Authority Magazine is an illustration of me believing in myself while investing time…in the present.

4 . Whenever you find yourself being assaulted by thoughts of doubt or lack of confidence, stop entertaining them and replace them with what your actual victorious experience was when this happened prior. My former business partner, whenever she was confronted with an upcoming examination she needed to pass in order to earn a specific professional designation she was pursuing, shared with me how anxious she was, fearing that she wouldn’t make the grade. I invited her to reflect on what the outcomes were, every time she had a similar experience. She passed with flying colors…every time! Why should this time be any different? This tactic always gave her a belief in herself boost.

5 . The most important personal characteristic one can possess is confidence. Being confident is synonymous with believing in oneself, requiring that one chooses to leave the comfort zones they’ve been getting far too comfortable in. Our comfort zones were never meant to be a vacation destination but rather, a state of mind and heart, where we can intentionally decide which walls to tear down before moving on. Imagine yourself on a boat with the shoreline in clear sight, knowing you can return to the safety of the shore any time you wish. As to making ongoing personal progress regarding believing in oneself, this is a non-starter. You must leave the safety of the shoreline unstuck. There is no other option!

Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?

Again, I can’t state it enough times just how crucial it is to practice being present. That’s the place where we can slow down and be open to receiving from the DIVINE, eyes that see, ears that hear and a heart that understands. It is not so much that this is the way to eliminate the voice of self-criticism but rather, empower us to become aware of the movie that’s being played in our mind, confidently place our hand in the hand of the DIVINE, walking in lockstep and “change the channel.” Given that the self-critical assaults will always outnumber the antidotes, makes this, coupled with surrounding ourselves with people who champion us becoming the best version of our self, even more important.

Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?

Focusing on developing one’s self-confidence and believing in oneself is a vital form of self-care and in no way whatsoever should be confused with arrogance or pride. Steadily making progress (it takes time) to reach the summit is the domain of those who are amongst the humble, though you will seldom hear them referring to themselves as such. It is about making progress and never about perfection. He or she who refers to themself as humble is the proudest of all. They view their attainments as achievements to be used in the service of others.

What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?

I would remind them that they possess all that is needed to be a difference maker and that they’re fully legitimate. They simply (it’s not simple but it is easy) need to get out of their own way by slowing down, being present and confidently placing their hand in the hand of the DIVINE, walking together in lock step…and wait. It is coming. That said, they already possess greater insight and wisdom than the one seeking their counsel. Further, no one has it all together as to knowledge or practice. The voice in their mind that challenges them and their value to others, is a destroyer and a liar.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The divisiveness in our world is at pandemic levels and is headed for a meltdown. What’s needed at every level globally, are people dedicated to being “bridge builders,” repairers of the breach.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

My choice would be Josh Allen, the QB for the Buffalo Bills of the NFL. He owns, whether positive or negative, the results of his decisions and is a picture of transparency and the value of making slow incremental progress, both personally and professionally. He has an amazing heart and is one our world should be proud of to fashion themselves after and call him friend. Additionally, I’m a 45-year fan of the Bills. GO BILLS!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

See my biographical sketch

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.