Believing in yourself marries the usual suspects: self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Building up those three areas internally through inner work naturally builds your ability to believe in yourself without having to even think about whether or not you believe in yourself.

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 Ashleigh Henry.

Ashleigh Henry has been in marketing, sales, and leadership positions since she was handed her first paycheck at the young age of 15. She was driving traffic in a well-known shoe store, watching the feet of our entering customers to be able to run sales that influenced said customers to purchase urgently and intentionally by way of the promotions she was running based on…them.

It was exhilarating for Ashleigh to climb the retail, corporate, higher education, and start-up ladder holding positions such as Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, Social Media Strategist, Manager, Editor, Co-Editor…until it wasn’t.

Alongside her marketing degree, Ashleigh decided to bring all of her experience into the freelancing world until it became clear that she didn’t just want to pay the bills — she wanted to create a company that was foundationally built on cheetah print, legacy-minded marketing, and sexy sales structures that could stand the test of trend and time.

The Cheetah Company, founded by Ashleigh, does this for female entrepreneurs through their education, coaching, and consulting services.

Since its inception, The Cheetah Company has helped nearly 100 female founders, nationally and globally, to shift the way they approach their marketing and sales structures, to be focused more on the traditional elements that have worked for centuries while conceptualizing trendsetting pieces into their strategies without fear.

The Cheetah Company has supported female entrepreneurs seeking to move their brick and mortars’ into the online marketplace, scale their current businesses, or add new arms to their already profitable and existing businesses to move from four-figure months to five to six to multi-six and even to seven figures.

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?

It’s my pleasure.

Absolutely, though it’s not necessarily the lightest read, as my childhood had some very traumatic experiences.

My parents were young when they married and I was a happy little accident conceived quite quickly post-wedding. I was truly their bundle of joy and as my dad says, a beacon of light. But they were young and still growing themselves… they worked several jobs at a time to ensure that food was on the table and the lights were on. They sacrificed a lot for me to be who I am and where I am in life. I was a latchkey kid and learned the art of independence quickly and swiftly.

We moved several times when I was a child and I thought it was a normal way of living. We settled down in government housing and later in a low-income area on the outskirts of Ocala, Florida called Lil Mexico or Mexico Chiquito. I learned so much in those streets: how to cook authentic Mexican fare, how to speak Spanish properly and still use slang in appropriate atmospheres, and how to defend myself against unkind words, forceful hands, and aggressive ways of living. By the age of 12, I experienced domestic violence and SA, walked through fire (literally) in a house fire, and saw what gang life, drugs, drinking, and partying can do to the youth of a low-income area.

Alongside those experiences, though, was the other side of the coin. Our neighborhood was lively, there was always a party or a cookout, laughter rang loud and true, and learning to tell jokes in a second language felt like a right of passage, adapting to being the minority in my neighborhood was vital for my growth as a person and the trajectory of the generations to come after me because of the oral history and lessons I can pass down to our children and their children, and being in a low-income neighborhood taught me the power of the hustle and the art of entrepreneurship.

By the age of 16, I was rarely at home, usually staying at friends’ houses and getting out of the neighborhood as much as possible. By 19, I was out of the neighborhood completely and working hard on my journalism degree, with several jobs at a time, a referral-only photography business, and balancing what it looked and felt like to have self-discipline when it could have been easy to do what most do in college.

I learned and unlearned so much throughout my childhood and early adulthood and it’s a pleasure to weave those stories into our company’s story to support modern businesswomen to resiliently rise through any and all adversity.

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

The first time I wrote in a journal I was hooked! The way I felt like while writing as a child is still how I feel to this day. There were a variety of pathways I could have gone with my writing, but I felt most called to help others tell their stories.

While pursuing a degree in journalism, I was the editor for the college newspaper and creative literary magazine. I thought I would enjoy one or the other more and I had hoped that it would help me make a decision about which direction to take, but ultimately, I just fell more in love with both journalism and creative literature.

Putting myself through college, I worked a lot of odd jobs and marketing, sales, and leadership were always the through-thread in my positions. Past bosses would hear that I was pursuing a journalism degree and ask for support with their marketing, especially social media since it was on the rise!

My background includes a mix of higher education, startups, corporate, boutique management, events and hospitality. Following that through-thread of storytelling I was a marketing strategist at a multi-million dollar startup and I started freelancing with marketing services until I was ready to take the big leap to create a company of my own!

Thus, The Cheetah Company was born — first as a social media and lead generation agency to later become what it is today: a modern marketing and sales firm that supports modern businesswomen with a timeless approach to business through consulting, coaching, and education.

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?

I love this question. I love laughing at my mistakes and just passing my lessons back in hopes that others won’t have to make the misstep!

The funniest mistake I think I’ve ever made was building an agency! I was burning out as a marketing strategist for a multi-million dollar agency, moonlighting in several other positions due to staff cuts during the pandemic, and yet I called my dad and said “hey, I think I can build my own agency!”

I did.

And then I realized I was building a machine that would never really ask less of me or of our team, but more and more constantly. With agency work, though it can be profitable and scalable as ours was, it’s a constant battle between profit and salaries to complete the work slated by close of contract.

If I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything, though, because I learned first-hand how crippling it can be to create a business model that doesn’t fit with the lifestyle that’s desired and I use this experience often in advisory conversations with our clients to remind them that we’re here to live more than we work.

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

One of the most exciting projects we’re working on right now internally is our upcoming podcast, Your Conversation Pit. This podcast has been on my heart to create since 2014!

The podcast will be a mix of life and business, with an intentional connection to the conversation pits of 50s-70s. Our goal is to influence the listener to feel like we’re truly in the conversation pit together, a cocktail or mocktail in hand, discussing a variety of topics that range from business to history to art to travel and beyond. The majority of our conversations will be focused on business and the pragmatic steps to grow a brand portfolio, but at the end of each episode we’ll pivot over to a lively conversation that just fills the soul.

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?

After being in marketing, sales, and leadership for the last decade, the most vital asset that’s needed in all of those realms is belief with a hefty and never-ending sidecar of confidence.

In business, if you don’t believe in yourself, and you’re not confident in you and what you can offer to society to shift it forward… the person on the other end won’t be either.

I truly believe that belief, vision, and confidence are the catalysts for every everlasting brand that outlives the founder and founding team.

For example, we sit down with founders all around the globe to support them in evaluating and elevating their brands to become the timeless, everlasting, and powerful brands that they want them to be. Sales simulations are a part of that elevation process and I can pinpoint when the founder on the other side is hesitant about their capabilities, their strengths, and their services.

That pinpoint is the difference between hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue over their brand’s lifetime and hundreds of thousands of people being supported through their brand.

Usually during these sales simulations some of the tells I pick up on regarding a lack of belief and confidence are fidgeting, shifting eyes once money is brought up, many “uhms”, and hesitations to respond to objections or questions.

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?

The difference between those that are artists and gold medal Olympic athletes and those that aren’t is belief.

There’s that old saying from Henry Ford of “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right” and it’s still a resounding truth now.

If you already step up to the plate believing that you cannot do something, you will generate feelings towards that mentality and that thought/feeling connection will drive your actions and ultimately, your results.

It’s the classic case of self-sabotage before you even try when you fuel your mind with disbelief before you’ve even really given it the old college try.

Believing in yourself means betting on yourself over and over again that even if you haven’t done something before you can most likely borrow a bit of confidence and past experience to insert into your current experience, a new goal you’re planning to achieve, or in taking a leap and risking flying or failing. Every “failure” is a lesson and ever leap of faith begins first with a belief that you’ll land and be able to stand up with resilience regardless of whether or not it goes to plan or perfectly.

Believing in yourself marries the usual suspects: self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Building up those three areas internally through inner work naturally builds your ability to believe in yourself without having to even think about whether or not you believe in yourself.

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

Absolutely. I grew up with very low-self worth. I didn’t feel like I really belonged anywhere, didn’t feel like my voice and thoughts were valuable, and I really second guessed myself when speaking up. I had an internal belief that I wasn’t intelligent enough to speak up and that there were others in the room that deserved the mic more than I did.

This influenced me to take lower paying jobs, while overserving and moonlighting in other positions within the company to “prove” myself instead of just believing that I deserved more in title and compensation regardless. This shifted into my company at the beginning, as well, because I didn’t price our business model well until 6 months after building the brand. I think every company goes through a time where they’re at least a bit underpriced to pilot their products and services, gain traction, gain visibility, gain loyalty, and testimonials and case studies to show future clientele, but I was severely underpricing our services even while knowing that we could have been priced at our current prices at our genesis because the work we do is so valuable.

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?

Around that 6 month mark I knew that being underpriced showed a lack of confidence, belief, value, and worth in our services. Again, I think every business has some kind of timeline where they pilot their products and services to gain market share and testimonials, but it was time to shift. We were having conversations with an ill-fit market and I set out to reposition the brand, our services, our pricing structure, our business model, and to gain the market share that I desired for our company.

This couldn’t just happen pragmatically and practically, it had to start with internal shifts inside of me to feel clear, motivated, and connected to the worth that we bring to the table for modern businesswomen.

Our company wouldn’t be where it is today if I wouldn’t have pursued that personal work; that internal shift truly was the catalyst for our growth because it allowed for us to work with ideal clientele and hire the right people to be in the company to support that clientele.

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

1 . Start with Sunshine. I have a folder called “Sunshine Notes for Me” and I read it regularly. I started with this outside validation in order to shift my thoughts from the not-so-kind thoughts to replacement-thoughts (the validation from our clients, our collaborators, our partners, and advisors I’ve worked with). I add in kind words that I know will uplift me on a day that not-so-kind thoughts are a bit more prevalent. Those kind words remind me that I have done well before and I can do well again, so it allows me to borrow confidence from the past to catalyze the future into being.

2 . Borrow Confidence & Catalyze. Following up on the previous strategy, borrowing confidence from other portions of your life is vital. I learned this strategy from a Mindset Coach we’ve had the honor of working with to accelerate her brand growth, Lyndsey Chambers, and it’s been one of my secret weapons for growth. Some days I borrow confidence from work to remember that I can have conversations with friends or family to set boundaries that are needed or to start that creative project that may feel a little hairy to get out of my brain and into reality.

3 . Release Old Stories. Sometimes we really do just replay old projections and stories on a reel in our minds and sometimes all we really have to do is choose to change the narrative by picking a new move to play. If your old story is a scary story about how you’ve always messed up, you’re going to mess up any new opportunity that comes your way, that you can’t leap and take a risk because it didn’t work out last time… could you shift the story to a comedy? A romance and romanticize what COULD happen instead of what DID happen last time? Were there lessons learned from the last time that could help you project a new reality as you create it in real time and real life?

4 . Envision it All Working Out. Visualization is one of the most powerful tools I’ve used since college. The first time I came in contact with future visualization was through a book that made it feel really intangible, but over the years I’ve read more, learned more through educators, recognized more and more how often it’s used in the athletic world, and have seen it work time and time again in my own life. I use it as a stimulant to increase my confidence, belief, and eye for opportunity to notice what I do want to happen, envision it in my mind, and take intentional action to see it come to fruition through the mind, body, and spirit being harmonized together in one joint belief.

5 . Act as If it’s Already Happening. When I wake up every day believing that we are already where I want us to be, I have that energy in my energy. I feel like I’m operating as though all of my dreams and desires are already all around me and I show up as though it’s all already happening for me. That act has been vital for me to believe in myself, to take intentional actions towards what I desire, and it’s a buzzing energy that stays with me even if I have an off day and don’t really believe in myself for whatever reason. I lean back on this tool and prioritize it! For example, I’m in the midst of writing a book. I’m not an author yet, I don’t have a finished book in my hands, but every week I show up to my manuscript and act as though the book is already in the editing phase and that I’m just adding more to it. This helps me write chapter after chapter with ease, less stress about the “when, where, who, how”, and instead just attached to the process of enjoying the writing and the steps to achieve the goal.

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

I use the mirror trick in a couple of ways to help stop the self-criticism. I have a few close friends that I know will act as mirrors for me if I speak up and say “I’m feeling xyz and I believe xyz today.” Those friends act as mirrors for me and they reflect back the truth: “you’ve done something like this before, remember that time that you…” and “okay, I hear you, but if that’s true then how would you have been able to do xyz and you usually feel like X, do you think this is just an off-day instead of a real truth?”

I do this in the mirror, as well, because I find that I can sometimes just see my own reflection and get out of my head long enough to say “eh, that’s not ACTUALLY true, but it’s okay that I feel that.” I’ll usually head out for a walk, meditate, or free write in my journal to let go of anything that’s kind of “stuck” just so it’s no longer sitting stagnant in my mind.

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

You will not feel fully confident every minute of every day. Especially as you grow. If you’re considering starting a new brand or evolving your current brand, taking on a big project or two that you’ve never accomplished before, or trying something new to adapt and adopt in an ever-changing market… you’ll feel a bit out of your comfort zone.

The trick is just to just see how long you can stay outside of your comfort zone, while supporting your nervous system to feel safe. Using the strategies listed above will help you nourish your mind, but the mind/body connection is vital. Somatics, breathwork, brain rewiring and retraining have been incredibly helpful for me to connect the mind and body together to work in harmony.

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

Read about the startup stories of others that have battled imposter syndrome. You’ll realize you’re not alone and you never will be because once you get past your moments of imposter syndrome you’ll then be able to reach back and support someone else that’s going through it, too.

If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, read about startup stories and how they navigated their own imposter syndrome, write a letter from your future self to yourself about how you tried to move through your imposter syndrome even though it was uncomfortable and allow that exercise and experience to show you what you may need in the moment, and consider keeping a record of times that you have overcome imposter syndrome and why, how, and what you did to do it.

Every person that battles this has a customized approach to getting past their own cocktail of imposter syndrome; let your inner self guide you but give yourself the above margins to creatively find it!

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.

As someone that has battled burnout in the past while working long hours in higher education, startups, corporate America, events and hospitality, the movement I hope to continue to inspire through our company is holistic harmony.

Holistic harmony between life and business encompasses considering that your lifestyle and the life you want to live comes before anything else; once you distinguish what you want your lifestyle to be like you can then review the pie of life (family, friendships, spirituality, health, philanthropy, wealth, work, etc.) to find your holistic and harmonious approach to creating a life that looks like YOUR version of balance.

My version of balance in this season allows for me to work more than I will when we have children. We’re currently planning a family planning, renovating our first home to become a rental property in Asheville, North Carolina, building community in the area, traveling quarterly, honoring my health and spirituality, building our wealth portfolio, building a timeless brand, all while I write a book and bring our podcast to life. There’s more work in this equation right now, and perhaps to someone else that wouldn’t feel harmonious, but that’s the thing about holistic harmony: you’re not confined to someone else’s version of balance… you choose your own.

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 🙂

Danielle Laporte because of her heart-centered leadership, transformative words, and poetic way of shifting leaders into their leadership roles with just a few lines (it’s mind-boggling… such an incredible gift!)

Sara Blakely because each time I think about her demonstrative presentation to get SPANX into Nordstrom, I tear up, and each time we bless our teams with all that they deserve (bonuses, surprise gift cards for coffee and massages, and dinners out) I internally thank Sara for leading the way with how authentic and kind she is to her SPANX team (and her childhood besties for always inviting them on an annual trip of fun… love the way she leads and loves!)

Having lunch with Gabby Bernstein, and bringing our incredible Executive Assistant, Erin Keller, along would be a wild blessing because Erin gave me “The Universe Has Your Back” journal when I left the multi-million-dollar startup that Erin and I worked at together, and though it didn’t quite make sense at the time, it makes more sense now because of that journal, Gabby’s words, and my belief that the universe really does have all of our backs all of the time… we just have to notice it.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

We’d love to invite you to The Cheetah Café, our collaborative blog where you can sip & pore over articles ranging from culture to marketing to sales for the modern businesswoman. Find The Cheetah Company at or on all major platforms at @thecheetahcompany.

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



@thecheetahcompany on all major platforms — Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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.