Trust your own inner guidance and instincts: Stop looking outside of yourself for the answer and watch your confidence and belief soar. Spend time asking yourself better questions and watch how the mind will find a better answer. Start with small decisions and move to the bigger ones as this is a skill you can hone with practice. Pay attention to how your body feels when you ask a question and when you get an answer. Watching for the signs of a strong yes versus a no will become second nature to you. We already have the answers that we are usually looking for, we just need to slow down and check in with ourselves to hear them. You begin to trust yourself when you do this regularly, which will strengthen your belief in your own power to make good decisions.

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 Carrie Rowan.

Carrie Rowan, dubbed by her clients as the professor of happiness & joy, is a mindset life coach, award winning singer/songwriter, and best- selling author of Tell A New Story, 5 Simple Steps to Release Your Negative Stories and Bring Joy to Your Life. She is the popular radio show/podcast host of Look for the Good as well as an edutainer/speaker combining music, science, and storytelling to deliver lessons that last. After a successful ten-year climb up the corporate ladder with Fortune 500 companies, Carrie decided to jump and follow her lifelong passions to write, entertain, and inspire others, and has been studying the leaders in the field of self-help for decades. As a mindset strategist using her book, podcast, corporate seminars, and coaching programs, she has helped thousands of people release the negative stories holding them back, better manage their state of mind, and overcome their old programming, so they can get out of their comfort zone, dust off their superpowers, and live with greater meaning and passion, with joy as the new soundtrack of their life. Carrie has been featured on: CBS, CTV, NBC, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Star Tribune, Baystate Parent Magazine, and performed on hundreds of stages.

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?

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

I have reinvented myself many times over, and my dad was a huge inspiration for me all along the way. He always pushed me to reach for the stars and taught me that I could do anything I believed I could. I grew up in a high energy family of five children, and there was never a dull moment at my house. As a child, I naturally loved to write poetry for my family and play piano. I took lessons at a very young age from a neighbor, and we ended up with their piano when they moved which nurtured my love for music of all kinds. There was one thing I was known for as a kid: putting on musical shows for anyone who would sit still long enough to watch me. I would gather my younger sisters and sometimes my cousins, and dress them up to perform with me. As I got a little older and we moved to a big neighborhood with lots of children, they became my new talent pool. I remember playing John Travolta one time in a neighborhood production of Grease that I organized. All the kids would come to my house to practice our dance and song numbers. My parents and relatives used to say I was such a “ham”, and man did I love to perform.

We do what comes most naturally to us when we are young and uninhibited, and I felt music deep in my soul at a very young age. I remember having my own small record player with 45s before the age of ten. Today, I guide my clients to look for what they used to do as a child, as it provides clues to what your true soul passion is. Fast forward to high school and I no longer performed but became a cheerleader instead, which some would say very much relates to being a coach and supporting others. After college with my English/Psychology BA in hand and my gregarious personality, my dad steered me to find a good job in sales. I found a Fortune 500 company that provided a solid base for me to learn and practice my new skills in real time so I could gain more business experience. Yet even during my corporate years, the one thing I always continued to nurture was my passion for singing, music, and writing. On my professional goal sheet, I made sure I included a personal challenge to continue taking singing lessons every year amidst my burgeoning professional career. After I took the leap off the corporate ladder to start my music career, I was also a new mom with two babies 16 months apart, and my dad would call me and ask “Are you writing? You need to keep writing, it’s your gift Carrie Lynn.” He would tell me that when life gives you gifts it’s your responsibility to share them with the world. Losing him at such a young age was devastating on so many levels. He was my biggest fan, and I still hear his words of wisdom as they pass from my lips to the ears of my sweet children who will someday instill his legacy into their own babies. One of his well-known catch phrases was, “tomorrow is not promised to anyone.” In other words, do what you long to do in life today because you might not get the chance tomorrow. He is the biggest inspiration behind the heartfelt pages of my book where his tidbits of wisdom are sprinkled throughout.

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?

When I was first starting in the music business, I teamed up with one of my best friends and together we created a musical duo. We played concerts all around New England and after a couple of years together we launched our first CD. It was a fun project and the album received wonderful praise. People were always mesmerized by our beautiful female harmonies and would comment on how perfectly our voices blended. This was a fabulous compliment and became our signature attribute for which our brand became known for. We worked hard to promote ourselves in the business and garnered a few great accolades, one of them was when we were chosen to perform at a highly coveted music industry conference. There we were on stage, super prepared to give a killer performance. They were very strict about the time between acts so there wasn’t much time for a real sound check, and you had better play your three songs within the proper timeframe allowed or you would get some bad press from the hundreds of our peers watching us. It was beyond stressful! We launch into the first song, and I notice that my partner looks like she’s singing, but not making a sound. At this point I’m dealing with my own nerves and the adrenaline that’s flowing like a river through my veins when I notice that her keyboard was not audible either. You feel just about ready to pee your pants at this point because all eyes are on you and your mind is saying things like: is this really happening? How come I can’t hear her? Where is the sound guy? Should I just stop? OMG!

I went through the whole song by myself, with her singing her heart out but you couldn’t hear a word. She almost looked like a mime when suddenly the audience starts yelling at the sound guy to turn it up. All I could think of was, the show must go on, so I kept on playing, even without our signature harmonious sound. When I look back now, it was probably a very funny scene, but what I learned most about that event and many others during that decade of playing in front of a live audience, is that you can only control what’s in your control. So, I did the only thing I could have, which was to play through the mess…a lesson that parlays to almost any other situation in life where things are out of your control. Focus on what you can control, and the other parts will work themselves out. The sound came on for the rest of the set, and we nailed it while also having a great laugh in the parking lot later. So, keep playing through your mess because it might turn out good after all!

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

Currently, I am spending a lot of time on my Radio Show/Podcast, Look for the Good, creating quality content, fabulous special guests, and producing and recording my shows. It is truly a joyful pursuit of mine, and I am honored to be able to have conversations with some incredibly inspiring women who have amazing stories to share. We talk about how their seemingly worst story ended up being their greatest comeback story of strength that they are proud to talk about today. When we can reframe our stories to highlight the best parts, we not only inspire ourselves, but everyone else around us. I have almost 50,000 listeners to date because people like to hear honest conversation and real stories about the things in life we wish didn’t happen and how others found a way to turn it around. Our stories reflect each other’s, and we are all just looking for a way to find some good in the world. People want to connect, to be energized and inspired, so that is what I am serving up. Come grab a seat at my table and fill up your cup.

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?

We live in an externally focused world, and we are barraged and pulled towards things outside of ourselves like our phone, car, jobs, the kids, social media, the news, etc. We become conditioned to look for reasons to believe outside of ourselves because of the reassurance and support we think we need when it’s really an inside job. It’s more important now than ever in uncertain times to learn to believe in yourself because when that external praise is gone, you are left with no support in place to help you carry on. It’s like playing music at a busy restaurant, which is a great place to go when you are a newbie, but no one claps for you. As performers, applause is the validation you get that the audience likes you, but at a busy bar or restaurant, no one is clapping because they are eating, drinking, laughing and not paying attention at all. It really has nothing to do with you, just like in real life. Yes, it feels weird at first because we’ve been conditioned to believe that is the only barometer to know if they like you or not, but after a while you get used to it. You keep playing because you believe what you are putting out is good enough. The cool thing is those experiences helped condition me in a new way for bigger and better gigs like TV shows where there was no live audience or applause, and that fact you were asked, was the only clapping you needed. We need to flip our script on the unintended meaning of things and stop looking for outside validation. It’s important to go inside and find the stories around your beliefs and not be afraid to question the meaning of them, why you are telling it, and if it serves you any longer. Only then can you start to rewrite a new one that helps to develop a greater belief in yourself internally, and soon you will no longer need that applause meter.

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?

Belief comes from action. Taking those small baby steps at first just to move a little bit in the direction you want to head in feels good. It reminds me of the yogi sutra I had taped up on the door in my office when I was writing my book: “start and the pressure will be off.” As you continue to take those steps, you begin to gain traction and momentum. Over time those baby steps add up to big “mother may I” steps and you look back on where you came from, and it’s hard to recognize yourself when you first started. Yes, you might fall when you first start to walk, but you can encourage yourself to get back up and try again. That’s how you develop the belief and confidence muscles you need to stay on the path. As far as believing you can be a great artist or Olympic athlete, but you don’t have talent, make a plan anyhow and work it day after day. Maybe you have some hidden skills that you can uncover through your process of following your plan. Hold onto your dream as you never know where it will lead you. Perhaps you uncover that you aren’t a strong enough athlete to compete at the Olympics, but you realized that you love being an announcer, a reporter or a photographer at the Olympics which was your real superpower. Your dreams will never go away, they will continue to chase you until you take action to move towards them. Once you’re in joyful motion forward, the Universe can steer you towards your next best turn. Your belief in yourself grows stronger and stronger every time you step out of your comfort zone and show yourself you can do it.

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

Of course, I think we all go through these phases. I felt that way when I first became a mother. I don’t share my “scary birth story” with people but after experiencing the trauma of an extremely difficult birth your first time around, it shakes your confidence to the core. It took me a bit to get my sea legs in my new role, and I remember feeling overwhelmed a lot especially because I was just getting used to one child and baby number two came crashing onto the scene. Parenting moves fast and I knew I was good at organizing and multitasking, so I relied on those skills sets a lot in the beginning to start and build up my belief that I could do this. It was high time to go inside and find all those little stories I told myself in my head about parenting and being a “good” mom and sort through the ones that were not going to serve me any longer which most of the time are not even true. I also love books and surrounded myself with experts on the subject so that I could gain some new information and skills as competence breeds confidence while I strengthened my mommy muscles. Before you know it, I was able to get out of the house by myself with two little ones 16 months apart. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but someone once told me you must lower your standards when you first become a mom. When I adopted that mindset and stopped trying to do it all perfectly, I started to believe more in my abilities, and it all became easier. That was the turnaround moment for me and when you find a good mantra to remind yourself daily, you are off to building your belief one new thought at a time.

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?

When I first entered the corporate world, I realized that I needed to hone my belief muscles because I wanted so badly to succeed. I was fresh out of college and had a lot of temporary jobs at some big companies and law firms, over the summer and winter breaks, but this was my first real job, and it was a good one. To be great at it, I knew I needed to adopt some new skills and build up my belief that I could do it. As I mentioned earlier, my car became my self-help vehicle, and every chance I got I was listening to tapes as I drove around my territory to my appointments. The more I learned and applied it in real time, the more confident I felt, and my belief started to grow. Because I felt more competent, I started to close deals and get into bigger companies. My presentation skills improved, I was asking better questions, and able to find solutions to help companies become more efficient by using my product and services. The other thing that boosted my belief was that I was telling myself all the time that I could do it. I had my morning ritual of reading my 3×5 index cards, which I called my vitamins, to remind me of my goals, my aspirations, and what I wanted to believe about myself. These handwritten, inspirational cards were my secret sauce for success and reminded me why I was doing this in the first place. It kept my goals top of mind, and this practice got me in a great state of mind as well before I even stepped into the office. Day after day my belief in myself grew and I truly enjoyed all the things I was learning. I found my new job exhilarating, and I was off to the races.

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

1 . Manage your mind before it manages you: I love to teach this since mindset affects the outcome of everything we do in life, and it’s always step one. It’s critical to learn to manage your mind by finding tools that work for you to keep yourself in the game. When your energy gets low, have ways to pump it up. If that negative voice starts to get louder midday, have a go-to strategy to maneuver around it. When you understand the mind’s negative tendencies and you have practices in place to overcome them, you can glide through your day without fumbling with procrastination, indecision, and distraction that all begin to crush our belief over time. For example, I teach my clients to start their day with a non-negotiable morning routine to get out ahead of your mindset. What that means is stacking all the good feeling emotions right away in the morning. Pick tools that work for you whether it’s meditation, yoga, affirmations, a walk, practicing gratitude, mindfulness, or visualizing what you want for the future. It’s a great and easy way to build up your endurance so that when stuff hits the fan, you have reserves because you already primed your mind to handle it better. Watch the belief in yourself grow as you stick to your new habit and overcome the things that used to bring you down.

2. Walk Your talk: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. This builds confidence in yourself and you create the positive habit of following up on your word. The mind is always listening to what you say and not doing it chips away at not only your confidence, but your deep belief in yourself. For example, I told myself that I was going to be in my office to start work every day by 8:30am. It’s a deadline I created for myself and there is no one else in my company to enforce it, but I’m going to show up for me even if I don’t have any calls that morning. It’s a small thing, but over time it starts to accumulate, and I stick to it because I know my mind is always keeping score. When you know you can count on yourself, you no longer need to look for outside validation and you can get rid of those irrational beliefs that someone is coming to save you. You are the only one that can create the life you dream of, and I love knowing that I hold the key.

3 . Use the power of Momentum to propel you forward: Once you get on a good roll and you are doing things to show yourself that indeed you can trust you, keep heading in the right direction. Don’t take your foot off the gas as this is another thing that causes us to doubt. Let’s face it, we all have days that we don’t feel as motivated, so make that up on the days you do feel good. Capitalize on your energetic days and it’s easier to give yourself a break when you need it. I see a lot of clients start to get some great momentum and then self-sabotage by not doing the things that make them feel good. When you understand that your mind is just trying to lure you back to the “comfort zone” you can override that by telling yourself a new story about how happy you are with the progress you are making. After all, it’s progress that makes us feel happy and builds our belief, as the end result is fleeting.

4 . Trust your own inner guidance and instincts: Stop looking outside of yourself for the answer and watch your confidence and belief soar. Spend time asking yourself better questions and watch how the mind will find a better answer. Start with small decisions and move to the bigger ones as this is a skill you can hone with practice. Pay attention to how your body feels when you ask a question and when you get an answer. Watching for the signs of a strong yes versus a no will become second nature to you. We already have the answers that we are usually looking for, we just need to slow down and check in with ourselves to hear them. You begin to trust yourself when you do this regularly, which will strengthen your belief in your own power to make good decisions.

5 . Be your own cheerleader and have some fun tools in your toolbox that work to pump yourself up when you need it. I have a folder called my “feel good folder” and it is a list of all the things I’ve done that make me feel proud or grateful for in my life so far. I also keep notes or emails that people write to me such as a thank you note or praise for a concert or talk, or a kind gesture I offered. When you are not feeling your best or disappointed about something that happened or didn’t happen, pull out your folder and don’t just read it, experience the emotions you did when you accomplished that feat. Self-praise is a great way to keep yourself in a higher emotional state and we’ve all heard how practicing gratitude rewires our brain to look for what’s good. It’s powerful to act like your own parent or the parent you wish you had and give yourself what you need. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, it’s ok, you’re doing a great job, keep going, or you got this! These little phrases make a big impact on how you see yourself in the moment which over time adds up to a whole lot of belief in yourself that you can do it because you did it before! Just like the old cheer we used to shout to the football players: “You did it before, let’s do it again, W I N!”

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

This criticism is nothing more than an untrue story we tell ourselves and a natural reaction all humans have when we try something new. When we set an intention to start catching ourselves in that criticism and write it down, we have a choice in what to do with it. As we start to step out into something new, the brain loves to pull us back to the familiar. By accepting that the brain is just doing its job to keep us safe, we can redirect our focus back to the task at hand. Without judging ourselves for doing this because we are all wired this way, we can steer our minds to focus on all the positive that is coming out of this new change we are making. Another way I impact my clients is by sharing the fact that most of our negative beliefs got stuck in us before we were even seven years old. Negative beliefs can get handed to us inadvertently by a well-intentioned teacher or caregiver or it might be something that an older sibling whispered to us that stuck. Understanding that our brains are like sponges when we are young, and they are designed this way so we can soak everything up and learn about the world around us, helps to unroot some of these beliefs. The fact that we take this all in without question when we are young sparks some self-compassion for that little child. As adults, we awaken to the fact that we don’t have to live by these beliefs any longer. We can choose to keep those old limiting beliefs, or we can sift through our belief systems (aka BS) and decide what beliefs serve us and which ones need to go out with the recycling. I share a lot of great exercises at the end of every chapter in my book to help shake these beliefs loose. It’s quite empowering to find them and release them back into the ethers.

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

Yes, I have noticed that a lot of people feel that confidence is just something you are born with. You have it or you don’t kind of thing, and this idea gets implanted at an early age when we look around at school and see other kids that seem to have it all together. I was continually coaching my own daughters on this concept when they were younger, and I would tell them that even though it looks like they are super confident, inside they feel just as insecure as you. Yes, your confidence levels can vary from subject to subject, but believe it or not, confidence is something you can acquire. I like the fact that you are not born with it and that it comes from stepping out of your comfort zone and proving to yourself that you can do things that you thought were not possible. Even small baby steps in the direction you want to head in can breed confidence. Much like yoga or meditation, confidence is a practice that gets strengthened every time you step towards what you want in life and the more you do it, the more you believe. This cumulative effect is based on evidence that you have done hard things before and survived. You have figured things out in the past so you are more likely to try something new because you know, you will find a way to make it right for yourself, regardless of the subject.

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

Imposter syndrome loves to peek its head up when we finally get the courage to step into something new. It’s quite common when we are taking steps outside our comfort zone like writing a book, starting a new career in a new industry, or leaving the comfort of our long-term job to become an entrepreneur. I find when you know the reason why this is happening it helps to calm that voice inside. I love to teach my clients that our brain is always doing its job to keep us safe. That’s what it does best because it’s a problem-solving machine. Remember we are all wired to look for what is wrong, but awareness of the mind’s tendencies can help us overcome our internal reactions. As soon as we start something new, our brains start that chatter that says, “hey you sure you made the right decision. Who are you to do this? No one will want to read your book, and what if you fail? Better just play it safe and stay where you are.” These are all examples of the brain wanting us not to take a chance, not to make a change, and to stick with the familiar. Again, the brain is just doing its job to try and keep us in the safety zone. It will even bring up other occasions where you may have tried something new and maybe it didn’t work out. The good news is that you can override this bothersome mental chatter. I guide my clients to recognize when this is happening and point it out to yourself. “Oh, hello brain, I know you are just trying to keep me safe, but I’ve got this.” The other piece of advice on this topic is to remind yourself that there is no other person that has your exact skill set, perspective, or variety of unique life experiences that makes you one of a kind. The world needs your unique gifts, talents, and insights delivered in the special way that only you can offer. If putting it out there helps just one other soul, then like my dad said, it’s your responsibility to share 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.

I would love to see a world where everyone started their day meditating. Even if it was just for five minutes in the morning or at night before bed, it would calm everyone’s nervous system right down. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but just the act of doing it creates a wave of calm that you can access anytime you want. The Dali Lama said, “if every eight-year-old in the world was taught meditation, we would eliminate violence from the world in one generation” and what a wonderful world it would be.

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 🙂

This is a fun question! I would love to have a private lunch with Tony Robbins. He doesn’t know this, but he used to drive around with me during my early days in sales. I had his Personal Power tapes, yup, I said tapes, as I’m dating myself here. I listened to them repeatedly and ferociously filled out the journal that came with them as I was on the road all the time. My car was not only my traveling office, but it was also my self-improvement vehicle where I learned how to manage my mind, my business, and got motivated for a sales call. I drove a ton my first year in sales, as they tend to give you the most remote territory when you’re the new gal in town. Many years later when I left the corporate world and wanted to become a coach, I got my certification from the Robbins/Madanes Strategic Intervention Coaching Program. It was like coming home again to Tony’s work. I remember seeing him live one time back in the 90s before he was the super star he is now. I dragged one of the new guys from the office with me when I was a sales manager in training, and he came in the next day and quit. He was so moved by Tony’s message he left to go start his own business! That’s how inspiring Tony was and still is to this day. He’s an elite strategist. I love his methodologies and the energy he creates in his live and virtual events. I think it would be the greatest compliment to be called the female Tony Robbins!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can follow my work on Instagram or LinkedIn or Facebook.

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

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be of service to Authority Magazine. I love the work you are doing.

Photo credits: Shannon Power


  • 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.