Find a nice quiet spot for prayers, or meditation, where you can find your inner belief system grow. Somewhere to basically recharge your inner batteries, can really help you. You could be having the worst day and you find a nice quiet spot and then your mind, body and soul starts to come together as one.
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 David Carruthers.
David Carruthers, the children’s book author and motivational speaker, is a beacon of inspiration. His books and programs are not only entertaining but also transformative, instilling the belief that “you CAN” in the hearts and minds of individuals across the globe. Carruthers’ vision of a brighter, more united world serves as a reminder that when we come together and embrace positivity, anything is possible.
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?
With me moving 3 times to 3 different countries in the first 5 years of my life it was difficult, but also wonderful to come to 3 different countries and meet new people. The hard part was being really close with my grandparents — my mom’s parents came to the airport holding my hand. I thought they were coming with me, but they didn’t, so that kind of made me stronger. Coming to Canada for the first time seeing snow, playing hockey, tobogganing, the different countries shaped me. Watching the Hilarious House of Frightenstein, SCTV, Saturday morning cartoons heightened my creativity. My mom read to me a lot, I loved superheroes and the belief that good triumphs over evil. This made me believe that anything is possible.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
I was inspired from my mom because she was a stay-at-home mom who read to me a lot as a kid. She told me I could do anything. My dad also was a great human being. He was a doctor who traveled the world, but also made time for family. So, I thought “if my dad and my mom can do this, anything is possible.” I was inspired by family, and by different authors like C.S Lewis of the Narnia Chronicles, Stan Lee who wrote Spiderman, grew my love for telling great stories. Watching on tv, reading comic books made me think anything is possible.
“Hey, if Stan Lee can do this, I can do this too!” I learned to keep believing in myself, because even if you don‘t get one dream, you can get another one, so my experiences in life motivated me to go with my career path too.
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?
There are two of them, one is when I graduated from university, I thought I would be making huge money and working a great job but then found out I was working for minimum wage — I asked myself “what’s going on?” So, then I thought, well, I’ve always wanted to write. So, if you write something great, in your twenties you think everyone is going to want it and you won’t have any trouble finding a publisher. Which was funny, I was 23 and it came out when I was 24… I found my own artist and told them what to draw. One of the biggest mistakes was that life was going to be easier because of my degree or because of my writing skills. You think the world is your oyster and publishers will be begging for it and then you get hit with a ton of encyclopedia Britannica’s and find it’s not that easy — it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication to make your dreams come true.
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 them is a book of mine called “Hockey Joe,” which isn’t out yet. I wrote it 14 years ago then had a brainstorm 6 or 7 years ago about putting inspirational real-life characters into the book. Some professional hockey players have said yes, some business leaders have also said yes. Some major Canadian entertainers have also signed on. We hit some initial snags, but we’re hopeful the book will come out in the next year or so. It’s a short rhyming book, fun for kids of all ages. It helps kids with reading at the same time they can be inspired by the wow factor that these are real people on the pages of my children’s book. It also teaches kids to never give up, because even the book itself hit many snags- but when it does come out it will be even more powerful to show kids not to ever give up their dreams… because bigger and better things can come to fruition!
I’ve also created several programs to motivate kids, youth and also adults in a corporate environment. Some of these include :
- Z.I.P- Zoom Inspirational Program- this powerful presentation will teach kids/ youths (adults too) the importance of not rushing into anything too quickly in life. We all have choices, and this is why it’s so important not to ZIP into them without thinking first. I’m hoping we can work out something with Donovan Bailey and his representative so that we can take the Z.I.P Inspirational Program into schools across the country….one day into other countries. The presentation will be highly interactive and will run approximately 45 mins to an hour in length. The show will be super positive and great for all ages K to university level. I will obviously adjust my presentation for the different age levels.
- CAN Always Do Anything Inspirational Program- this is a patriotic presentation designed to inspire Canadians of all ages to be their best and to show everyone living from coast to coast that nothing is impossible in our great country….in Canada we CAN Always Do Anything when we put our heart and love of our country into the things in life. This program will be highly interactive and be for all ages. Running time will be approximately 45 mins to an hour and will be for youngsters aged 4 to 104. Again, I’m hoping to work with Donovan Bailey and his representative on the CAN Always Do Anything Inspirational Program. There will also be different kid’s of merchandise for this program. We could donate money and awareness for various Canadian charities through this program.
- Soar Together Inspirational Program or S.T.I.P- I designed this program to inspire all ages and to show them that nothing is impossible when we come together as one. Life is full of infinite possibilities when we spread our wings and work together to do extraordinary things. I will be going around to schools with other inspirational people to show youngsters of all ages that you can soar beyond the clouds of doubt when you work as a team. This presentation will be approximately 45 mins to an hour in length and is highly interactive. My hope is to bring people from all walks of life together and to show them that when we soar together, absolutely nothing can’t be done in life.
- Broadcaster Within Inspirational Program- this is an educational program I created to show kids/youths of all ages that they have a veteran broadcaster inside each of them. My goal is to unlock the confidence in everyone young and old that sees this presentation in their schools. Kids/youths will start to realize that anything and everything in this world is possible when you release your inner broadcaster. The program is highly interactive and fun for all ages. The running time is about 45 mins to an hour depending on the Q and A period.
- Charge Through Life Inspirational Program- this is a reading program that teaches children/youths that when you read, you can do anything in this world. It shows kids of all ages the power of the written word and it teaches them how reading grows their imaginations to new heights. This program is highly interactive and runs approximately 45 mins to an hour. I took this program of mine to the CFLPA in 2007 and they loved it. Mike Morreale(head of the player’s association helped get it out to more CFL athletes. Nerds on Site was the big sponsor for the program. Various CFL players went to schools with me and showed classes that even professional athletes have to read to succeed. My hope for this inspirational program of mine is to get the CFL to work with us to make the program even bigger and then to branch out with other marketing ideas involving reading.
- My book, “Gordie the golf ball” came out in 2002. I always hoped to turn that book into a children’s animated movie. My hope with the movie was to show the story of how Gordie became Gordie the golf ball in a family fun film. Today, I am working on more screenplays and hope to write many more scripts, for kids, teens and for all ages for all different genres as well. I’m working with an award-winning production company, Pageman Productions in Ontario. I was so impressed by a visit to Chatham Kent for the launch of their FLiCK (Filming Locally In Chatham Kent) office that I hope to bring my future productions there.
- Interestingly, I’m also an investor in an upcoming film by Pageman Productions filming in the local Chatham jail- a genre horror. From helping to get sponsors to behind-the-scenes photography. People might wonder how a horror movie will help anyone, but we are helping the whole community, bringing new jobs to the area, excitement, and potential tourism to the region — opening doors and windows for jobs and creative opportunities for people of different ages as well as all walks of life.
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?
Because if you don’t, no one will. You have to have that inner belief, that’s the thing that recharges your batteries — if you have that inner belief you can do anything, it’s like when Dorothy wanted to go home to Kansas, she had the ability the whole time but didn’t know until the end- even if the whole world doesn’t believe in you, you have to believe in yourself.
An example is when you hit the bottom of the roller coaster, if you don’t have that inner belief in yourself you will never get back up again. It’s like when I went to Dalhousie University and was disappointed or when you think your book will be published. We all have good days, bad days, we all have great days, things everyone goes through. With the great role models, it gave me the belief that if you keep going for the best you, you have to have that strong belief, and those belief levels can go down as you get tired or discouraged, but still keep on going no matter how long that dream takes.
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 athlete even if I’m not athletic? Can you please explain what you mean?
Yes, but you have to work at it. If you can’t draw, you have to learn the skills so you can draw. It’s not bingo, bango bongo, but it’s going to happen when you take the time, study other people’s art, go to the library, and learn on the internet. Gold medal, a little different, but similar, if you aren’t athletic, practice, work hard, practice if you aren’t the best, take action. You can’t just believe it but you have to take action. Nothing is to say you can’t even if you think you are too old, people do it, anything is possible, believe it and think it and then take massive action.
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?
Yes, but you must work at it. If you can’t draw, you have to learn the skills so you can draw. It’s not bingo, bango bongo, but it’s going to happen when you take the time, study other people’s art, go to the library, and learn on the internet. Gold medal, a little different, but similar, if you aren’t athletic, practice, work hard, practice if you aren’t the best, act. You can’t just believe it but you have to take action. Nothing is to say you can’t even if you think you are too old, people do it, anything is possible, believe it and think it and then take massive action.
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?
Many times, but when you don’t believe in yourself and you go down this rocky slope, and when I had graduated in 95 and thought the world was my oyster, had my degree and then minimum wage hit me, wondering what would happen with my life now — but never giving up — when you don’t believe in yourself your mind is clouded. Your judgment might be way off, you just don’t think you can do the impossible when you don’t believe in yourself, your dreams will stay grounded.
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?
Reading inspirational books by Tony Robbins, listening to personal power tapes back in the day, One of my favorite movie franchises is the Rocky movies about perseverance and reading Sylvester Stallone’s story about his struggles growing up, how he had a hard time speaking, and he was offered barely anything for the movie franchise, and the studio said they wanted Robert Redford to play Rocky, but Stallone said no thanks and kept on waiting for the deal he wanted. Now the whole Rocky franchise is worth over 1 billion dollars. Knowing that people who have made it have struggled too, so that helped me, knowing that people like Tony Robbins, J.K Rowling, Stallone and other famous people struggled as well is very inspirational to me and other people who see themselves as underdogs.
What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.
- Writing things down — When you write things down your mind starts to believe in it and things come to fruition faster. One day, I thought of writing a children’s book, I wrote down the title, drew a couple of pictures and a few months later it went from writing things down on a little piece of paper to an actual book- if you look at every book, film, business, it would never have come to fruition if someone didn’t write it down first.
- Have that belief in yourself and really visualize it in your mind, you have to have that inner belief, where it doesn’t matter what is happening in the outer world — if you have that inner belief that something good will happen, something good will happen. That inner belief is kind of like my superpower — it stops the outer world’s negativity from situating itself and coming in between my ears. .
- Helping others — When you help others succeed your belief in yourself grows, and the belief in you around the community grows and grows. When you help plant the seeds, when you do charity work or teach others how to do something, it helps you and makes your own belief system grow. When you help others, so many things change. I have often given my time free to help children with their writing skills, where kids come down and speak to you, learn how to write, and when you see a young person learn something that is really something special it makes your inner light shine more brightly.
- Find a nice quiet spot for prayers, or meditation, where you can find your inner belief system grow. Somewhere to basically recharge your inner batteries, can really help you. You could be having the worst day and you find a nice quiet spot and then your mind, body and soul starts to come together as one.
- Dream Boarding. Taking a piece of paper, or getting a big bristol board and writing down your dreams, where you say, “I want to be the biggest children’s author in the world,” etc. So, when you look at it later you realize that, “Oh I can do this, I wrote this down,” you’re putting it out there by writing it, by drawing little pictures. It really helps positivity seep in.
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
Change your vocabulary — instead of saying can’t say you CAN. Instead of saying you won’t say you WILL. Have positive words come into your vocabulary. When kids see my basketball tricks they always say “That’s so cool but I can’t do it,” I always tell them, though, “Say you can’t and you can’t, if you say you CAN then you WILL!”
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
So many people think it’s baloney, or that these inspirational books are just a bunch of hype, or people think self-confidence is bogus or cocky — but to me being self-confident is one of the greatest things that someone can have to recharge themselves then share that confidence so they can help others. So, I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that if you are self-confident you are cocky, but they have nothing to do with each other, they are totally different.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
Just be YOU, for when you are you, you can do anything. I would say that if someone is struggling, just be yourself and get rid of it like a magician’s red ball, it simply disappears. When you believe in you, it’s like Superman’s kryptonite! It will make that negativity slowly fade away into nothing.
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 want to do the world’s largest writer’s workshop, feeding the student’s minds while they all bring a canned food item for food banks that will feed bodies, so it will help bodies, mind and spirit, we can get a Guinness Book of World Records and show people that we did it with them, and without them it couldn’t happen. We can shoot for the moon and great things will happen, even if you don’t get the moon you fall amongst the stars.
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 🙂
Growing up one of my favorite basketball players was Larry Byrd, having breakfast with him would be a dream come true, or Tony Robbins, I read his book, “Awaken the Giant Within,” when I was in my twenties. Gary Vaynerchuk — someone whose online presence I love. Michael Jordon, we all know he wasn’t drafted first overall, even though he should have been, so he’d be my next choice even though he would be a fantastic first choice too. The list goes on and on — there are so many brilliant men and women that I would love to have breakfast or lunch with but there is only so much room in my stomach.
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Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.