Cultivate a spiritual life. If you don’t already have one, you should begin to put that into practice. I believe we already have everything we need to reach success. You have to be able to tap into your inner self. We all were given intuition, and some of us are better at listening to it than others. But if you can silence the noise of daily life, you will be surprised by the answers you come up with. If you’re looking for a place to start, I’d recommend reading the bible and “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success“ by Deepak Chopra.
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 Delia Pena-Gay.
Delia Pena-Gay is a personal development writer passionate about helping women discover their potential in their 30s. With Delia’s guidance, women can learn how to identify their unique skills, passions, and purpose in life and take the necessary steps to achieve their goals. Delia understands the challenges that come with finding one’s true purpose. She has transitioned from a 10-year career in dentistry to building a writing career through self-discovery and self-improvement. Delia provides a supportive and encouraging environment for women to explore their inner woman, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and hold women accountable for their goals.
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?
I’m an Afro-Latino from the Bronx in New York City. My mother raised me, and I’m the youngest of three siblings. My siblings might all agree that I am the most outspoken and talkative. My imagination has always been active thanks to the weird games my childhood best friend, and I would play over the phone.
I’ve always enjoyed reading, whether it was an assignment for school or a comic book. Either way, you could count on me having a book in one hand and my Cat in the Hat stuffed animal in the other. My love for Dr. Seuss started in pre-K after reading and making Green Eggs and Ham. Over time I have built a pretty cool collection of Dr. Seuss memorabilia.
I love animals and have always performed well in school I was valedictorian, consistently made the honor roll, and was often scolded for talking too much in class. Lol
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
Becoming a writer wasn’t my original career path. The original vision was to become a Dentist. I was raised around the model that you go to school, work hard, and find a good career/job with benefits. And Dentistry checked all the boxes. I was naturally curious about teeth and started doing everything that would put me on the path to Dentistry.
Then around 2018–2019, I started questioning my future in Dentistry. I wasn’t having fun anymore, and one of my mantras was, Don’t do it if it’s not bringing me joy. Dentistry is about paying attention to the small details and can be an intense environment. On top of that, I noticed a shift in the Dental community that I didn’t like. Although I was at the top of my game and making the money I wanted, I no longer felt fulfilled. Something in my gut told me that what I was doing wasn’t it.
I had ignored my intuition for weeks before I finally journaled about why I was feeling the way I was. One day it hit me that I had been journaling and writing longer than I was in Dentistry. Writing made me happy and something I needed to consider seriously. It was a strange idea at first, and I was scared to take the leap, but it brought joy back into my life, and I was no longer willing to sacrifice my joy. So I remixed the principles that worked for me in Dentistry and applied them to a writing career.
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 applied for an internship with an online media company that didn’t require much for the role; it felt low pressured, so I thought it was the perfect place to start. I went from updating the events page to writing my first listicle within a week of starting. I was excited by the opportunity and nervous because I didn’t know what I was doing. In my mind, I was still learning, but I was given a template to follow and just went for it. I told myself that If I could put a sentence together, I could write a listicle.
The editor was happy with my first listicle and assigned me another one. I submitted the second listicle, and a few weeks later, I was told that NewsBreak had picked up the article. The funny part was that I submitted my first listicle twice by accident. This taught me a) to triple-check my submissions and b) it’s not guaranteed that the editor will proofread my work. If he had read it, he would have noticed it was the same submission.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I recently created a guide on How to Stay Positive, it’s a frequently asked question. I thought people would benefit from some simple relaxation techniques they might not know. I have connected and collaborated with other entrepreneurs through my podcast on upcoming projects. I’ve guest posted for a blog Buffalo Sauce Everywhere, on grief, and I’m planning a virtual self-development event for the summer.
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?
Believing in yourself encourages others. Our successes and challenges aren’t really for us it’s to show others how they can too. I think of it as passing the baton like you would in a relay race. We all experience challenges in life and may wonder if we can achieve our goals and what we want out of life. And when you see someone reach a milestone you aspire to, it stirs something inside you.
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?
It means that you won’t give up on yourself. You know you have the drive and work ethic to do what you are passionate about or do what it takes to live a specific lifestyle. Believing in yourself means that although you may not be good at something right now, you can improve over time and become the best.
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?
I was doubtful when I started writing because I had no professional experience or awards. My main concern was how to compete with everyone else in the market. I also didn’t think people would take me seriously. Instead of thinking about everything that could go wrong, I focused on what could go right and found the support I needed to help me get better.
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?
I worked part-time for a photography company writing spotlight articles on some photographers, and I must have written 15 articles that were published. The photographers loved the pieces and felt I captured who they were as creatives. One day my boss told me he didn’t think my writing was good enough; he told me that I didn’t have a strong command of the English language and that I should read more books, which was odd since he’d interviewed me and was impressed with my accomplishments. He tried to deter me from going forward, and I almost did until I realized that my writing wasn’t for him, or maybe he didn’t understand my point of view. I had written on other platforms, and people were connecting with my words; I received tons of positive feedback, and I was ghostwriting for a marketing agency. So I knew I could be a successful writer because I was already doing it, and people were paying me, so I just had to see the lesson in the experience and keep writing.
What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.
1 . Show up. When someone says you can’t do something, you do it anyway and show them how well you can. As I mentioned earlier, my boss told me to quit while I was ahead, and I didn’t. I just sought out another opportunity.
2 . Take action. The more times you practice something, the more confidence you build. It’s like driving a car. You’re nervous the first few times and might miss a turn or drive under the speed limit. But the more times you do and strive to get better, the higher your belief gets.
3 . You have to see already yourself achieving the thing you want. Often times we say we want (X) without saying it as if we already have it. Everything begins and ends in the mind, and once the idea is in your mind, you have to walk out the actions to get you there.
4 . Find an accountability partner. This can make a huge difference, and it has for me. Your accountability partner acts as a support system and helps reinforce your success in the area you desire most. They will encourage and uplift you through challenges in your journey. I have three — one for my writing, one for my podcasting, and one for my spiritual growth.
5 . Cultivate a spiritual life. If you don’t already have one, you should begin to put that into practice. I believe we already have everything we need to reach success. You have to be able to tap into your inner self. We all were given intuition, and some of us are better at listening to it than others. But if you can silence the noise of daily life, you will be surprised by the answers you come up with. If you’re looking for a place to start, I’d recommend reading the bible and “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success“ by Deepak Chopra.
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
Identify the source of the criticism. I typically ask myself where is the negative talk coming from. Is it something that someone once told me? I asked myself if the negative statement I had just made was true. If a statement doesn’t apply, I replace it with something positive.
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
NO. Self-confidence has to start with you.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
We are harder on ourselves than anyone else is, so when it comes to imposter syndrome, do a self-check-in and determine where it’s coming from. No one is perfect, and sometimes the idea of perfection can induce imposter syndrome.
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’m big on family, and it’s really important to me, so I would trigger a movement that unites families. The movement would offer activities that allowed families to bond. Families would learn to listen for understanding and learn how to deal with conflicts in a positive way.
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 🙂
I’d love to have a private lunch or breakfast with Rihanna. Aside from her being one of my favorite artists, I admire the empire she has built. When everyone begged her to release new music, I understood she was setting up her legacy. I admire her ability to focus on the bigger picture and not get caught up in what everyone else sees or wants for her. She’s already proved she can make music! She has come a long way, and I feel like many people underestimated her. Some say she isn’t that talented vocally but don’t realize that her voice opened the door to all her other business ventures, and the world watched her draw in the biggest super bowl crowd yet! Singing isn’t her only talent and isn’t the only thing she is known for. Give credit where it’s due because Ri-Ri is an artist, visionary, business women and mother.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My website is Deliapg.com, and my IG is @motivationwithdee
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.