Embrace failure. Failure is part of life. It’s not possible to do everything right the first time. So accept the fact that you will fail somewhere, that you will make mistakes. Learn from it and grow. You’ve done it many times in the past. The first time you wanted to stand up as a baby, you probably fell on your behind, because you didn’t know how to use your muscles and joints correctly, how to keep your balance. Yet that didn’t stop you to do it again. Learn from the feedback you got and do it over and over again until you succeed. Guaranteed, you have repeated that process multiple times in the past for other skills you now master. So don’t let failure stop you; learn from it.
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 Erwin Wils.
Wils is a mindset and business strategist at Millionaire Life Strategy empowering female and tech entrepreneurs to boost their business and themselves so that they can confidently deliver their added value without feeling like an imposter. Wils always says that people are more capable than they give themselves credit for, and he has a very simple and effective challenge to prove that. It’s all about the mindset.
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 am the only child of two loving parents. In my childhood, I believed everything was possible. My parents always had money, I could choose which sports I wanted to do, and my parents were very supportive. I never doubted my own capabilities, so I would say that I believed in myself from a very young age. I just knew that when I’d set my mind on something, I would achieve it. Funny facts, the times I disappointed myself, I can still recall as if they were yesterday. Rest assured, they can be counted on one hand, more accurately on two fingers. I use those two moments as a motivation whenever I start something new, because I didn’t like it and I don’t want to add another one to the list. A great quote that goes with this is, “A winner is just a Loser who tried one more time,” and I am a winner.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
My wife and our two adopted boys inspired me to start my entrepreneurial journey. I never intended to become an entrepreneur, but when my wife and I decided to follow a hypnotherapy training, everything I loved came together. It was my wife’s idea to take the training, thinking if only we could help our boys with it. After the first training weekend I knew I wanted to do this for a living some day, not realizing that two years later I would be fully self-employed. Nowadays, I still use my hypnotherapy skills in my coaching because it is a very effective and efficient way to transform limiting beliefs and other mindset issues.
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?
To be honest, it wasn’t funny back then, but now I can laugh at it. When I first started, I wanted immediate results, and I was overwhelmed with entrepreneurship. I wanted clients and income so badly that I bought and followed a lot of gurus, because I thought they had the “golden key.” I thought, “Well, they succeeded, and they aren’t that special, so I could do it, too.” Sound familiar? Well, I went down that road only to find out it didn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are honest and truly want to help you. Except, sometimes it is the combination of timing, the skills they’re sharing, and the talents they’re not sharing that makes it successful. I think sometimes they take it for granted, or think it is so obvious, “everybody knows this, right?” Wrong! I found that what a lot of them want is to clone themselves and that’s not me. It wasn’t until I started focusing on the process and the details around why it worked for them that I could see how I could use their recommendations and implement them into my own business, that I started to get some success out of it. I definitely learned that keeping close to yourself and staying authentic works much better, and makes you feel great as well. That’s why my coaching is focused on the strengths and talents of my clients. I definitely don’t want them to clone me, one Erwin Wils is enough (lol).
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
The most exciting project I’m working on right now is my “Profitable Passion Inner Circle.” I was challenged by a dear friend to come up with an entry-level priced service so that prospects could get a better idea of what I have to offer. I came up with my “Profitable Passion Inner Circle.” It is a coaching platform for likeminded people that want to grow and develop themselves as well as their business and are willing to help each other as well. It is not really group coaching, and it’s not 1 on 1 coaching, it’s somewhere in between. I call the members Passionados and they can ask any question in the community, and I will answer their questions. At least once a month, I go live in a Zoom meeting for a real time Q&A, or a hot seat, to discuss an actual topic or just share my knowledge. Every live meeting will be recorded and added to the resources in the community, so the knowledge database and value of the community will grow massively over time. And besides time, the Passionados invest a very low monthly subscription fee. I think this will disrupt the industry, so you probably understand why I’m so excited about it.
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?
Sure! Believing in yourself is important because it affects the way you perceive yourself, the decisions you make, and the actions you take. Here are a few reasons why believing in yourself is crucial:
- It builds your confidence. When you believe in yourself, you feel confident in your abilities, which can help you tackle challenges and take risks that you might have shied away from otherwise. This confidence can help you achieve your goals and succeed in life.
- It gives you resilience. When you believe in yourself, you are more resilient in the face of setbacks and obstacles. You are more likely to keep going even when things get tough because you have faith in yourself and your abilities.
- Of course it gives you a positive self-image. When you think positively about yourself, you are more likely to have a positive outlook on life, which can lead to greater happiness and success.
- It also helps with self-motivation. Believing in yourself can help you stay motivated to pursue your goals. When you believe in yourself and tell yourself you can do it, you will keep on going.
Overall, believing in yourself is important, because it will help you achieve your goals and succeed in life.
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 confidence in your abilities, skills, and potential. It is about having a positive perception of yourself and your worth. When you believe in yourself, you trust your abilities and your decisions. You don’t doubt your ability to handle challenges, and you don’t let failures or setbacks discourage you. It is not about being arrogant or overconfident. It is about having a healthy self-esteem and self-worth. It means recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, but focusing on your strengths and using them to achieve your goals. Believing in yourself also means being willing to take risks and try new things. When you have faith in yourself, you are more likely to step outside your comfort zone and pursue new opportunities.
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?
There was a time when we were struggling financially. I had been investing heavily in coaching and personal development, trusting the promises and telling myself I could do it. When the results failed, I started doubting myself. Was I lying to myself? Where did I go wrong? I started desperately applying to interim assignments, only to end up second place. That was when I decided that my heart wasn’t into those interim assignments, and I needed to take action to pursue my dreams and vision. I changed some self beliefs and started changing things in my business, which started to grow again. It made me more mature as an entrepreneur and definitely helped me making more considered choices.
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 must admit I never realized this consciously. The only thing I remember was the moment my self-belief went to the next level. That was in 2017, when I decided to invest in a business coach. My coach also organized a big multi-day event in Anaheim, California which I attended. I was interviewed on stage in front of an audience of 2,500 fellow entrepreneurs, millionaires, and multimillionaires. Behind the scenes I met a lot of inspiring people, including several A-list celebrities like John Travolta, Mark Wahlberg, Christie Brinkley, Mel Gibson, Steve Wozniak, and Hugh Hilton. I used to put them on a pedestal, and now that I’ve met them. I started to admire them because of who they are: hard working people just like you and me, and very successful entrepreneurs. From that moment on, my mindset went from “that’s not for me, I’ll never be able to achieve that,” to “If they can do it, why wouldn’t I be able to do that?” and that certainly boosted my self-belief. And I still have some very dear and valuable connections from that event.
What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.
- Embrace failure. Failure is part of life. It’s not possible to do everything right the first time. So accept the fact that you will fail somewhere, that you will make mistakes. Learn from it and grow. You’ve done it many times in the past. The first time you wanted to stand up as a baby, you probably fell on your behind, because you didn’t know how to use your muscles and joints correctly, how to keep your balance. Yet that didn’t stop you to do it again. Learn from the feedback you got and do it over and over again until you succeed. Guaranteed, you have repeated that process multiple times in the past for other skills you now master. So don’t let failure stop you; learn from it.
- Start small. Whatever journey you’re taking, every journey starts with the first step, no matter how small. In order to run a marathon, you need to run the first 10 meters. When you can do that comfortably, increase the distance, move your limit further and further, little by little.
- Celebrate small wins. Following the previous tip, celebrate all those small wins! Every achievement you make and celebrate will build your self-confidence and your self-belief.
- Journal. Keep a journal on a daily basis and write down at least 3 things that you’re proud of. And like tip 2, those things don’t need to be big things. You can be proud that you’ve brushed your teeth, that you had breakfast, that you got out of bed, whatever. Writing this down will give you a great feeling and a positive focus. You’ll see that when time passes by, it will become easier and easier to write down things. And they will become bigger and bigger. And when you’re busy with it, also write down 3 things that you’re grateful for. Practicing gratitude is a very important skill as well.
- And last, but not least, get a mentor or a coach! You don’t recognize your own talents. Since they come so naturally to you, you think that everybody can do that. After all, you didn’t study for it, it doesn’t cost you any energy. Yet it is a special skill you master and not everybody has that skill. A mentor or coach can make you aware of your talents. Remember all those talent shows where people come to audition? And those natural talents that were “pushed” by their friends and family? They don’t recognize the gift that has been given to them and they need a jury to make them aware of it. That’s the added value of a mentor/coach. Well, one of the added values of course, there’s more to it.
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
It’s funny that you’re using these words in your question. Can you do me a favor? Can you try lifting one of your hands? That’s not hard, is it? But you do what I asked. You didn’t try lifting your hand, you just did it. Trying implies it’s hard and it gives you an exit the moment the road gets rough. So probably without realizing it, you already used a little self-criticism. Now the first step of change is becoming aware. Becoming aware of self-criticism gives you the choice to change it. You decide how you talk to yourself, nobody else. Start by applying the five tips I just shared with you.
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
Believing in yourself is not the same as being arrogant or overly confident. Arrogance and overconfidence are often a mask for insecurity and can actually hinder your ability to achieve your goals. Also, believing in yourself does not mean you have to go for it alone. It’s important to seek support and guidance from others when you need it. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Last point I would like to mention is that believing in yourself is not a guarantee of success or immunity to failure.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is a feeling of self-doubt or inadequacy despite evidence to the contrary, often experienced by high-achieving individuals. It is all in the mindset. People think they need to be somebody else in order to succeed in something, while their true power is in being themselves. My advice would be to stop comparing yourself with others, start trusting your own skills, identify your strengths, and apply the tips I’ve shared in this interview.
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 transform the education system. It hasn’t changed much over the last decades. In school, there is a negative focus on the things kids are not good at. When you perform poorly in language or math, you get additional lessons. Schools are judged on performance. They want the poorly performing students to improve and level up the average. That is a focus on their weaknesses instead of their strengths. When schools could focus on the strengths of each individual and support them to develop that even more, can you imagine what that would do for their self-belief and their self-confidence?
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 would love to have lunch with Sir Richard Branson. He is a big inspiration and I know I will learn a lot from him.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Follow me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/erwin-wils) and get inspired by my posts. Subscribe to my podcast “Follow your Passion” (https://www.follow-your-passion.biz and all major platforms). Get my Profitable Passion Inner Circle membership and get coached by me (https://www.millionairelifestrategy.com/profitable-passion-inner-circle ) .
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.