Learn to value yourself. Understanding your self-worth needs to become a priority. You can do this by evaluating where your self-worth stands today and ask yourself how you can increase 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 Ines Ducic.
Ines Ducic is a passionate Life Coach and Speaker. Focusing on Leadership, Creativity and Innovation, Ines believes that the greatest creative act is the one of creating ourselves. Her greatest passion is serving people by leading and influencing positive change, helping o to create and innovate their best self!
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 was born in Bosnia & Hercegovina back in 1985 into the most beautiful, loving, and generous family. I truly feel blessed to come from where I come from, and eternally grateful to the family that raised me. So much of who I am today is a reflection of this magical place called Bosnia and its soulful people!
Unfortunately, at just six years old, my magical childhood transformed into an unimaginable nightmare. In 1992, I was forced to leave the sanctuary of my home and torn apart from my father — my hero, protector, and my entire loving family, due to the horrific merciless grip of the Bosnian War. My mother, who was only 28 years old at the time along with my older sister and I, became helpless refugees and would go on to experience many traumatic events, including the loss of my father in 1994, who was shot and killed by a sniper. To honor the six-year-old Ines, this story needs to be told in its entirety, at another time.
As you can imagine, at a very young age I was exposed to the worst in humanity. As a child, I had a deep desire and a desperate need to find the best in people. It is through this pursuit that my passion for people grew and continues to grow every day. Humans are my favorite, and I’m pretty much obsessed with all that’s magical about us.
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?
I was a Coach way before I pursued it professionally or even before I knew it myself! Every job I ever had and everywhere I went, I would quickly be “advising” someone on their personal and professional life. One of my closest friends once said that the best way to describe me was “Hi, my name is Ines, let me fix your life real quick”. It’s funny now, however, in hindsight I can see what a huge mistake this was. I poured so much of my energy and efforts trying to help people solve their problems. People who didn’t see what I saw in them. I wasn’t aware of my intuitive gifts and abilities and the responsibility that came with them.
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I learned that my unique gifts and talents are meant to be used to help others see themselves and make changes they want to make, not the changes I think they should make. I also learned how to use my natural gifts and talents responsibly. This was a big lesson for me as I have always been a “fixer”, and I am truly grateful to be on the other side of it. Today my main goal is to be of the highest service by being the right companion on the right journey, and the clearest mirror I can possibly be for the individuals that I work with.
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 pouring most of my energy into my 1:1 clients. My coaching conversations have become great adventures full of higher knowledge and wisdom. Whenever I connect with a new client it’s like opening a brand-new book. For me, this is a sacred experience that I honor and cherish. My clients are taking me into parts of themselves that they have never met. No books, courses, or workshops can compare to the powerful insights I receive from my coaching conversations.
With 20+ years of corporate experience, alongside my coaching, I’ve created a transformational Leadership Development program that I am really excited about! It’s called THRIVE TOGETHER. A series of 6 transformational workshops that are designed to help leaders THRIVE while navigating the complexities of our changing world. These last 3+ years we have all been thrown into survival mode and now it’s finally time to learn how to thrive again. Currently we find ourselves between two worlds and learning how to successfully lead and navigate through this complex change is desperately needed in leadership today.
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 is the key ingredient to becoming who you truly are and releasing your unique gifts and talents into the world. I can say this with full confidence, we all have unique inner gifts and our purpose is to use them to serve others. Without belief in yourself, no amount of hard work, achievements or success can help you realize your true potential. There is a saying that the graveyard is the richest place on the surface of the earth because there you will find all the unrealized dreams and ideas due to the lack of self-belief.
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 that you are aware of your inner power. I for one believe that we can become whatever we desire to be, whether we have a natural talent or not. I believe that hard work beats talent any day of the week! In your mentioned examples, I can already see some limiting beliefs. I know they were just examples, so I’ll share the limitations I see. The belief that one must be talented to be a great artist, or simply limiting oneself by affirming I am not athletic. Those are fixed mindset statements. Believing in yourself means that know you have what it takes to overcome your limitations by turning the impossible into “I’m Possible”, with a growth mindset. It’s not a gimmick. One of my favorite quotes by Napoleon Hill, the author of the famous book Think and Grow Rich, said “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” I believe in this statement, and I live by it every day. The key here is to believe in what you truly want. Whether it’s becoming an Olympic gold medalist, an artist, or anything you desire, first you must become aware of the deeper reason for it, your core WHY.
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself?
There have been many! Though, one in particular held me back from pursuing my passion for people. Over the years many people would tell me “Ines you should be a Life Coach, you would be amazing, it comes so natural to you”. My skin would crawl every time I heard that, and I heard it often. I felt so ashamed thinking “who would ever want me to coach them? If people knew what a mess my life was, they wouldn’t ever listen to anything I had to say!”. Back then I believed that I wasn’t smart enough or good enough to coach anyone. My life was full of struggles many never knew about. Even to this day, many people don’t know my real story. In all honestly, even this interview is difficult for me. Being vulnerable in sharing my story is not something I lean into easily. Something I always say to my clients, “just because I am aware of my potential, does not mean I am exempt from the experience”. I have a lot of learning and unlearning to do still, and that excites me!
How did this impact your choices?
I played small and I let people take advantage of me. This went for all areas of my life. I didn’t think that what I had to offer had any value. It makes me very emotional even now when I think about it. Needless to say, the choices that I made were not in my best interest, but in the interests of others. However, it was these experiences that pushed me to my breaking point which helped me realize that I am not honoring that 6-year-old girl who fled a war zone and overcame life-shaking trauma through her resiliency and resourcefulness. This is when I started to connect with myself on a deeper level, which eventually helped me overcome the voice that was holding me back from achieving my potential.
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?
Back in 2018, I was going through a rough patch in my life, I felt lost without any direction, and my anxiety and depression were spiraling. Early October of 2019, my older sister, out of love and desire to help me get out of this darkness, blurted out “Why don’t you go and become a life coach, you know that’s what you really want to do”. I burst into tears; you know that ugly cry?! I felt like my deepest desires were exposed and I could not hide from them anymore. She insisted that I do some research about professional life coaching. Believe it or not, prior to this, I did not have the slightest idea or even desire to know what a professional life coach does. I just knew I couldn’t possibly be one. I used to think that nobody should ever coach someone on their life. Hahaha can you imagine?! This is that limiting belief that casts a shadow on our true potential! Thankfully, I took my sister’s advice, and the rest is history. I finally found the truest expression of my soul, and I’ve been walking in my purpose on purpose ever since.
What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Learn to value yourself. Understanding your self-worth needs to become a priority. You can do this by evaluating where your self-worth stands today and ask yourself how you can increase it.
2. Integrity. Be true to yourself, always. Especially when faced with diversity. This will help you build both self-trust and self-respect. When you live in integrity you can’t help but believe in yourself.
3. Invest in yourself. Whether it’s personal development, learning new skills, fitness etc., the greatest investment you will ever make is to invest in yourself! This also increases your personal value!
4. Challenge your fears. You’ve heard the expression before that “everything you want is on the other side of your fears”. In fact, the next best version of you is there too, waiting to meet you. Fears truly become our limitations when we refuse to face them.
5. Surround yourself with people who believe in you, encourage you and cheer for your highest good. They say if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. I am truly blessed to have so many great people in my corner, believing in me, especially at times when I find it hard to believe in myself. You deserve to have these types of people in your corner too!
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
In coaching, I teach my clients about their inner critic and their inner ally. We all have an inner critic, it’s that negative voice in our head that is always criticizing us and telling us why we are not good enough. One of my clients named his inner critic “Little Hater”. As a highly creative person, the “Little Hater” was always hating on him and his brilliant ideas. Whereas my “Little Hater” is always trying to cast a big dark shadow on my bright light. By identifying the “Little Hater”, we are able to connect to our inner ally, which I often refer to as our “Higher Self”. This helps us develop a healthy inner dialog. When the “Little Hater” comes out, we know not to attach ourselves to those thoughts and we let the Higher Self lead instead. This is a practice that we must continue because we are always changing, evolving, and becoming. It’s important to recognize who is in the driver seat of our life, the Littler Hater or the Higher Self? This will determine the direction we are heading in.
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
There are some people who believe that confidence is something you are born with, or that believing in yourself is a myth. To the contrary, confidence is something that we get to build and it’s never too late to start. In fact, my personal belief is that confidence is like a muscle, the more you use it, the more it grows. And if you don’t use it, you lose it. Confidence is something we continuously build by challenging ourselves to step out of our comfort zone. We don’t build confidence by doing the things we feel confident with. We build confidence by challenging ourselves to do the things we may not be so good at, YET.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is more common than we realize. Turns out Beyonce struggled with it for many years, which is why she created her alter ego, Sasha Fierce. I’ve experienced it many times myself and I am sure I will again in the future. Expanding our self-image is key. How we see ourselves determines what we deem to be possible for us. One way we can do this is by looking at what we once believed that is no longer true for us, for example, shifting “I am not talented therefore I cannot be an artist” to a new belief, “I am a born creator and creativity is my birthright therefore my new belief is that I can practice creativity and become a better artist”. One thing that really works well for me is reaffirming who I am, so when the imposter syndrome comes out saying “Who am I to speak in front of a large audience?” or “who am I to (insert your own challenge here )”. I say, don’t ignore it, instead answer it by reframing “WHO AM I?” to “I AM WHO is passionate, I AM WHO is courageous, I AM WHO loves to share my wisdom with others” etc. Reaffirm who you know yourself to be as you take the time to get to know the new version of you. Every new level we reach requires us to get to know the new version of who we have become. A great book that can help you expand your self-image is Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. Highly recommend!
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.
Personal Development should be taught everywhere, in schools, work, home, and beyond. Everything that we will ever do in our lives and in business will be with, though, and for people. We are wired for connection! Therefore, becoming our best version means that we get to pour the best of ourselves into each other and in turn create a better world for all of us to live in. I believe in this because I believe in myself and the work that I am doing today. I believe that it’s possible for us to create a better world by becoming a better version of ourselves. Like the famous lyrics of the Michael Jackson song, Man in the Mirror “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change!” Also, I’d like to add that it gets to be fun! Once you begin to see your potential and the greatness that lives within you, you cannot unsee it! It’s a great feeling.
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 🙂
Pitbull! I love his creativity, stage presence, energy, and work ethic. Most of all I love his mindset and would love to explore it! A deep conversation with Pitbull is my tall order! 😊
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.