Be okay asking for help. If we chronically struggle with believing in ourselves it can be a sign of much deeper wounding that could be best helped by speaking with a professional. Sometimes talking with a therapist or counselor can help us to see and better understand the root of our behavior and ways in which we might change 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 Jason VanRuler.

Jason VanRuler is the author of Get Past Your Past: How Facing Your Broken Places Leads to True Connection. He began his career in 2011 and has worked with many populations over the years, ranging from persons who are incarcerated to top CEOs, performers and artists, and just about everyone in between. Jason has extensive experience as a clinician, coach, and speaker and operates a multistate private practice. Jason is known for his ability to relate and connect with his clients and offer hope to those who have felt hopeless. He has an engaged and rapidly growing online audience for his insightful, short videos sharing practical tips for psychological care, self-help, and healthy relationships.

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 was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and have one brother. My parents divorced when I was eight and after hat time there was a great deal of instability and volatility in my childhood. We struggled to maintain housing and there were lots of challenges. My response to the challenges and difficult things that were happening was reading anything I could get my hands on. All of my reading taught me a great deal about a world I’d never visited and opened the door for me to dream of a different future.

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

I remember being a kid riding visiting my father and as I’d get into his company car, I’d have to move a briefcase full of Tony Robbins cassettes to the backseat. During my childhood my father was working his way up from being in the janitorial department to management in a large corporation and he frequently listened to Tony Robbins to help in that process. Although I couldn’t always relate to what was said on those cassettes, I still remember how they made me feel; hopeful and motivated. Those early experiences led me to an interest in psychology and as I read more, I began to believe that not only could I change my circumstances, but that eventually I could others do the same.

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 remember early on in my career of public speaking I had a microphone on that stayed on much longer than it should have and caught me saying I was nervous, asking for a water and asking if anyone noticed that I tripped walking up the stairs. Although I didn’t say anything I regretted or am embarrassed about I learned that what we say matters even when we think no one is listening.

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

Writing has been something that I have dreamt of doing my whole life and so that has been an amazing opportunity and something that I will continue to do. In the last couple of years, I have been able to travel the world offering workshops and retreats to both leaders as well as couples to help people better communicate, live in authenticity and vulnerability and adopt a growth mindset. This work has been most rewarding and something I really enjoy doing. Together with my team, we curate an experience that blends not only education, but also experiences and hospitality into a long weekend in some of the most beautiful places in the world. The changes that I have seen when busy professionals are able to rest, reflect and connect have been amazing and I hope to continue to expand my offerings so that more people might have the opportunity to participate.

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?

Simply put, my experience is that people don’t take good care or improve things they don’t value. This applies to things, jobs, property and more, but is also so true when we think of how we view ourselves. If we do not believe in ourselves, we often dream or hope to be someone else instead of developing new skills to better who we already are. This can lead to difficulties setting expectations for us as well as problems with self-confidence and the willingness to invest in our future.

If we don’t believe in ourselves, not only will we struggle to invest in bettering ourselves but others around us will too. It is difficult to get new opportunities and grow if we are constantly projecting to others that we don’t believe we can do it or our worth investing in.

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 is not about believing in a fantasy about who you might be but instead believing in who you are today and the potential that you have if you do the work. The difference between a goal and a fantasy is action and believing in yourself means believing that you are capable of taking the action to get to where you want to go. This process becomes much easier when you are able to recognize and build on efforts that you are already making because during that process you build self-confidence through consistent action.

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

For much of my early 20’s I did not believe in myself, and this belief led me to make choices that kept me stuck instead of striving for better. Because I didn’t believe that I could change or improve I spent lots of time coping with the stuckness instead of asking for help or changing. This led to problems with drinking, spending and keeping a job, all of which resulted in my digging a deeper hole for myself that took years to get out of. During that season I also chose friends who cared for me but shared a similar belief about themselves and together we stewed in our stuckness and in many ways held each other back from improvement. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that because I hadn’t believed in myself that I had created a life that reinforced this belief which ultimately kept me very stuck.

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 remember one of the first keynotes that I gave when I nervously spoke to the event organizer and shared that I was pretty sure that I was the wrong choice for the event and wasn’t good enough to be in the room. The organizer looked at me and said, “If you don’t think you should be here, they won’t either.” Although I’d known for some time that I needed to believe in myself, it became painfully obvious in that moment how much not having that belief colored my thoughts and decisions. After that event, I invested in really getting to the heart of why I thought and felt what I did about myself and how I might change those beliefs.

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

1 . Keep your word to yourself. Believing in yourself has a lot to do with self-confidence and when we follow through on something we said we would do it really helps. Something that I have many of my clients do is to keep a daily journal of the things they’ve done each day as well as their goals and if they have achieved them. Sometimes we are poor historians and so it’s wonderful to be able to look back at what we’ve done even if we don’t feel accomplished.

2 . Spend time around people who believe in you. This may seem cliché, but who you spend your time with has a big impact on how you see yourself and if your community doesn’t believe in you, it only makes things worse. I remember working with a talented artist that was ostracized from their community due to their having a different approach and perspective. For years they felt alone and as though they might be wrong until they met a different group of artists who shared the same perspective, and everything changed.

3 . I often ask my clients, what how would you speak to yourself if you wanted to be kind and encouraging? If that’s not what you are saying, what might you say instead? The reality is that it is hard to believe in ourselves if we are constantly thinking negative and critical thoughts. I love Jon Acuff’s concept of our frequent thoughts being like Soundtracks we listen to and the need we have at times to change to a better song.

4 . Try new things. Much of believing in ourselves comes from acting. I know personally, challenging myself to run a marathon and following through really helped me to believe in ourselves. When we take a calculated risk and try and succeed at something new our confidence soars.

5 . Be okay asking for help. If we chronically struggle with believing in ourselves it can be a sign of much deeper wounding that could be best helped by speaking with a professional. Sometimes talking with a therapist or counselor can help us to see and better understand the root of our behavior and ways in which we might change it.

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

Be willing to hear both sides. If you often criticize yourself, begin to think of something positive in response. The goal is not to delude ourselves into being positive but to be willing to see both sides and understand that while we all struggle, we all also have strengths.

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

Believing in yourself is not a bad thing when it comes from a genuine and authentic place. Sometimes having self-confidence is made out to be a bad thing but that’s often when confidence is being projected and is not genuine.

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

Understand that at some point almost everyone feels like an imposter and the way to get through it is to keep going. Sometimes how we feel is not the best representation of how things actually are and so it pays to have people in our lives that are willing and able to reassure us when we are struggling.

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 think the movement would simply be to help people better identify healthy relationships and have the tools to maintain them. Relationships are at the heart of everything we do and unfortunately, we don’t also have great role models or education to help us with them. Much of the reason for my IG account is to provide information about healthy relationships so that people have a reference point. I’d love to see others join in and there be a wealth of free information for people striving for better relationships.

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 meet Donald Miller. He has been a huge inspiration to me both as an author as well as a business leader and I think it would be fantastic to have a conversation.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can sign up for my newsletter at and get daily relationship tips on IG @jason.vanruler

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


  • 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.