T is for Training. You must train your brain. Just like a computer, it’s all about the programming; what goes in is what is going to come out.

I believed my programming, my “I’m not smart enough” chants. It resulted in my own confusion and the automatic assumption that most things were too complicated for me. That way of thinking became who I was. When an opportunity presented itself and it required me to learn something new, I would sabotage the opportunity because I didn’t believe I was able to learn anything new. If I had to change the format on a video I was uploading for an audition or something technical like that, I wouldn’t even attempt to figure it out. I would block myself from even reading an instruction booklet or watching a tutorial because I didn’t believe in myself and my ability to learn; I was convinced I wouldn’t understand 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 Katherine Norland.

Katherine is an award-winning actress, as seen on FOX, BET, AMC, HGTV, Oxygen, Prime Video, TLC, Roku, E! News, TBN and More. She’s most recognized for her series regular role on the hit YouTube show Dhar Mann, whose content has garnered over 40 billion views. She’s a best-selling author with five books; a life coach; a motivational speaker, and the creator of the faith-based confidence course and book You Are Worthy. She’s the mom of 2 preemie nuero-divergent boys (one special needs). Her mission is to help people see themselves the way God does (in an empowering way) so they have the courage and confidence to go after their dreams.

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 grew up in a trailer park in a small town amongst the cornfields of Minnesota. My mom was a nurse, and my dad painted houses. I remember having a spark of enthusiasm, full of ideas as a kid. I’d dress up in costumes and put on lip-sync shows for my mom’s friends. I even had her help make costumes for these skits I performed. I also had an entrepreneurial spirit about me, as I’d ride my bike down to Ace Hardware and buy little bags of candy for 69 cents and put them in a plastic container with different divided slots and go around the trailer park selling individual pieces of candy to the kids for 5 cents. I’d earn extra money with Kool-Aid stands on the corner as well.

When I entered high school, though, something switched. I became very insecure, and certainly didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t think much about the future — only about having fun, living for the moment, doing anything I could not to face myself and all the things I didn’t like about myself. Escaping schoolwork and cutting class became things I looked forward to. My childhood spark and enthusiasm faded into the past.

The only thing I seemed to excel at in high school was the talent shows. That’s the one place I enjoyed being: on stage, performing. I didn’t have that shyness when I was on stage. I had joy creating the shows I’d do with my friends. I would decide what we’d wear and choreograph the dances and direct all that was happening. Yet that was only a couple of times a year. Other than that, I had no plans for college. It seemed like I was the only one of my friends without an aim in life. I settled into a factory job working on an assembly line putting small electronic parts into motherboards — hundreds of pieces an hour, eight hours a day, five days a week — and was horrified to think this would be the next 45 years of my life.

One glimmer of hope I had was that I was earning credits through a correspondence Bible school called Berean University (they’ve since changed their name), in hopes to maybe become a pastor someday. I really wanted to help people, but certainly didn’t think I had what it took or believed in myself enough to become a nurse like my mom and grandmother. During that same time, every Sunday for five years, I went down to the local county jail every Sunday to do a church service for the inmates. That was one thing I felt I was doing right.

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

Though I loved creating and performing skits for my parents as a child and the talent shows at school, truth be told, I never even did a play in high school. And honestly, acting didn’t seem like a thing regular people did, or that I’d ever be capable of. I got into acting while I was in ministry school. I would be sitting, studying my homework, and it was as if a small voice was whispering to my spirit: “Move to L.A. and become an actor.” That thought was crazy to me. I couldn’t imagine leaving the state without my parents, let alone my husband, because at this point, he was not on board. The thought of moving to Los Angeles by myself, coupled with having no experience whatsoever as an actor, and only vaguely knowing one person in L.A. whom I’d met twice, seemed both reckless and ridiculous.

Then a traveling play came through my town and performed at my church. They didn’t have enough actors, so they asked me to step in and play a role. After my performance, I saw dozens of people come forward in tears wanting to change their lives. At that moment, I realized that I could impact and touch at least as many lives as an actor as I could as a pastor. That made me want to make the transition to move to Los Angeles to pursue that passion. I packed up my Chevy and went out to visit that person and his family I’d only met twice before. I had become pen pals with their daughter, and they asked me to stay with her. (They wanted to see if she was mature enough to live on her own.) She was in the same building as her parents, but now she had an older, more mature roommate. Surprisingly to me, I secured my first audition six hours after I drove into town, and have had 800 since. A year later, after my husband was able to sell his skate shop business, he joined me in L.A. I’ve since worked on more than 150 acting projects, not including more than 150 episodes on the Dhar Mann YouTube channel.

More than fifteen years into becoming an actor, I had a real desire to do something that would help others, not only my career as an actor. This desire came about after I found the answers I needed and learned to believe in myself. I wanted to pass on to others what I had learned through years of self-study, personal development books, classes, seminars, and working with coaches. Becoming an author, speaker, and coach was a natural transition. I wanted to help people get unstuck and move them from where they were and show them how they could get to where they wanted to be. I started out writing self-help poetry called “Poetic Prescriptions,” where I’d prescribe poetry instead of pills to cure emotional and spiritual ills. Initially, these were all to me and for me. I never intended to show the poetry to anyone else. Frankly, I didn’t believe in myself and my writing skills. But when a mentor (a Hollywood talent manager) convinced me that I needed to share my poems with the world, I published them. From there, I always had people asking for a lot of advice from me. So besides working with people personally, I started a YouTube channel giving advice on how to go after your dreams, not to let sabotage stop you; how to be productive, manage your mind, have confidence, and not let others’ opinions stop you. Once people saw my YouTube vids, it led to people reaching out to me to coach them. Seeing that my messages were helping people, I wanted to expand and reach a larger audience with the message that you don’t have to sabotage your dreams and just build everyone else’s; you can step into your calling and believe in yourself and live your purpose with confidence. It’s not too late for you, and your dreams are possible.

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?

Gosh, I’ve been racking my brain for days trying to think of a funny mistake, and haven’t been able to think of one. Sure, I’ve made hundreds of mistakes over my acting, speaking and author careers, and for some reason, I can’t think of one that is funny. I wonder if that means I’m thinking too seriously? I know there have been a few times where I didn’t understand what something meant and misinterpreted things or spoke out of context on a subject I didn’t understand, and my error made others laugh, though it wasn’t funny to me; I was pretty embarrassed about it.

However, my biggest takeaway from my myriad of mistakes, funny or tragic, is that you must enlist help along the way.

Do everything you can to get the help you need from someone who is a few steps ahead of you, especially when going into uncharted territory. Run your stuff by someone who knows your field or industry. Ask for feedback from people you trust who have proven track records. This is usually not your friends or family. Friends and family can either be too critical (even if they just want to protect you) that you never start, or they can love you and everything you do so much that they think everything you turn out is gold, so you put it out prematurely, not knowing it’s junk, and that can really come back to hurt you.

I’ve spent many thousands of dollars on books, courses, and coaches, and every penny has been worth it. Why try to figure something out from scratch when you have people who’ve spent decades successfully learning how to do what you want to do, and you can draw from their knowledge and learn from their mistakes, so you don’t make the same ones?

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

I’ve spent the last few years putting together a series of books and online courses to show people how to believe in themselves, and that they have everything it takes right now to begin to become everything they’ve ever wanted to be. The series of books and courses make the progression of showing you that you are worthy; you are loved; you are chosen; you are capable; you are unstoppable; and ultimately, you are victorious. I’ve designed this series to take someone from the place where they feel worthless to the new (God-intended) place where they believe in themselves and who their Creator made them to be so they can see themselves and operate as if they are a world changer.

When you go through the courses and books starting with “You Are Worthy,” you come out the other side sure of who you are and what you have to offer. The things that used to scare you and intimidate you don’t faze you; you now eat those petty fears for breakfast. When you believe in yourself fully, doubt will be a thing of the past. Everything you want will be available to you because you will know you are worthy of it. Learning to believe in yourself is the best place to start. Others’ believing in you won’t help if you don’t. Because you always believe what you think about yourself, you must choose your thoughts wisely.

I’m also really excited about launching an online acting course called “Acting and Having Fun” that I produced with my good friend Tony Mirrcandani, who has acted in many big film projects in both Bollywood and Hollywood. It will be available in the fall of 2023.

I’m also pleased to announce a Christmas movie I’m in that’s coming to theaters in November 2023. It’s called “Bringing Back Christmas,” starring Mark Christopher Lawrence, Leigh-Allyn Baker, and Dean Cain.

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?

If you don’t believe in yourself, you can never live the life you want to live or achieve your highest goals or have all the things you desire. I’ll share an example of this that comes straight out of my book and online course “You Are Worthy”:

When I was first acting in Hollywood, auditioning all the time for shows, every now and then I’d book one — sometimes one out of every five auditions, sometimes one out of every ten auditions. However, since I hadn’t learned to believe in myself yet and didn’t think I was “enough,” or worthy with my acting skills, I was still sabotaging myself. Rather than reaching my goals as an actor, I’d run myself ragged trying to do everything else to help on the set because I was convinced that on my own, I couldn’t possibly be good enough as an actor for them to hire me.

When I booked an acting job, I would tell the producer or director, “I also do makeup, I can do PA work, help produce the film, pick up the food,” etc. Many times, they happily accepted my double or triple duty because they were on a budget, and I never asked to be paid to do these extra things. Most of the time in fact, for the first seven or eight years as an actor, because I didn’t believe in myself, I never even asked to be paid for my acting work either.

Of course, wearing all those other hats made my performance as an actor suffer because I couldn’t give the role I was playing the full attention it needed. Instead of thinking I needed to do three or four other people’s jobs to be worthy of mine, I simply needed to get rid of the garbage thought that my acting skills alone weren’t enough. If I had believed in myself, I would have realized I was good when they hired me. After all, Hollywood is not in the business of hiring the worst actor for the role.

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?

Learning to believe in yourself is of utmost importance; however, believing in yourself is not a panacea. Believing you can do anything will improve you in every area of your life, but you must carefully evaluate where your gifts, talents and natural proficiency lie. If you have a desire and dream in your heart, it can be accomplished, and you may be the perfect one to do it.

Whether others think you have talent at that thing or don’t have talent is sometimes irrelevant. Some things we do because they bring us pleasure; some things we do because they bring us profit.

The best of both worlds, and what I believe is the aim, is believing in yourself to do the thing that makes you happy and thrilled, and for which you actually have some natural talent and ability, and work at it long enough and get help and find mentors to lead you into making that thing profitable. If not, you have a joyful hobby. For instance, if you love gardening and you believe you do it well, you could do that only for you so you could be fulfilled. Or you could choose to film yourself doing the gardening, teaching others your techniques, and build a course on it, or do YouTube videos to help others as well, and hopefully make some profit doing it.

But if I believe in myself to the Nth degree in an area in which I have no talent or ability, it will be an uphill battle, and generally a losing one. Much better to use your belief in yourself to rally behind efforts that you can do with grace and ease — not that it won’t be hard work, but you won’t have the constant battle of going against the grain of your own actual gifted being.

When you mentioned, “Can I be a gold metal Olympian even if I’m not athletic,” it’s not so much a question of “can you,” it’s more a question of “will you.” Will you do what it takes to get up at 5:00 am every day and train for 6–8 hours? Will you skip the parties with your friends on weekends and get to bed early? Will you skip the junk food and train your mind and body to the point of doing what it takes to be a gold medal winner? Do you have the determination and discipline to do whatever it takes to make it happen? If you do, not being athletic right now is not a disqualification or an excuse, it’s just a current circumstance on your way to victory that will be turned around and changed only through hard work and dedication that comes AFTER you believe you can. Belief in yourself is only the first step. Even the good old Bible says, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). So you can believe all you want in an outcome, but if you’re not willing to work at your belief in yourself, becoming a gold medal winner becomes null and void.

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

For half my life, I didn’t believe in myself. It manifested in everything I did, and it impacted every choice I made. It was horrible. It stopped me from going after so many dreams in my heart. Because when you don’t believe you can do something, you don’t try. You don’t attempt it because you’re afraid you’ll fail, or it won’t work out for you.

This was a conversation I was having with one of my coaching clients. He was sharing with me how he only gives things he wants to do a tiny bit of effort. He doesn’t go full force after them. It’s like a protection mechanism so that if it doesn’t work out, he can say to himself, “Well, it’s fine; it’s not like I really tried anyway.” The biggest fear was that if he gave it his all, and it still didn’t work out, he would be crushed and feel even worse. But a “half effort” would make him feel like he was making some effort, so he could still say, “I’m trying.”

I can think of dozens of times that not believing in myself resulted in terrible heartache for me. Since I didn’t believe in myself, by default, I believed everyone around me knew more than I did and was smarter than I was and would know what I should do with my life better than I did. This led me to several people who tried to mold me and shape me into what they wanted me to be and what they thought it would take for me to be successful. I was jumping through hoops like a circus animal trying to please people, to make them happy by doing what wasn’t even in my heart to do, but what they wanted me to do — whether it was to lose weight, dye my hair, cut my hair, straighten my teeth, not spend time doing the things I loved, doing things that I couldn’t really get into, just because it was their version of what success looked like.

I had one mentor who was very smart and helped me a lot in my career when it came to my auditions and things like that, but he didn’t like that I would spend so much time writing poetry. He thought poetry was a waste of my time, even though writing it is one of my most creative cherished outlets. (I’ve got three poetry books out under the Poetic Prescriptions title, and one coming out this fall about all the types of people I’ve met in Hollywood which is tentatively titled Hollywood Snapshots).

This mentor and I were working very closely on some film projects that he was grooming me to direct, as well as material for my online course. Because I didn’t believe in myself, I relied on his input so heavily that I almost got to the point where I didn’t think I could be creative without him, as if his creativity and experience trumped anything I came up with. However, there seemed to be this rule that I would do things his way, and because I wasn’t secure in myself and my ideas, I could often be talked out of things I wanted to do.

I loved to start my days working on my poetry because it gave me such a creative boost and feeling of accomplishment, but when I’d go meet with him each afternoon, he’d ask me, “What were you working on this morning?” I felt I had to lie and not tell him I was working on poetry, because when I did, I’d often get an earful about how I was wasting my time and how I should have been working on these things he wanted me to do to become successful. It was torture, because I didn’t feel free to do what made me happy.

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?

There wasn’t one specific event that made me think I’ve got to really start believing in myself, but so many times, I’d be watching a movie or tv show, and I’d think, how did this person get this acting job? I was not coming from a place of ego or thinking I’m better than others, but when I watched certain performances, they were clearly lacking in areas that a well-seasoned actor would know how to execute. I’d think to myself, “Well, if this person can get this job, why can’t I? What is it that separates an incompetent actor who is booking from someone like me who has some competency, but isn’t booking roles?” I realized the difference was that they believed in themselves, and I didn’t. Even though I earned some chops after being in more than 150 acting projects in my two decades of acting, there were things I could do with ease which I saw some people struggle with, who maybe played the roles “one note” or over the top, or aped other actors, or indicated too much in advance what was coming.

I started to think that if I knew what I was doing in comparison to these actors I was seeing on TV or in independent films, why couldn’t that be me on the screen? My belief in myself started out slowly. It didn’t go from nonexistent to thinking I’m the best; it went from thinking I’m the worst to at least being on par with some bad actors I saw, then nudged towards, “I’d have done the role like this,” or “That and that would have been more enjoyable for the audience to watch.” Sometimes belief in self is as simple as “Why not me?” If they can do it, so can I.

It’s a knowing deep within you that if you have a dream, then you are capable of fulfilling that dream because our Maker doesn’t put dreams in our hearts that we are unable to achieve.

A great place to start to build up your belief in yourself is to read memoirs and autobiographies of people who’ve achieved great things. Even better if you can find ones from people in the field you’re hoping to break into. Seeing how others have tried and failed and then overcome and achieved success will bolster your belief in yourself, knowing you are not alone. Even the most competent and successful people have doubts. The difference is, they didn’t allow their doubts to stop them — they changed their thoughts and beliefs about themselves and conquered anyway.

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

In my book and online course, I talk extensively about being able to see yourself the way God sees you (in an empowering light) that makes going after your dreams not only possible, but in a way that you are well able to succeed. I realized the number one thing that keeps people from believing in themselves was their perception of who they think they are and what they think they are capable of. Your perception is how you see yourself. To believe in yourself, to have more happiness and turn around every area of your life, you’ll have to change how you see things. To do that, I’ve developed a 5-step formula I call “The S.I.G.H.T. Method” to help you.

1 . “S” is for See

You really need to SEE everything you are doing. Notice the things you are saying. You’ve got to recognize your habits as well as your dialog with others and with yourself. Observe how you react in every situation. What makes you frustrated? What causes you anxiety? When do you lash out? When do you hide from others and not engage? Take note of these things. This is a very important first step, because you can’t fix anything if you’re unwilling to acknowledge or admit it. You must know what you’re saying and doing and how you’re reacting.

Your list should contain things that are both good and bad because not all your habits are one or the other. Perhaps your negative list may look something like, “I was impatient with my kids” … “I snapped at my spouse when he asked me to help around the house” … “I lost my temper at the grocery store when someone cut in front of me” … “I told myself I was going to go on a diet and only have smoothies and salads for breakfast and lunch, but I went to the drive-through again” … “I had the opportunity to ask my boss for a raise, but I clammed up and didn’t say anything.”

Your positive list may have examples like, “I gave my daughter the biggest, longest hug today and told her I was proud of her” … “I held my spouse’s hand when we were out for a walk and told him I was grateful for him” … “I let an elderly person take the closer parking spot even though I was there first” … “I told the sales clerk she had a beautiful smile” … “I helped a co-worker with her report that was due” … “When my boss said I did a good job, I said thank you, and didn’t try to point out all the ways I thought I should have done it better” … “I ordered a side salad to go with my burger instead of fries.”

When you identify specific areas like I just did in your ways of being, acting, and speaking, you can see where you struggle and where you do well. Then it becomes easier to pinpoint the behavior that does or doesn’t serve you.

You’ll gain far more from doing the exercise than you ever will by reading about it. Go ahead and SEE everything you’ve done over the last few days that you can remember, and write it all down.

Once you can see all that you’re doing — the good, the bad and the ugly — only then can you move on to the next step to regain your sight.

2 . “I” is for Inspect

You’re going to inspect what in your way of being, acting, or speaking should be kept, and what behaviors, words, thoughts, or beliefs you should reject.

How do you do that?

After you see what you’ve been doing and have your list, let’s inspect it and ask some questions. With everything on your list, ask yourself, Is this self-talk serving me? Is this habit helping me? Does my behavior make me feel empowered and confident to live to my fullest potential, or does it just make me feel bad? Does how I’m acting strengthen my relationships, or tear them down?

You must constantly assess your thoughts and ask, When I believe this, does it make me excited and motivated to go after my dreams? Or does it drag me down and make me not want to get out of bed? Or does it just make me feel like, “Why bother with my goals? I’ll just watch TV every night after work”? Am I spending more time building other people’s dreams and sabotaging my own? The Inspect phase is where you’ll dissect and start to discern the behaviors and practices which serve, help, and empower you.

What you think of yourself (especially if coming from a place where you don’t believe in yourself) may not be correct. And neither are you any of the names or labels people have put on you. You are not their opinions or ideas about you. Those ideas are things that live in your head or other people’s heads, but they are not the truth about you. They’re merely perceptions.

Now that you’ve inspected all the ways you saw you’ve been doing, saying, and thinking, we move to the letter G.

3 . “G” is for Garbage

You’re going to get rid of the garbage. This is where you draw a line in the sand and say, “No more!” You stop dwelling on and speaking over your life things that are not beneficial to you. I don’t care if you’ve had 54 different relationships that didn’t work out; you’re not allowed to call yourself a failure or say you’re not good enough to get married and no one will ever want you.

If you weigh 400 pounds, you’re not allowed to refer to yourself as a fat slob who will never lose weight or be healthy no matter what you try. Even if you think what you’re saying is the truth, you must decide from here on out: I will only speak words that are kind to myself. I won’t be at war with myself any longer. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph. 4:29 KJV). “The hearers” includes YOU!

Starting way back in high school, I thought fixing my outside would make me happy. But I didn’t realize where I needed the most work was on my inside. I would trash-talk myself, filling myself up with garbage thoughts. I always believed what I was saying, which meant my actions followed suit. However, as an adult, a few years ago, my eyes were opened to how I had been behaving and why I was never able to reach my goals. Not only did I not believe in myself, I had a mantra running through my head, which was garbage like, “I’m not smart enough, or good enough,” etc. Because that’s what I thought in my heart, that’s who I became.

Are you aware of any self-deprecating slogans or self-talk running through your head? What are they? Really search for them. If they don’t come to mind right away, ask yourself, What is it I say to myself or believe that stops me from going for my goals, or even just liking myself? What keeps me from being carefree, letting loose, having fun, or asking that person if they want to be friends? What keeps me from standing up for myself and loving myself the way I am?

What’s the garbage you are holding on to? It’s important to keep recognizing these patterns. Be honest with yourself about what you say and believe, because it determines what you experience in life. Where you are now is in large part due to the things you’ve said and believed, whether for good or bad.

Now that you’ve identified the garbage to get rid of, let’s move on to the letter H.

4 . “H” is for Helpful

You’ve got to hold on to what’s helpful. You must think thoughts that give you joyful anticipation for a desire that you want, rather than anxiety over an outcome you don’t want.

I had to do this myself every time I went to an audition and didn’t book the role. Before I learned to believe in myself, I would say, “I’m not pretty enough” … “They didn’t like me” … “I’m not a good actor” … “Why am I even bothering?” … “I have to lose weight.” I had to change my thought life and my prayers to, “Okay, God, You knew I wanted this acting job, but something about it must not have been right for me. Please help me audition for and book the right jobs. Lead me to the jobs where they’ll embrace me for who I am and appreciate the talent I bring to the project. Thank You for the plans You have for me, for good and not for evil, for giving me a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

To hold on to what’s helpful, I must challenge you to believe the best. What’s the alternative? To be miserable and depressed because you’re believing the worst? You don’t know what will eventually happen in your life or how everything will turn out. You don’t always know what’s true. If you have a choice to believe the worst things about yourself or your situation or believe the best, which one is going to make you miserable? Which one is going to give you hope? Go with the hope. There are enough forces of the enemy coming against you to keep you down; why make it worse?

If you’re really going to believe in yourself, and hold on to what’s helpful, you must use your mind to think thoughts that empower you. Imagine what your life would look like if you only put positive thoughts into your psyche. These are the kinds of things that will actually help you.

Which brings us to the letter T.

5 . T is for Training

You must train your brain. Just like a computer, it’s all about the programming; what goes in is what is going to come out.

I believed my programming, my “I’m not smart enough” chants. It resulted in my own confusion and the automatic assumption that most things were too complicated for me. That way of thinking became who I was. When an opportunity presented itself and it required me to learn something new, I would sabotage the opportunity because I didn’t believe I was able to learn anything new. If I had to change the format on a video I was uploading for an audition or something technical like that, I wouldn’t even attempt to figure it out. I would block myself from even reading an instruction booklet or watching a tutorial because I didn’t believe in myself and my ability to learn; I was convinced I wouldn’t understand it.

Have you ever done anything like that? Have you robbed yourself of opportunities because of how you programmed your brain to think? What garbage have you been training your brain to dwell on? What kinds of thoughts do you repeat until it causes anxiety that takes your brain and body hostage? Have you missed out on joy because you didn’t know the right way to think? What kinds of things were you upset about or not happy with God about because you couldn’t understand the bigger plan? Are you willing to keep living in a way that’s unfulfilling, painful, and depressing? If not, let’s talk about how to train your brain.

The reason you made the lists of the good you’re doing and the not-so-good you’re doing isn’t to feel pain and be reminded of how terrible you are, but to see what you’re saying and doing that needs to be reset.

Hopefully by now you’ve thought of all the garbage that you need to get rid of, and you’ve got an idea how to hold on to what’s helpful — in your ways of being, doing, and thinking. When you do that, you’ll have positive outcomes, or at the very least, you’ll be aware enough to change old patterns. Remember that the ultimate way to train your brain, besides trying to strong-arm it into submission, is to bathe it in positive messages, from books, courses, classes, coaches, mentors, and inspirational reading material like the Bible. Until I trained my brain to consume the right messages, I couldn’t believe in myself. I didn’t have good SIGHT.

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

Negative thoughts are in some ways how we are wired. I’m not sure it’s possible to ever stop them completely while living; however, we can be more conscious of the invasions and course-correct quickly. In my experience, negative streams of self-criticism usually stem from comparison. There was a time in our lives, usually when we were young, that we didn’t ever think our thighs were too fat or our biceps were too small or we weren’t smart enough — until we started to see others. Sometimes comments were made comparing us, or perhaps images we saw in the media started to make us see that we weren’t like the people on TV or social media. But when you take comparison out of the equation, the amount of self-criticism lessens radically.

If you’re just living your life and you have two oranges for lunch and are completely content with that, and then another person comes and sits at your table who has four oranges, suddenly you start to wonder, why does he have four oranges and I only have two? What did he do to get double the oranges I have? Is he more special than I am? What does he have that I don’t have? Does he have more money than I have, to buy more? Does he have his own orange tree? Does the lunch lady like him better than she likes me? I believe it’s part of human nature.

Here’s a stanza of poetry I wrote once:

When we compare, we’re not content

No matter what we’ve got,

When seeing through an envy lens

It’s always what we’ve not.

I did the same thing for years in the waiting rooms of auditions: Oh, she’s got a more professional outfit; I don’t think I’ve got the right look for this lawyer role. Oh, this gal is wearing heels; I should have worn heels, not flats. Oh, how come the girl that went before me got to stay in the audition room ten minutes, and they had me out of the room in two?

There’s something about when everything doesn’t look completely fair on the outside that we start to make up scenarios in our mind and berate ourselves for what we’ve done or not done, or have or not had.

Since negative streams of self-criticism happen, we need to notice what’s happening quickly, and stop the thoughts immediately. Being grateful for what you have really helps. Another helpful tactic when those negative thoughts intrude is focusing on the outcome you want to have instead of the outcome you don’t want to have. If the negative thought is, “She’s dressed more professionally for this audition; she’s in heels; she got an extra eight minutes in the room,” we can go on a spiral thinking of all the reasons why we shouldn’t have even bothered coming to the audition today and why we wasted our time and aren’t going to get the role.

But if you instead catch yourself, and speak about the outcome you want to have, it might be something like: It was really smart for me to wear flats today. I think my character is a no-nonsense lawyer and not a frilly one, plus I’ve made the choice that I do a lot of pro-bono cases, so I might not even spring for fancy suits because I may need to help more people and have the funds to do it. They probably only needed to see me for two minutes because they could tell right away that I was the right person for the job and didn’t need to have me do it all different kinds of ways to see if I could or try to get a better performance out of me because I delivered perfectly on the first take. Plus, if this job is right for me and it’s going to be a great boost for me, I know I’ll get it.

Here’s the thing: Just as you don’t know if your negative thoughts are true, you also don’t know if you turned it on its head and your positive thoughts are true.

They’re just thoughts.

But one thing is for sure: Negative thoughts bring you down, cause you to lose your confidence, and disempower you. Positive thoughts bring you up in your self-esteem. You vibrate at a higher level, and your enthusiasm shows. When you go out for an interview or an audition, you’re going to come across much more confident if you go into it with positive thoughts visualizing a future of winning than with negative thoughts about the likelihood of losing. Making a concerted effort to go in knowing you’ll win will cause you to be more likely to win.

My coach recently told me she’d read an article that said if you can catch and change your negative thought to a positive one within 17 seconds, it can change the whole trajectory of the situation. You won’t fall into the abyss of the negative stream, and you’ll win your day rather than be pulled down into a horrendous spiral of negativity. So, catch the negative stream before it brings you down, and watch how quickly your mood will change and your days will improve, and you’ll actually get the outcomes you desire.

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

Yes, and it’s the one about affirmations. We often think, “I’ll start believing in myself and have more confidence if I repeat affirmations for things I really want to have in my life.” The problem is that we often start with affirmations that are so far away from where we are and what we’re currently capable of that we don’t even believe them. When you constantly repeat affirmations about things you don’t believe are even possible for you, it doesn’t make it more likely to make those things come true, it actually does the opposite: it reinforces staying where you’re at because the feeling inside you when you say them is, Yeah, right. That will never happen.

So we need to change our approach to affirmations so that each one moves incrementally in the right direction we want to go — something just out of reach but believable, enough that it calls us a little further forward and is something we can actually believe for, but isn’t so far away that it sinks us down in our current unwanted reality because the voice of reason inside is saying “dream on.”

Let me give you some examples. If I’m repeating each day, “I am a billionaire … I weigh 120 pounds … It’s so easy for me to lose weight … I’ve won three Oscars…” it sounds great, but there’s going to be an overwhelming amount of resistance to that from your current reality if you don’t have enough to pay your rent, you currently weigh 180, and you’ve never won any award for your acting even one from a local film festival. In that case, it would be better to start with affirmations that appear doable, that you could actually see yourself achieving, so you have something you can work for that seems within your grasp.

You might need to change your affirmations every couple of months because you’ll start achieving them so quickly. When you start achieving them quickly, it builds you up to believe for something even better because you’re winning all along the way, and that will boost your belief in yourself. Your new affirmations might look like, “I always have enough to pay my rent … I weigh 175 and I keep on releasing the excess weight with ease … I get nominated for acting awards at each film festival I enter.”

Those are things that seem within reach. There is a spark of energy because the goals feel achievable. And when you keep getting those small wins, it spurs on more wins. You can reset your affirmations anytime you’ve achieved your goals, or when you actually feel like you’re getting everything you want. Your next level of affirmations might be, “I always have enough to pay my rent and a few hundred extra to invest and give to charity … I weigh 160 and I feel great … exercising is fun, and I love that my clothes are loose on me now … I’ve won an acting award at the film festival.”

As the saying goes, “If you believe it, you can achieve it,” so start with some goals you can really believe will be possible. It’s not setting the bar too low if you’re constantly winning at them and then adjusting them just a bit beyond your current capabilities and circumstances.

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

If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, doubting your skills and talents or being afraid of being exposed as not actually having what it takes to be doing what you’re doing, I’d say, we all start somewhere. Where you are is simply where you are. Not being as good or advanced as others doesn’t mean you’re a fraud and there’s something wrong with you, or it’s some dirty secret you should be ashamed of. There is nothing wrong with not being one hundred percent skilled-up and ready for whatever comes your way, or as competent as others in the field who have been doing it longer.

As long as you keep learning and doing your best to level up, and the more you work at what you’re doing, the less you will feel like an imposter. So to not do what you love, and to take yourself out of the game and not begin because you feel like a “fraud,” is actually what would make you an imposter. You’re not betraying anyone by doing what you feel called to do and love to do even if you feel you’re not great at it or not ready for it. But not going after the dreams in your heart because someone might find out you’re not yet as competent as others means you’ll be betraying yourself.

Start from where you’re at; don’t despise your small beginnings. And remember the words of Zig Ziglar, who said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

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.

The movement I’m beginning is one that lets everybody know you are worthy. You are worthy of your dreams. You are worthy of love, and all good things. If you knew you were worthy just the way you are, because you’re here and you have a purpose, you would go after your ambitions and live your purpose, without comparing yourself to others. You’d start your business, run your charity, rescue children, feed the homeless. If each good person knew their worth, this world would be a different place.

When you realize You Are Worthy, you will attempt things you wouldn’t before. You will walk with confidence into rooms you may have felt you didn’t belong in before. If you know You Are Worthy, you will be empowered to help more people, unashamed of who you are, what you’ve done, or where you’ve been. You won’t hold back but will put yourself out there in a way you never have before, knowing you are more than enough just the way you are. If you know You Are Worthy, you won’t sabotage yourself, and you’ll finally be at peace with the person staring back at you in the mirror. When you are, nothing will be impossible for you, and the dreams that you have will create a ripple effect showing others that their dreams are possible too.

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 🙂

One of the greatest minds in business, especially in the area of personal development and scaling your business, who empowers people like no other, is Myron Golden. He’s the person who comes to mind with whom I’d love to have breakfast someday.

The way Myron teaches is so simple, yet so profound, you wonder how you’ve never had these thoughts before, or why everyone else tries to complicate things that are so simple. If you’re interested in sales, being able to sell more, or taking your business from six figures to seven figures, he’s your man. His students not only have seven-figure years, many have seven-figure months, and some even seven-figure days. And if you’re at all interested in biblical training, his business techniques come from the Bible, as he teaches the business strategies from Solomon, the richest man who ever lived. He’s got several books you could get started with, such as From the Trash Man to the Cash Man, Line ’Em Up & Sign ’Em Up, Click and Order for Brick and Mortar, and B.O.S.S. Moves.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

To every reader, I’d love to give you a taste of my new online course “You Are Worthy” by giving you access to three free videos guaranteed to boost your worth and have you believe in yourself. You can get those free lessons by going to FreeGiftFromCoachKat.com.

You can find me on YouTube and Instagram @KatherineNorland or on Facebook and TikTok @KatNorland. My poetry books are at PoeticPrescriptions.com. My new book, You Are Worthy, will be available on Amazon May 8, 2023, the Monday before Mother’s Day. And you’ll find my online course “You Are Worthy” at KatherineNorland.com/YouAreWorthy.

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.