First start with looking at your life. What do you see can be done differently? Have you been making others happy before yourself? I always say my family and friends cannot gain happiness from me if I am never filling my cup up. Start with giving yourself some love and forgiveness. Feeling resentment will never allow you to move forward with taking that leap. Put all that guilt, anger or anything negative that is running in your head away, it is time for a new start and the only way to do that is by looking forward and not back. The only reason you need to look back is to be proud of the steps you have taken and to look at the mistakes you have made so that you do not make them again.
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 Kim GoodLook Seabrook.
Kim “GoodLook” Seabrook is a proud native of the Bronx, New York. Poetry has been a form of therapy for Kim, a single mother from a young age, forced to grapple with sexual abuse, abandonment, domestic violence, addiction, heartbreak, and several near-death experiences. She has written for magazines, produced television and radio shows and has interviewed some of the greats of hip-hop, community activists, politicians and more. Kim now teaches others how to heal while being creative through workshops and her books. Kim GoodLook Seabrook.
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 the 80’s where it was a drug war going on and the crack epidemic hit our communities but also my home. Mother addicted and being raised in a home where my parents were separated, father was also weaning himself off heroin by going to methadone programs. When people hear this, they automatically get triggered or feel saddened by my situation. There was more to my childhood than just a sad story and that was me knowing what a community was. Even though I did not grow with a silver spoon in my mouth, I grew up with people who loved me and made me feel safe. If we did not have something we knew that someone in our building or in school would be able to help us, feed us or just listen. I was extremely close to my biological dad up until about 12 years old when he met another woman, and we no longer had a relationship. I then was adopted by my mother’s husband around 13 years of age, and I was skeptical about that because I thought he would be just another man in and out my life. Remember I was close to my real father up into the year before so I was unsure of how to accept what was happening in my life. I ran the streets, cut school, was sexually abused and ended up being promiscuous because I was always looking for love in the wrong places. Fast forward my Dad who gave me his last name Seabrook, was an exceptional man all the way around and I learned that throughout the years. Sadly, he transitioned on Dec, 25, 2008 and my biological father is still nowhere to be found. However, if I was granted the opportunity to see him, I will love him as if no time was ever lost.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
As far as my poetry and who inspired me, I can tell you Mary J Blige and Hip-Hop were a major influence in my writing to be comfortable with being transparent about life, especially my personal life. Now when we get to the next stage of my poetry and creating workshops and teaching, it was my teachers in High School who inspired me. I was expelled from my original High School and then sent to a smaller school which they call an Alternative High School for students who were expected to fail in this thing we call life. However, this school and my teachers were like parents to us, never judged us, never told us our words were not important, never shut us down and were supportive in anything we wanted to do. When I realized my poetry was therapy for myself, I was able to provide healing for others, so I took it to another level and wanted it in schools, so I can be that shoulder, that support system, that voice to show our youth that they are not alone, that their voice and opinions matter as I had as a teen. My teachers know that until this day how much I value everything that they have done for me and my peers whom after almost 30 years many of us are all still very close friends and that right there speaks volume.
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?
Yes! I have made quite a few mistakes and listen, I am still learning every day. In the beginning of my career, I used to open for comedy shows, very reputable comedians I might add. One New Year we decided to go on a bus trip to Jersey and I did not eat, but I drank brown liquor at that which I never drank. So, I was intoxicated and ended up arguing on the bus and making a fool of myself, I lost my voice the next day and had to perform that evening and when I did perform all I could think about was how I acted the evening before. I can laugh at it today, but it was a moment that could have ended a career that hadn’t even fully started. From that moment on I focused more on events vs comedy shows, made sure not to include liquor when handling any business, and remembered what my goal was. I had a bigger plan than just getting on stage performing. That mindset and that change of behavior helped me get to where I am today and remember I am still learning every day.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I have two children’s books set to launch in May/June where one is a 3-book series called “The GoodLook Gang” and they are a group of three kids who have challenges like one in a wheelchair, one is blind and the other deaf and they have special energies to help other kids who are bullied or sad. The other book is a hip-hop children’s book that is accompanied by a song and a musical release date to be announced very soon. The goal with The GoodLook Kids is to help those who bully to stop and those who are bullied to feel safe. Also help in any other feelings that I address. The HipHop play will also incorporate my autistic friends and they will have their time to shine and feel as an equal. I don’t want to say too much but just know that my brand is helping others to be creative while healing.
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?
The main reason why you should believe in yourself is because if you don’t who will? You have a passion or desire that is within you that the outside world does not see and won’t know anything about until you show it. Through your failures you need support and a community that can trust in your vision but the only way that vision will come to fruition is by how much you can actually see it yourself. Another reason why it is so important to believe in yourself is because you were put on this planet to achieve something that is beyond what the ordinary eye can see, and it is something you feel which is way deeper than anything. That feeling of wanting to achieve something and it almost being at your fingertips means that it can be in your hand if you just reach hard enough. When I first started my career, I was fired from my job where I sold 35 cars in my department, I was already pursuing my poetry career and going to work made me know that I had a bigger purpose anyway. When I was fired, I decided to take my poetry career all the way and not work for anyone and put all that passion into my craft. I ended up losing my home, I had to leave my son at his friend’s house so he can finish his last year of high school, we lived in Connecticut at the time. I went to NY to pursue my career which was where everything was blossoming and that is where I was from so it was my Home Sweet Home, I stood from house to house or in my car. During this transition I was talked about, looked as if I was out of my mind for believing in myself. However, there was one person besides myself who did and that was my son. Although this was very difficult for him as we ended up in a shelter after he graduated, he believed in me. I told him I would have my workshops in school within a certain year and I did it right before the Pandemic hit and now that all is open again, I am back and have been doing exceptional. Everything I said I was going to do I did, and my son was a witness, so if he can see it imagine how many other people were inspired as well. When you believe in yourself you open so many doors and opportunities while helping to do the same for others.
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?
To me believing in yourself is when you can see this vision for you, your mind can’t be cloudy, you have to be focused and keep your eye on the prize no matter how big or small. You honestly can be anything you want to be, but you must work hard at it. You cannot expect it to be handed over to you and you can’t sit there wishing that it will happen because the work must be put in. If you are working 8 hours a day for your boss, you can at least give yourself 6 hours. I really want to say give yourself 10 hours but, I know other responsibilities sometimes get in the way. however, if you want it you have to go get it. The energy you start to put into you, the rewards will be given back to you, however, it is not easy. There is a lot of sacrificing and that is the one thing that you must prepare yourself for when decide to take that leap. So, to say you want to be a great artist, but you are not talented shows the lack of belief in yourself from the start, change your mindset and instead say hey I want to be a great artist so I am going to see how I can take classes, or learn from someone, watch some videos. There are so many ways to learn but again believing also means to put in the work.
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?
The only time I could say that I did not believe in myself was when I was not focused on my career and focused on other things. I knew I always had a gift, I knew I was always talented, I was not 100% sure with what I wanted to do because I always tried so many things. I really wanted to address this, but it does not relate to not believing in myself but putting other peoples ideas and passion before mine. People can see when you are driven, when your plans come into action and some can take advantage of that. As I mention doors and opportunities, you must be careful that the doors you do decide to walk in don’t take away from everything you had envisioned for yourself. Here is an example, I partnered with a TV/News network for two years, working on producing shows, finding resources, doing a bunch of things for this partnership but totally leaving everything behind that I worked so hard for. I was burnt out and I was feeling the lack of passion. However, I did learn a lot and for that I am thankful but it impacted my happiness and my fulfilment in life. I decided to take a break and then eventually I did remove myself from the partnership and I am back doing everything that I sacrificed for and I am stronger than ever. Putting all my love into what I am doing and look now I am here interviewing with you.
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?
When I was homeless was when I knew that I had to believe in myself. I gave up all financial security to pursue my poetry career. There were times when I was unable to eat, I had to sleep in my car and then my car got repossessed and that was challenging because I had just started to work for a food delivery service, I can make my own hours and was able to put some extra money in my pocket. With the car being repossessed I was unable to continue to do so, therefore I had to work even harder. At the beginning of my career, I did mostly everything free so that I could get my name out there and it was not easy. When challenges happen in your life it is up to you to decide how that looks to you. Is it happening because it’s time for you to give up? Or did these things occur because you must continue to work harder? I feel that anything great doesn’t come easy and there is no way to get to success without climbing there. Those moments, and also knowing my son was watching me, were moments in me knowing that I had to take this to the next level.
I remember this day so vividly so let me share it with you. The tow guy called me because he seen my business cards and asked if I wanted anything from my car. I went down and met him and got what I could. I was getting ready to head to The Ruckers game in Harlem and if you are unaware of what that is, it is a famous park where legends played basketball games there, celebrities come out and they have tournaments every year. Anyway, I was going there to network, now with the car being taken away I could have easily went upstairs where I was staying and cried but instead I did some deep breathing, meditated, cleared my mind and took that train to Harlem and I was able to perform on the courts of Ruckers Park and met some great people that day. I think I was the first poet to perform on the Ruckers court, maybe I wasn’t but I know that feeling of believing in myself and knowing that regardless of what is happening, everything is going to work out and that comes from way deep and there is no feeling like it.
What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.
1 . First start with looking at your life. What do you see can be done differently? Have you been making others happy before yourself? I always say my family and friends cannot gain happiness from me if I am never filling my cup up. Start with giving yourself some love and forgiveness. Feeling resentment will never allow you to move forward with taking that leap. Put all that guilt, anger or anything negative that is running in your head away, it is time for a new start and the only way to do that is by looking forward and not back. The only reason you need to look back is to be proud of the steps you have taken and to look at the mistakes you have made so that you do not make them again.
2 . Meditate. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed that we do not take a moment to just breathe and dig deep within ourselves. Stop saying you don’t have time because I can guarantee you that you were on your phone for one good hour if not more doing absolutely nothing. Social media can be a big distraction and take away from many things we can do to be productive. If you don’t know how to meditate go on YouTube and find guided meditations to assist you. There are many amazing ones that will work for whatever you are feeling or needing. Doing it before you start your day will help you have a clearer mind and you can’t believe in yourself if your mind is cloudy.
3 . Stop Comparing! Don’t look at anyone else’s success and question why are they doing more than you? You have no idea what people had to do to get to a certain level in their career or lives. I have had several people say they envy me, but not once did I hear someone say they wish they would’ve slept in my car with me when I was homeless. If you do decide to look at others’ success be sure to do it with a loving eye and good intention. Be inspired, not jealous or envious.
Everyone has a different process, and your vision isn’t anyone else’s. People get a lot of no’s before they get that yes they have been waiting on but that doesn’t mean what you believe in isn’t of value, it is just because there is something bigger. Success doesn’t happen without failure, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. Remember that your reaction to rejection and failure will then determine your outcome.
4 . Journal. I encourage people to write as a way of relieving some added pressures but also include some of your goals as well. Have you ever done a vision board? When you put your thoughts into visualization it helps because you can see what it is that you need to work on. Then when it’s accomplished that feeling is amazing and now you are able to now feel that you can do anything you put your mind to. The mind is a powerful muscle, and we have to learn how to exercise it the proper way and take care of it so it can take care of us. So, whether you write or create images to help bring your thoughts to life, I encourage that.
5 . Don’t let other people’s fears or jealousy get in the way of your dreams. Having people in your life who discourage you rather than encourage you can be rather toxic. Those negative emotions can transfer over to you and stagnate the initial belief you had in yourself. Then here you go again ten steps behind because you let someone else dictate your life by the lack of their self-confidence. You were born for a bigger purpose not to just pay bills, watch TV and go make someone else successful, look in that mirror and dig deep to see that person (YOU) is capable of doing anything with hard work, dedication and determination. Now go out there and be great and most important BELIEVE that you are.
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
From my own experiences and seeing others, people are afraid of succeeding. They are unsure of what that may look like for them. People are so comfortable in their daily routines that they are unsure of how to even take that step into what could potentially change their lives. So, they self-criticize themselves because they are afraid of what the world is going to think of them. It is important that you get out of their head as you are only blocking your true blessings. You must know that life comes with many great opportunities, but it is all about allowing your true self to open those doors and taking that first step into them and life would also have a way of pushing you into it so don’t be afraid when it happens. It is a certain feeling everyone gets when it is happening, but many ignore it.
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
Oh yes there are a lot of misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in yourself and the main one is that people would think you are acting as if you’re too good or you think you are better than others. Ignore it and continue to grow. Those that think of you that way rather than support you or even get inspired are only feeling that way because they are afraid of growth themselves. In the process, you do have to change your mindset, your environment, your habits, and many other things that are not conducive to your growth. I currently work with kids now so everything I do will be a reflection on them, it doesn’t mean that you think you are better it just means you chose to do better. Keep in mind that you should not be the same person you were five years ago.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
My advice for those who are struggling with imposter syndrome would be to remember that you are achieving your goals for yourself. It is nice when the world thinks highly of you but again that self-reflection is important. You cannot be out here acting as if you are succeeding and deep down you are feeling like your back is against the world. Your mental health is important, and you have to figure out what is the root as to why you feel the way you do. There is no need to always feel as if you must always be on the top or do more than others. In life there is balance and if you are unable to find that, you are going to cause yourself some pain internally and mentally. Again, find out the root because we tend to always want to be a people pleaser for others and then we end up sabotaging ourselves.
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.
If I could inspire a movement, it would be to bring back arts into the schools. My eyes get teary just thinking about it. As a child, being in a home where abuse happened, school was my escape and if I didn’t have that opportunity to be expressive through arts then I don’t know where I would be right now. My goal is to be able to hire and have these workshops held by other amazing talented people in NY and beyond. This movement would bring out the best in my teachers and my students. I know, because I am proof on both sides. In addition, I want to include students who are on the Spectrum because sometimes they are looked over and I want to make sure they are seen in the same light as you and I “The GoodLook” movement is on the rise and you will see it happen.
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 🙂
If there was one person in the world, I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Mary J Blige. Mary and I have been through so many obstacles in life with being in an abusive relationship, drugs and then learning to find yourself and finally feeling good about who you are and what you’ve been through is what we both carry well. I recently met her sister Latonya and gave her a book with a personalized message to give Mary, but I haven’t gotten that call or inbox that I am waiting on like heyyyyyyy Kim, Mary would like to meet you lol. So yes, I am waiting patiently to have that moment with her. Let me just add that I am also manifesting that I can perform one of my pieces and open up for a quick 3 minutes on one of her shows.
How can our readers further follow your work online? Your readers can follow me on Fb @Kim Seabrook,
IG and TikTok @goodlookseabrook and my website www.goodlookseabrook.com
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.