Learn your strengths! When you know what you’re naturally good at you can build on these character traits and excel in whichever area you chose. Identifying and then building your strengths helps with resilience too. You can bounce back better from life’s inevitable curveballs when you know that you are capable and have resources that you can call upon and lean into.
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 Lindsay Guest.
Lindsay is a Certified Health Coach (IIN) and Positive Psychology Coach (PPCA).
Born in the UK, but living in Switzerland for 18 years, she knows the power and importance of building a supportive community, especially when faced with life’s tough challenges.
Her framework of healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mindset with positivity and strengths at the core is both simple and practical, leading to huge transformation.
She leads with her strengths of empathy, activator and communication to create a supportive, motivating environment from which her clients can flourish and fly!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Workplace Wellness projects here in Switzerland, where I use a combined approach of Health and Positive Psychology coaching. Using tools from the two practices helps people improve both physical and mental health. I specialize in Strength’s training for individual confidence and success, and team cohesion, communication, and productivity. I also bring in the Health Coaching aspect which looks at the importance of food, rest, and movement for our wellbeing.
I’ve had the opportunity to study and dive deeper into these subjects and see that so much of it comes down to simple, everyday actions — both physical and mental — which seem so obvious once you’ve had the time to learn about it. The participants in my sessions, however, are busy in other sectors, and often don’t have the time to dedicate to finding out how to improve their wellbeing. I love that through my sessions I can help fast-forward their wellness, by sharing simple, practical, realistic tips I’ve learned to eat better, think better and feel better.
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?
Self-belief feeds into our emotional and mental health, it’s a part of our wellbeing. Believing in yourself means living authentically and feeling happy with your decisions.
When you believe in yourself, you don’t prioritize others’ points of view or get swayed by other people’s opinions because of your own self-doubt. This doesn’t mean excluding any external advice or alternative thinking, but it means being able to be objective, to consider and learn from others’ ideas whilst still staying true to your own values and direction. All of this, even if not always easy, is very empowering.
If you believe in yourself and what you want and think you also learn to take responsibility for your own actions. And it means you are emboldened and encouraged when you achieve success.
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 yourself means you live in a hopeful way, seeing potential and possibilities in front of you. I think believing in yourself means being sure about your decisions and your opinions (or knowing you have the abilities to find out the answers you need to form them), feeling confident in your capabilities to achieve what you want. To me, it means living in accordance with my values and having the strength and courage to act in accordance with them. Believing in yourself is a mindset, and a positive mindset can be cultivated.
As far as art and creativity are concerned, then I think you can become a great artist if that’s what you truly want. Creativity comes in so many different forms so if it’s your dream, and you explore it and work on it daily, you will find an area to excel in. If you’re interested in art then there is probably something in your strengths profile and values that’s related to it, and if you’re willing to put in the work and follow your passion, you can become an artist.
Whether you can become a gold medal Olympian, I’m not sure, but I do think that you could become a top-class athlete if you believe you can do it, you’re passionate about it and then apply the right system to achieve your goal. This could involve using your individual strengths to find the best approach for success, being consistent and using a growth mindset to learn and improve from mistakes and areas of weakness.
From the strengths work on myself and for my clients, I see that generally our areas of ambition will be linked to our individual, natural talents, and our values. Looking at myself as an example, the areas and professional goals I have fall in with my areas of strength. Analytical and strategic themes do not feature within my top strengths, and accordingly, I’m not interested in becoming a chess master, or a top financial analyst for example. My mission instead is to connect with many people and share the tools that have been so transformational for me, and some of my leading strengths (from the CliftonStrengths themes) such as communication, empathy and activator would all indicate that I have the capability to achieve that.
Our strengths are our natural area of talent, where we have the most enjoyment and are energized by what we do. We’re most at ease, most capable and most productive when using our strengths, so I believe that any goals we have would be naturally linked to an area in which our natural capacities lie. Therefore, knowing you have innate positive character traits in certain areas can give you the belief that you can achieve your goal!
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?
Absolutely. And this is why I’m so motivated and driven to share what I’ve learned, so I can help others find their confidence and self-belief. Finding a method that has helped me upgrade my personal and professional life has been truly transformative, and it makes me smile so much to think about it. I feel incredibly grateful that the stepping stones I have taken have brought me in this direction.
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?
In my case, I found myself without a choice. I was in a situation where I had to pick myself up and foster a sense of self belief. Important decisions for myself and my children had to be made and I had to rely completely on myself. This was the point that I found Positive Psychology Coaching, which I did in order to improve my mindset and positivity, in the hope that it would help me out of the black hole I was in. It was after my separation when I had lost my family structure, home, and the imagined future that I placed so much importance and identity on.
I’m sure that my wellness training as a Health Coach stopped me from really hitting rock bottom, but it was still not enough, and I was struggling to stand up again. I needed a real change of mindset to take back control, feel hopeful again, steer and lead my new family of 3 emotionally and also accelerate my business.
Positive Psychology is the science of thriving and looking at what’s working instead of what needs fixing, and this is what initially attracted me to it. Within the various pillars of this science, which have all fostered different aspects of my wellbeing such as my values, achievement, positive emotions and relationships, the Strengths training gave me so much confidence, which was not an aspect I had considered or expected. The increase in my self-belief and sense of direction has been an outstanding benefit.
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 your strengths! When you know what you’re naturally good at you can build on these character traits and excel in whichever area you chose. Identifying and then building your strengths helps with resilience too. You can bounce back better from life’s inevitable curveballs when you know that you are capable and have resources that you can call upon and lean into.
For me, looking at past events where I’d been successful and energized and seeing that I was using my personal, leading strengths in those moments was so empowering. I know that I can rely on my natural character traits — which is also when I feel happiest and most at ease — to create results for myself.
2 . Affirmations. You probably won’t believe in them at the beginning but keep reading them every day and something will change. They help reprogram your mind, replacing negative thinking with positive and help you access new beliefs about yourself. At the start of my Positive Psychology Coaching, one of my colleagues had a personalised coaster made with an affirmation from our session. It’s turned out to be one of the most powerful gifts I’ve ever received! I keep it on my desk and read it several times a day. It motivates me and serves as a constant reminder of who I want to be. I read it to boost myself in those shaky moments.
3. Your people. So important!!! Surround yourself with cheerleaders. Treasure the words of encouragement and votes of confidence. Take screenshots of messages and keep them in a folder! Like with the affirmations, you may not believe the words of support and kindness from the people who believe in you at the time, but each little drop of belief will slowly fill your cup.
Spending time with people who are further ahead than you on the path you want to be on has helped me. Seeing the proof that what you want is possible is a great encouragement and belief-builder. If you don’t know anyone personally, you will find plenty of inspiring people to follow on social media.
4. Start small. (and read Atomic Habits by James Clear). “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” This book and Mel Robbins’ podcasts have been instrumental in building my belief in myself. You can become physically and mentally stronger, it just takes small actions each day. And consistency. So, find the people who will help keep you motivated. If they are not people within your community, look online. There are so many incredible people out there sharing personal growth lessons and tips.
Take becoming fitter, for example. Start doing 5 sit ups a day, or one set of stairs. Then you’ll start seeing the progress and. look… you can do it!! You have the proof that you can do something small, and you can keep building from there. You can change the narrative about yourself and create a new one.
5. Be patient and kind to yourself. If you’re struggling, instead of berating yourself for not being enough, or comparing yourself unfavorably to others, stop for a minute and tell yourself that you know you’re struggling/lost/sad and that it’s ok. Give yourself a hug and recognise that it’s a difficult moment. This was a fantastic suggestion from one of my amazing mentors. Then take a deep breath and take another step forward once you’re ready! It feels so much better to comfort myself rather than denying or minimizing my feelings.
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
Challenge the negative beliefs. There’s a great exercise on this that we use in Positive Psychology coaching and which, again, was something that really gave me a boost. It’s also a tool that I know I can come back to when the self-criticism pops back up. Is it really true that you can’t…… [insert your own weakness!] …? Do you have any proof that the truth is otherwise? If you go looking for evidence to the contrary, you’re bound to find some. Try it!
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
I think it depends how you look at it, or how you act with it. Believing strongly in yourself could come across as arrogance if you are dismissive of, rather than open to, other opinions. Instead, standing firmly but calmly by your decisions, being willing to learn and grow from mistakes and change your thinking if appropriate should put self-confidence in a purely positive light.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
Remember that everyone started from the beginning.
Learn your strengths and know that the combination is unique to you. Look at how you can use them to grow and achieve your goals.
Being passionate about what you’re doing and knowing your why, certainly goes some way to helping with imposter syndrome.
And sometimes, you just have to take a deep breath, face your fears, and put yourself out there.
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.
Add positive thinking to the school curriculum
This would create kind, confident children who feel good about themselves who will create a ripple effect for future generations of empowered, self-assured, and happy people.
Teaching simple techniques such as gratitude and affirmations, which can change negative thinking patterns, as well as positive self-talk and short meditations would be transformative. Real life skills that are so needed in today’s hectic world.
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 🙂
Only one?! This is a very hard choice. So many people I would love to have the opportunity to talk to!
But I am going with Mel Robbins. In the spirit of gratitude to say thank you to her for the amazing impact her podcasts have had on me, keeping me going and keeping me motivated, especially during the toughest times. To meet her and experience her energy, in person, would be incredible.
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.
Thank you so much!——————-