Practice courage. It will take courage to put all this together and then accept a new opportunity which will cause you to take the step of believing in yourself.

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 Michael Dow, RN, MS, MHA, MSM.

Michael Stephen Dow always had a love for science and the human body so for a third career, he used his GI bill to go through nursing school and graduated in August 2020. Michael has 5 college degrees and now works as a Registered Nurse at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Books he has authored have garnered many awards including best Children’s Education Series from Independent Press Award (Nurse Florence® children’s health book series). His company has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a ground-breaking children’s book series on mental health titled Nurse Dorothea.

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?

My mom is from the French Speaking area of Canada (Quebec) and my dad is from Alabama. They met by happenstance. My dad was working a lot, so I learned French as my first language from spending so much time with my mom. I unfortunately was not very well-prepared for kindergarten for English, so my mom and I watched a lot of Sesame Street, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Rogers to get my English up to speed. This was the first of many times in my life I was brought out of my comfort zone and had to grow. I was, at best, a mediocre student in High School and then dropped out of college because I felt I was wasting my parents’ money. I later went back and developed a laser focused attention on my studies and excelled. I like to joke that my punishment from the universe for dropping out of college and stressing my parents out was to get 5 college degrees. I was getting my second bachelor’s and planning for medical school and then the events of Sep 11, 2001 happened. I chose to change my career direction and put in an application to the US Air Force. Again, I was moved out of my comfort zone as evidenced by old friends saying that I was one of the most pacifist they knew. I served 8 years in the military.

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

For my current career as a Registered Nurse, my love of science and human physiology combined with my desire to help others was the impetus for going to nursing school. I had always heard that nursing school was very challenging and I love challenges. Everyone was right, nursing school is hard, but if you study hard, have good time management skills and have grit, then you can make it.

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 was doing my Med Surg clinicals in nursing school and was about to do my nursing assessment on one of my patients. The Doctor came in, so I left him alone with the patient to give him the priority. A little bit later, my clinical instructor asked me about my nursing assessment of that patient and explained what had happened. She was upset and explained we needed a nursing assessment early on the shift to know how the patient was. She said I could have stayed in the room with the Doctor and get information that way. Now, I do my best to get all my patient assessments completed early in the morning.

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

Our company has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production of the next book series focused on mental health for kids which is titled Nurse Dorothea. This is in homage to the legendary Dorothea Dix who advocated for humane treatment for the mentally ill in the 1800s ( We continue to produce a new Nurse Florence every 10 days. Nurse Florence is our series for kids addressing general science questions children may have about the body as well as disease topics. The idea is that if a member in the family gets a certain disease, they will buy that specific Nurse Florence book and read it as a family so that everyone’s health literacy will be raised ( The books are being translated into multiple languages and special editions are being created like Nurse Florence® for the Visually Impaired. We hope to improve the world’s health literacy levels so that more people can have confident discussion with their healthcare Provider. The series may also increase people’s wonder about the amazing workings of the human body.

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?

I see believing in yourself as an evolution of one’s personality. It is not something that most people wake up one day and say, “Today is the day that I’m going to believe in myself.” I think it is more important to learn to be human and then as you are being, the evolution process can take place so that believing in yourself is another chapter in life. I can see that many people build up much knowledge, skills, and abilities on the journey of Life and then believing in yourself is just a natural next step. Some people can take that step earlier in their life than others, but hopefully we all get to take that step in fullness. I have heard the saying, “Just believe in yourself. You can do it.” a lot in my life from people speaking to me and to others nearby. My path was one of adaptation, progress (sometimes very small steps), learning, and growing into the person that I am while keeping the good of my previous selves. We have previous selves as evidenced by the fact that many adults are very different from their teenage selves. As you get new opportunities to exercise new skills and grow in knowledge about yourself and your environment, you develop into your next chapter and are then able to help more people in their journey. My teenage years were somewhat turbulent with drinking alcohol and not caring about education. I had a religious experience when I was 18 years old which then started a new chapter in my life. I learned to love to read in that period and practice mindfulness. My time in the military was another chapter in my life where I was learning new skills. I experimented with writing my first book at the end of that chapter. I then was an Army Wounded Warrior Advocate for 8 years where I worked as a social worker and became an expert on resources for Veterans. Each chapter in my life was a place of growth and learning who I was. I am now in a new chapter in my life where I work as a Registered Nurse in the day (sometimes 60 hours a week at the hospital) and a book author at night working with 40+ illustrators. I did not get to where I am from repeating the daily mantra of “I believe in myself.” I just lived my life, did the best I could with each situation, and tried to maintain a grateful heart to the Universe for all that Our Father has given us. Believing in myself was just a natural next step for me.

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?

I would say the core of believing in yourself is about trusting in your decision-making skills which takes time and hindsight over years to see what you are capable of. Everyone has a set of capabilities. We are born like a rock that needs to be chiseled to discover the Michelangelo piece of Art that is us. Living life, doing different things, meeting new people and other things help us know ourselves so that we attempt to do things that are achievable and realistic. I know I’m not a very good illustrator so that is why I recruited many illustrators for my Nurse Florence® project. Know thyself. By experiencing new things, you’ll start to learn when you may be able to expertly adapt to and find your niche. I do not believe in the idea of believing strong enough will make something true. An example would be a person thinking, “If I believe strong enough that I can be the fastest runner in the world, then I will be.” Some people’s genetic makeup will allow them to achieve certain things that other people simply cannot. This shows the complexity of life and it is beautiful. We do not need to all be the same.

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

There were moments as a teenager that I felt lost, lonely, and incapable. Maybe this was the fertile ground for me to have my religious experience and be transformed. One part of my journey or chapter in life seemed to prepare me for the next one. I see my journey as onward and upward. Me not believing in myself may have helped me see myself as I truly was at that time when I accepted that reality. I desire to have keen observation and not believing in myself gave me the choice that either I accept I am not capable at that moment for whatever thing was presented to me or believe I can do some thing when I cannot which would bring me down an empty path with dissatisfaction. So, not believing in yourself may be a good thing for certain moments in your life.

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?

Becoming a children’s book author was the period in my life that I realized I would need to be confident in my abilities. I needed to recruit illustrators for my project and confidence inspires confidence. I am happy to report that a very high percentage of people that were interviewed in the hope that they would join Dow Creative Enterprises® actually joined. I was regularly praised for my passion in the project.

What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves?

1. Learn to know yourself. Learn new things to learn how you learn. Do new things to see what you like and have passion for. Learn what makes you angry, sad, happy, and ambivalent. How can you believe in yourself and if you don’t know what you are believing in?

2. Be open to new things. Try doing new things and meeting new people to see what your next chapter in Life may involve. Life seems to be a little bit like a tree. It grows relative to its environment. It needs water and nutrients from the soil, but also light which it will reach its leaves toward. Just like no two snowflakes are to be the same, it seems that no two trees of the same species will grow the same and look exactly alike. Randomness may be a factor, but mainly it’s just Life that causes the differences. Nature can be beautiful and letting yourself grow in happenstance may not be a bad thing although there may be external forces that we are unaware of that may be guiding our growth and deciding out next steps in our journey.

3. Learn not only about people and what they have done, but also about science and the basics of how our Universe works since our existence is built upon many layers of rules and possibilities. Learning about other people lets you see what is possible. Learning about scientific facts lets you understand what is guiding the world and what is possible.

4 . Find peace with just being. Mindfulness is a great place to start. Practice self-care. Keep a grateful heart. Learn kindness in the midst of anger (although sometimes it may be necessary to get angry).

5. Practice courage. It will take courage to put all this together and then accept a new opportunity which will cause you to take the step of believing in yourself.

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

First, examine the criticism and see if it is relevant and needed. If it is not, practice mindfulness to be aware of the moment and not be taken to past memories that may haunt you or to future speculative ideas that may never happen. You may also need to just become an observer to your thoughts and let them pass and not fight them. They may leave you alone once they don’t get any attention. If these tips don’t work, see a mental health therapist to try evidenced based practices like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. You may possibly need to see a Psychiatrist if all these things don’t work.

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

I already mentioned the main one which is believing in yourself is not a requirement to live an enjoyable life. It is something you grow. Don’t be hard on yourself for not believing in yourself if you don’t. Keep growing as a person and as you reflect on your life, you’ll look back and see at some point that it is time to believe in yourself.

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

The University of Warwick states “Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as frauds.” I think what I have suggested would help someone. Get to know yourself, be an observer of your thoughts, practice mindfulness and self-care, and see a therapist to learn Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

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 hope that the Nurse Florence® series will inspire a movement of global health promotion and literacy. It has already started with many book awards, many great reviews, translation into multiple languages, and many parents happy with the engaging and insightful text.

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 🙂

Anna Boden, Director of Captain Marvel

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Please consider contributing to the Kickstarter campaign for Nurse Dorothea at and find us

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.