Remind yourself that everyone is human. The people you see at the top started at the bottom. This really hit me once I started meeting and being around highly successful people. You see they do not have some superpower, they just believed they could and never quit until they got to where they wanted to be.

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 Heckert.

Michael Heckert is a Professional Mixed Martial Artist & Owner of King Killers Apparel. He is highly motivated by success & helping others achieve their goals in fitness, business & life.

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?

Looking back on my childhood brings a huge smile to my face. Those were the days! I had a pretty typical childhood…School sports & playing outside with the neighborhood kids until the sun went down. Around the time I entered middle school (6th-8th grade) life started to get a lot more confusing & turbulent. My parents split up, as a kid that had a really negative effect on me mentally. It turned me into more of a shy, quiet kid. I gained weight & got bullied for a few years until I finally had enough. During 8th grade I joined the basketball team only for the purpose of knowing the coaches would make me run hoping I would lose weight. IT WORKED! That was my first “real” experience of setting a goal, making a plan & seeing it through. That summer I started training JiuJitsu & fell in love with it, never skipping a day of practice. JiuJitsu brought me back to being motivated, confident & hungry for success. I couldn’t even imagine where I would be had I not walked onto the mats that day!

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

My biggest inspiration has always been my grandpa. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up, id watch my grandpa work every single day, never complaining & showing us countless “Indian Tricks” which I consider as Life Hacks These Days! He owned his own construction company, Heckert Construction. His work ethic & attitude was always so positive. We would go to the Mall Deli, a local hot spot in my hometown (Pittsburg, KS) & I just remember people from all walks of life coming to say hi to him. He never missed a single one of my fights no matter what state it was in, he would be there cage side cheering me on. If I end up being half the man he is Ill be happy.

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?

As with most people striving for greatness in sports, business & life, mistakes are going to happen. One mistake I will never forget is underestimating the competition. In the world of competitive Mixed Martial Arts, you have to believe 100% that you can & will win…BUT, that confidence has to be built through hours of hard work in the training room. My 2nd cage fight, I was 18 years young, coming off a 40 second first round win & feeling invincible…That’s when I made the MISTAKE. 2 days before the fight, I get told my opponent pulled out, before they could even tell me about the new one I had already accepted. Come fight night, I finally decide to google the guy im fighting in about 30 minutes. 4–0, College Wrestler with multiple wins in amateur boxing. 30 Minutes later, I was in the fight of my life, hit turned out to be a competitive fight that I did lose, but had I done a little research & game planning, it would have been a different fight. Luckily, mistakes really are the best teachers & that taught me a painful & valuable life lesson I will never forget. After that I went on to win 7 fights in a row & win the BFC Lightweight Title at 18 years old.

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

Right now the project I’m most excited about is my Fighter Owned Apparel Brand Inspired By Combat Sports, King Killers Apparel! Fighting & fitness in general is a huge passion of mine & with King Killers Apparel, the goal is to fund my training camps & eventually be able to sponsor talented fighters to help pay for training expenses, traveling to the top training locations & help ease the burdens this sport can have on fighters financially.

I also plan to expand and create the “King Killers Academy” where you can access technique tutorials, Mindset & mentality coaching, connect with fighters, coaches & mentors to help take your career to a whole new level!

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?

There are so many positives that come from believing in yourself! First of all, believing in yourself is vital to living a happy & fulfilling life. Believing in yourself will help you stay positive and hopeful during difficult times, which will keep you working hard toward your dreams even when they seem impossible. One of my favorite sayings that really hit home with me is “Why would anyone believe in you if you do not believe in yourself?” And it is absolutely true!

Maybe the most important aspect of believing in yourself is it allows you to take advantage of opportunities that come your way.

There was a time not long ago when I allowed myself to fall off track with my fitness & health. The farther off track I got, the less I believed I could ever get back to where I was. My self-confidence was at rock bottom, l remember it got so bad I wouldn’t even answer phone calls due to thinking no one had anything good to say to me. I missed out on more opportunities in those 2 years than I could even imagine. After a while, I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror.

One day I decided that was not who I am, everytime that little voice tried to tell me I couldn’t do something, I made it a point to make sure I completed that task immediately. Whether that was as simple as answering a call or showing up to the gym to train regardless of how out of shape I let myself get.

That decision changed my life almost instantly. Going to the local MMA gym put me into a positive environment with people that had a similar goal. As I got back into shape, my confidence grew, and I was offered the job as the MMA coach, I took the job.

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?

In my opinion, believing in yourself means you are confident enough to try new things with the mindset you will be successful. When you believe in yourself, challenges look more like opportunities, if you fail, at least you tried & gave it your best. The end result is less important in my eyes than going through the process and sticking with it till you are finished.

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

Not long ago I lost all faith in myself. It happened during those two years of the pandemic, locked inside for months without the gym, friends, socializing & doing new things. Even once we got back to “normal” I was everything but. I turned down every invite, every opportunity, I felt frozen in my house. It was an insanely challenging time mentally for me, i wish it would have never happened but, it did.

Thankfully, by starting with small tasks, I slowly rebuilt my self-confidence, and day by day the faith in myself slowly started to return.

At what point did you realize that in order to get to the next level, it would be necessary to build up your belief in yourself? Can you share the story with us?

I think that point has come to me multiple times throughout my life and I am sure it will happen many more times. Believing in yourself is the ultimate growth hack. Without it, you won’t risk leaving a dead-end job for a better position due to the added responsibility.

A time I look back and think about when I really had to dig deep and find that self-belief is when I took the leap from fighting as an amateur to fighting as a professional. The amount of self-belief it takes to make that leap and sign the dotted line on your first professional fighting contract is MASSIVE! Once you go pro, there is no going back. I remember waking up every day telling myself in the mirror I deserve to be here, I have earned this through years of hard work and winning hard fights and no one can take that away from me. That’s when I realized how powerful believing in yourself can be when it comes to making massive life decisions.

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

1 . Remind yourself that everyone is human. The people you see at the top started at the bottom. This really hit me once I started meeting and being around highly successful people. You see they do not have some superpower, they just believed they could and never quit until they got to where they wanted to be.

2 . Start winning the small things and work up to the big things. As I’ve stated before, I have had to rebuild my self-belief from rock bottom a few times. Every single time, it started by finding small daily wins and building up from there!

3 . Force yourself to get out of your comfort zone. People are amazed at what they are capable of when they actually make an effort and try! This worked for me tremendously well when it came to getting back into shape after years of doing nothing good for my health. Forcing myself to get into the gym environment daily was a major part of getting myself back in a positive mindset even if I just went and walked a mile on the treadmill, I was still proving to myself I could do it.

4 . Cut out the negative people, places, and things in your life. I remember when I was stuck in a bad place for a while in my life and everyone around me was the exact same. Complaining about how life was so terrible, yet doing nothing to change it. The change I made was removing myself from that crowd and the negative aspects of life suddenly vanished. I realized they only were able to consume me due to the negativity I surrounded myself with.

5 . Get active in your community! Nothing feels better than helping or doing good for others. Sometimes the best thing for helping yourself is helping others. I like joining events like community open workouts, ocean clean-ups and local events to meet new people, make connections and help create an awesome environment for locals. Every time you do something to help others without expecting anything in return, you just feel good. It is hard to explain, but you’ll know what I mean once you get done!

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

When it comes to believing in yourself, Self-Sabotage is very real. Imposter syndrome has been one of my toughest opponents in life. The feeling that you don’t deserve to be where you are is not great. But that is why we have faith in ourselves! Having that self-belief is what will make you PROVE to yourself that you do belong and have earned the right to be happy and successful!

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

The biggest misconception about self-confidence in my eyes is that in some way it makes you “cocky” or that you “Have a big ego”. I have always believed that those who try to tone down your self-belief are people that you need to avoid. Being confident in yourself is something I admire in individuals. With so many camera phones and the potential of your failure being a viral video online, it takes a lot to attempt new things. I will admire the person who tries and failed 100x more than the person too scared to even try something they may fail at.

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

If you are a person who struggles with imposter syndrome, write down the top three reasons you deserve to be where you are at. Remind yourself of what it took to get where you are. Every challenge you’ve had to overcome, the work you’ve done, sacrifices made to get there. Read those reasons out loud every morning. Every week come up with another reason, before you know it you will have an entire book telling you why you are at where you are at.

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 glorifying success and personal happiness. Everywhere you look these days you see something negative. If I had the ability to replace those negative headlines with something positive, motivating or just a feel good story of the day, I believe it would make this world truly a better place. Think about the negative things we see, do they really impact our daily lives? I would guess for the majority that is a no. The only effect we get is the draining of positivity almost daily. That has to change

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 🙂

Oh man there are so many amazing people in this world. If I had the opportunity to meet anyone in the world, it would be the King of Self-Belief, Conor McGregor. Being a 2-time world champion Martial Artist & to do the things he has done is just mind-blowing to me. A sit down with that man would be legendary.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I would love to have you follow my journey through the crazy life of MMA & Entrepreneurship! You can follow me on Instagram @michaelheckert & stay updated with all the new things happening at King Killers Apparel!

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.