Focus on what it important: you. Your pursuit of this new dream is self-expression. You don’t serve it; it serves you. Give yourself grace when things take more time. If you make a mistake, learn from the experience and shift accordingly. Every effort gets you closer to what works and, ultimately, your goal.
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 Stephanie Barca.
Stephanie Barca is in her element when advising and empowering others to find solutions with resourcefulness and creativity. After practicing law for over a decade, she began her pursuit of a Masters in Social Work, a transition sparked by a desire to serve her clients and community holistically. Stephanie is now an LMSW helping clients find their path to a more satisfying 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?
I spent my early childhood playing ball and collecting stray cats in Baxter, a small town in middle Tennessee. I loved to travel and still do. We went on a yearly family vacation, and I traveled to Gatlinburg in the mountains to compete with my speech team. On weekends at home, my siblings and I rarely missed TGIF.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
I became driven in high school, leading to a degree in Economics and a Juris Doctorate. I practiced law in different roles, agencies, and offices, and I enjoyed it. But I did not feel like it was the best fit for me.
Then, when my youngest son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I became acquainted with the different interventions and great people practicing in the helping professions. My Masters in Social Work became a way for me to learn more about my family’s experience and to help others experiencing transitions and challenges.
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 get lost in larger offices and hospitals, and once early on in my career I went to lead the wrong group. I jumped in excitedly and looked up to a crowd of confused faces. My colleague then appeared and directed me to the right room.
I said something like, “It’s your lucky day, I’m in the wrong place,” and got a laugh. It reminds you that people are generally understanding when the unexpected happens. When someone overreacts to your mistake, it is so rarely about you.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am always writing. I have a few children’s books in various stages of completeness, and I regularly contribute to our blog at Benjamin Holmes Counseling. As I find things that influence me, I have to share. Great ideas need to be shared and accessible.
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?
It is so important to believe in yourself. Doubt will throw you off track. Well-meaning people will give you discouraging advice, or your circumstances will contain barriers that pop up at the worst times. There are parts of our culture that benefit from fostering doubt and urge us to compare ourselves to others. Belief in yourself is crucial to achieve what is possible.
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 you can achieve a goal means a commitment to the process. You have this bold idea because of your life experience and perspective; it is meaningful because of who you are. You will do the work toward an authentic goal, and believing in yourself makes the journey joyful. Is that not already a success?
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?
There are still times when I let my self-esteem slip. When that happens, my decisions become more conservative, and my energy flags. Self-care breaks are necessary for the journey, and you cannot run at full speed indefinitely. However, if you are consistently choosing to rein in what is possible, it is time to consider your outlook.
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 explored other career paths before going back to college, and I constantly encountered a question: “Why don’t you want to be a lawyer?” I realized that once I decided on a new path, I would still have to answer to that dubiousness from others. I researched, studied the options, and studied myself and my reasons. That confidence keeps me going today.
What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.
1 . Remember your wins. You have a honed skill set, and remembering the times you excelled can help you find your strengths. It reminds you that you have done tough things before and can do it again.
2 . Find your why. There is a reason that you are considering a particular initiative. Your insight or experience will change whatever field you are considering, and it is a catalyst that only you can provide.
3 . Zoom out before you dive in. Introspection can bring out your inner critic, so take a wider look at the paths ahead and consider others who are where you want to be. Very few people have exceptional talents to explain their success. More often, it is belief in yourself that pushes you to your goal.
4 . Know your worth. Show the world — and yourself — that you know your value. Take care of your body to maintain needed energy, and speak lovingly to yourself using affirmations. Affirmations are like an umbrella that keeps self-doubt at bay.
5 . Focus on what it important: you. Your pursuit of this new dream is self-expression. You don’t serve it; it serves you. Give yourself grace when things take more time. If you make a mistake, learn from the experience and shift accordingly. Every effort gets you closer to what works and, ultimately, your goal.
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
Unhealthy comparisons are poison. Another person’s journey is instructive, maybe inspiring, but irrelevant beyond that. You are the one you are competing with. When you find yourself being critical, remember how far you have come and the wins you have had. A journal of wins and gratitude can help you find perspective more easily.
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
People can equate being self-confident with being arrogant, but belief in yourself does not imply superiority because it avoids comparisons. Others feel that sharing their ideas or accomplishments is self-centered. I would counter that supportive people want to celebrate your happiness and, if possible, help you achieve what you want. Share your plans with those you trust, and let your loved ones give you the gift of encouragement!
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
You are not trying to be someone else- you are trying to be you, but somewhere new. Trust in those placing you in new roles. They chose you; they may see something in you that you don’t yet.
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.
We all have influence: nurture positivity where you are. It is energy, and it matters.
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 🙂
Dolly Parton. I told my boys Grandma Dolly sent them a book when we’d get one from the Imagination Library. She has stepped into a new venture many times with no guarantee of success, and with style.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Follow @benjaminholmescounseling on Instagram for wellness inspiration and ideas.
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.