Surround yourself with these believers those positive vibes people. These people encourage growth. Positive energy is contagious. Unfortunately, so is negative energy. Start to decrease the time and energy you put into the negative things and people in your life. This will only open up space on your calendar for all those positive vibes.
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 Victoria Clark.
Victoria Clark helps young professionals identify and reach goals that will truly make them happy, Victoria is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Coach, Blogger, Founding Owner and CEO of Inherent Strength, Next Generation Counseling & Coaching, Wife, and Mother. She has been featured in numerous media and news outlets, including Forbes. Victoria started her career in the community working with lower income families and was a Director in Corporate America before leaving the 9 to 5 grind behind to follow her dream of helping others do the same.
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 family was pretty small growing up. It was really just my mother, sister, and me. Because of this we had a very close family, but maybe a little too enmeshed at times. My sister had children pretty young, which at the time seemed a little crazy to me. But as time went on and we all continued to grow together I realized our small family wasn’t that small anymore. As I continue to get older I am beyond grateful for every member of our small, but growing family. No family is perfect and we definitely have some flaws, but through it all the love is strong. Both the flaws and love within our family inspired me to help others create and live a life that may not be perfect, but will be “perfect” for them.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
I decided to start Inherent Strength after I found myself feeling weighed down by the things in my life and mind that didn’t make me happy, from working long hours, being inactive, and not finding the time or the ability to do the things that I enjoyed. Spending time with loved ones, family, friends, our pets (#prouddogmom), and taking care of ourselves are just a few of the things that, in today’s busy world, we can’t seem to find time for, yet these are also things that we work so hard for.
Being a mother has changed my perspective on quite a few things or at least broadened it, and I’ve definitely gained a new respect for moms. What hasn’t changed is my desire to help others create and live a life they love, including myself and now my daughter. With everything in our face constantly these days, it’s easy to forget (guilty!) that we have control of who we are, who we surround ourselves with, and what we do in our lives every single day.
This is the exact reason I started Inherent Strength, creating digital goals products and providing counseling and coaching services. I wanted to help young professionals not only identify goals that will truly make them happy, but help them create a realistic plan to achieve those goals. Through a collaborative coaching therapy process a roadmap is created to identify and break through barriers and identify and achieve goals, ultimately helping others to create and live a life of their dreams.
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?
It didn’t seem very funny at the time, but I thought that the second I made my website live the people would rush in. I spent money I didn’t have into setting up a fancy office, website, etc. before I had one client. It was a slow start up process that didn’t pay the rent. Looking back I can laugh and just ask myself, “what was I thinking?!”, but it was definitely a good lesson. I had to rethink everything. It took awhile and it was really hard at times, but after I started to practice what I preached and created a realistic plan of small attainable action steps to actively work towards my bigger goals, I was able to get there. I still have much bigger dreams of growth that I actively work on everyday, but I can say I am creating and living a life I love and only dreamt of when all of this started.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Currently, I’m working on an online course for goal setting towards creating a life you love.
Goal setting is a huge part of finding alignment and happiness in life. By understanding what we value most, where we are in life RIGHT NOW and where we want to go, we can then start to define what our next steps are in order to bridge that gap and finally get to where we want to be.
The reality is that over 90% of people abandon their goals just a couple weeks after creating them. My course is all about creating balance and alignment in life. So people can expect to start diving in and organizing their goals for every area of their life, ultimately creating a life they love.
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?
Research actually shows us that if you take two people, one with all of the knowledge, talent, and abilities and another who does not have all of that…YET, but they have a strong belief in themselves, they will ultimately do better. What this tells us is that it really is all about mindset. Cultivating a strong belief in ourselves is the first and most important thing.
Starting something new for most people is scary. Those who don’t appear to be scared to step out of their comfort zone are likely one of two things. 1. Lying or 2. Believe strongly in themselves and their abilities.
We all know that one person who is confident and seems to accomplish everything they set out to do. This person has a strong belief in themself. They are usually pretty high energy, giving off major positivity vibes vs. any sort of jealous or judgmental ones.
A strong belief in yourself is crucial to achieve your goals. Despite what’s portrayed on social media, the majority of us struggle in this area. Luckily, there are some pretty simple ways to start gaining a stronger belief in yourself.
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?
We do have to be somewhat realistic with our goals despite the level of belief in ourselves. We can learn and thrive in many more areas than we think. But we have to walk before we can run. Along with setting those big 5/10 year goals, we have to ensure we are breaking those goals down into monthly, weekly, and even daily goals. Then creating action steps that will help us hit all of our little milestones along the way. These little wins will help us to really see our abilities and who knows maybe we’re more talented and athletic than we ever realized.
Eventhough, I just said to be realistic, we can’t be afraid to set big goals for ourselves. It is however important to ensure that we are creating a realistic plan to get there. Specifically, identifying all the little steps along the way. But don’t forget to celebrate every win no matter how small as this is what will motivate you to keep going.
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?
When I started my company, I did all of the things I thought I needed to do to look the part. Spending money I didn’t have to create the look of a business that was fully developed and thriving. The problem was, it wasn’t. I had just started out with a plan to fake it until I made it. Unfortunately or fortunately, that didn’t work.
I knew that I had to really ask myself who I was and why I was doing this. Not only did I need to answer these questions for myself, but I also needed to answer them for my future clients. It took some growing pains and straight up being uncomfortable, getting outside of my comfort zone, and being open and real about who and what I was. But once I did that I was able to start believing in myself more than I ever knew I could.
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 realized this pretty quickly, but unfortunately realization is often not enough. We usually need to learn from our own mistakes. Starting a company with the idea of faking it until you make it isn’t a good plan, but it was mine whether I acknowledged it or not. Once I was able to be real with myself and others about who and what I was and who and what I was not, I was able to grow in areas of strength and drop some dead weight. Growth in my self-belief was one of the areas that I was able to actively work on once I started to practice what I preached along with following some of my strategies for increasing self-belief.
What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.
1 . Surround yourself with these believers those positive vibes people. These people encourage growth. Positive energy is contagious. Unfortunately, so is negative energy. Start to decrease the time and energy you put into the negative things and people in your life. This will only open up space on your calendar for all those positive vibes.
2 . Identify your Strengths. Allow yourself to identify and appreciate your unique talents, abilities, and strengths. As humans, we’re really good at finding our faults, but struggle to see our awesomeness. Also as humans we can easily find perfection in everyone, but ourselves. The good news, we can use this to our advantage. Ask those who love you and see all of your awesomeness to tell you exactly what they love about you.
3 . Share with others. Give back by sharing what you learn along the way with others. This allows you to be the positive person that others want to surround themselves with. Once you have a strong belief in yourself this one does become a little easier. When you start sharing your strengths with others you can then see your immense value in someone else’s eyes and your self-belief will naturally grow.
4 . Set Goals to Improve Your Self-Belief.
Using your inherent strengths as a resource to help you grow is a great way to cultivate a strong belief in yourself.
Identifying positive aspects of ourselves, specifically our strengths, helps us to work towards accepting who we are in the moment, while acknowledging who and what we want to become.
This encourages us to accept ourselves even when we are not exactly where we want to be. Enabling us to acknowledge that we might not be exactly where, who, or what we want to become yet. While still strongly believing in who we are right now, our current abilities, and our ability to grow. This allows us to both accept ourselves and be open to growth.
Identifying a goal alone is not enough. We must first dig deep to identify our strengths, uncover what makes us truly happy, and what areas of our life we want to grow in.
5 . Self-Love. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. This will come easier and easier along the way. As your self-belief grows so will your self-value. Helping you to acknowledge that you deserve rest, peace, and a little you time. Enjoying the process along the way is crucial to stay motivated to keep going.
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
It’s actually biological to find fault. Back in prehistoric times this would help us to seek out danger and then in comes our fight or flight responses. I point that out to say that we are not alone in doing this, it’s human nature. That said, we have to actively work to rewire our brains.
A good way to stop self-criticism in its tracks is to face it head on. Acknowledge the negative thought and ask yourself is this true? If it is, how can you change it? If it isn’t, acknowledge that it is not true and say out loud what is true.
-Negative Thought: I’m a failure.
-Is this true?: No, I may have not succeeded at everything I’ve tried, but I’ve succeeded at A, B, and C.
-True statement: I am not a failure, I have succeeded in numerous areas and am more than capable of succeeding in others.
Therapist note: These are cognitive distortions. By identifying the distortion and correcting it we can re-wire our brains to do this on it’s own.
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
Yes!!! Unfortunately, self-confidence and even self-belief can have a negative connotation. These things can be viewed as arrogant, selfish, or even judgmental of others. True self-confidence is actually the exact opposite. When someone is truly confident in themselves there’s no room for arrogance, jealousy, or selfishness. These people have too many good things going for themselves to give any time or energy towards these negative things. You’ll often find a truly self-confident person helping others, especially those around them as they know the secret to a good life is being surrounded by positive people that want to improve themselves and eventually help others in return.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
Following the steps I listed to learn self-belief is actually a great start to defeating imposter syndrome. Realizing that it’s not just you, that even the most influential, talented people out there struggle in this area. Talking to others who struggle with imposter syndrome can help someone not feel alone.
Identifying strengths and achievements is another way to overcome imposter syndrome. By acknowledging facts of what you have accomplished helps you to look imposter syndrome directly in the eyes and say “You are Lying!”
Last, but not least when setting goals for the future ensure that the goal is not perfection, but fulfillment. “Perfection” alone does not exist, but “perfection for you” is attainable.
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.
Essentially, just less. Less of everything. One of my biggest personal stressors is the idea that you have to be constantly present, especially on social media. Normalizing not putting every second of our lives on social media would be a great start.
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 🙂
Rachel Hollis! Not only does she manage to be an amazing wife and mother she thrives in every area of her life including business. She’s beyond real about it all and has truly created a “perfect” life for her.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Although I am “pretty active” on social media, signing up for my email list is the best way to follow my work. I share my blog, products, and information that I don’t share anywhere else. (I won’t spam you I promise!)
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.