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The 7 Pillars of Self-Belief

Updated: Feb 6

  1. Push limits – we each have self-imposed current limits when it comes to the physical and mental. However, we are capable of much more. Practice staying within something that’s “uncomfortable” just a bit longer. This technique of stretching small moments of our current limits builds resilience and belief that we can handle more than we may have believed prior.  Stay within cold water just a bit longer. Meditate for extra minute. Run 100 more yards than the finish line. Hold an uncomfortable yoga pose an extra 30 seconds. Each time you do this is another “rep” for the mind to establish a new pattern and belief that there is more within you.

  2. Build a small habit – If you’ve always wanted to meditate start with something you know you can do every day (ex. 3 minutes) and do it without fail. If you want to become a runner start by just walking 10 minutes per day. It doesn’t matter what the small habit is just pick something – make it attainable – and commit to not miss a single day. If you do happen to miss however, don’t get angry and quit, but instead own it, and then get back to it the next day.  Sticking to routines and creating habits build a sense of accomplishment and self-trust. 

  3. Follow YOUR THING – “Your Thing” is the skill or ability that you have that makes you, you. We can always work on things that are not what we’re naturally good at, but don’t ever ignore the thing you’re gifted at. Enhance it, use it, go to it, spend time continuing to hone it. Often to find our groove in what we’re doing we need to first start with the thing that brings us the most ease and joy, and then build out from there. 

  4. Face your fears – Fear is almost always a thought prediction of the “what if”.  To combat this, openly (out loud) acknowledge what you’re fearful of – not reaching goals, losing, getting cut, mistakes, not playing, limited role, etc., etc. – by doing this you have accepted and identified the fear. This is an important step because now you can face it. Often just by being open about it the fear weakens a bit. Now choose what you’re going to do about it. Create a determined will to lean into it. It isn’t a must to succeed at the challenge, but it is a must to go at the fear. Take the shot, go for the role, take the appropriate risk. Self-trust is built in knowing that you’re willing to face the challenge in front of you. Fear isn’t inherently bad, but it does have a limiting impact if we don’t do reps of acknowledging it and pushing our capacity to not give into it. 

  5. Process your mistakes and then let go through acceptance – Holding on to past mistakes is rooted in our survival instinct. The brain’s design is it remember what it feels it needs protection from so that if we face something similar in the future it can prevent the bad thing from happening again. There is some effectiveness in this process (adaption/evolution), but unfortunately, holding on, can turn into replaying the “danger” over and over and often even more negative self-criticism can come from this. Practice the skill of acknowledge mistakes, but than accept that it has happened, you’ve learned from it, and now move forward. There is strength in the forgiveness that you’re human and therefore imperfect.

  6. Don’t turn over your power – If we allow someone else to give us our self-belief than they also have the power to take it away. Needing their validation, approval, or constant positive reinforcement creates a self-belief built from outside of you. Work on knowing who you are, what you value most at your core, how you’ve prepared, and what your greatest strengths are. Spending time daily to reflect on these and giving them your attention will begin to help you build your self-belief from the inside. When you have this self-understanding those you allow in to your inner-circle will be there because they are in alignment and support of what you’re about and can hold your accountable when you get off the path.

  7. Repeat “I trust myself” – In moments of questioning and doubt its effective to counter these thoughts by reminding that you can trust yourself. Self-talk matters, but it must be based in reality. The trust that you’re expressing to yourself isn’t that everything will go perfectly, but that you can trust yourself to be able to handle whatever does come your way. How do you know this? Because you’ve faced countless challenges already in your life/sport/career and you’re still standing today. You’ve already “handled” self-doubt moments and lived to talk about it. You can trust yourself to get through this present one as well.  This is a way of doing repetitions of pushing back against the doubt and reminding yourself of the capacity you have.

Big reminder – this is “simple but not easy”. I don’t think you’ll find any of this complicated to understand, but each pillar can be more challenging than it may sound. Have patience with yourself and the results, but also truly value being consistent. The mind is a pattern forming machine. At first any old patterns may work a bit against developing the self-belief “muscle”, but with repetitions it eventually will form the new pattern. Have faith in your intentional, proactive, and consistent reps.


Stuart Singer, M.Ed., and PsyD is the Director of WellPerformance, a Mental Performance Coaching and Consulting practice, and the creator of the DoSo app . For more information regarding this topic he can be contacted at or follow him on twitter @wellperformance, or instagram: wellperformance

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