Thank goodness you don’t actually have to believe in yourself to do things in the world. Frankly, I’d never get anything done if I had to believe in myself first.

I believe in a lot of things. I believe in the power of our intention, and I believe in feeling the fear and doing it anyway. But believing in myself? That’s a stretch.

My whole life, people, books and movies have told me that believing in yourself is an essential ingredient to moving forward. Geez, what are you supposed to do you do if you don’t believe?

What does “believing in myself” even mean? I believe in faeries, honestly, so you’d think I could decide to believe in myself, but I know how imperfect, thoughtless, and distracted I have been. And I’m supposed to believe in that?


What I do believe in are principles and purposes and community and love. And whatever they call me to do, I figure out a way to make it happen.

I believe in believing in what matters, not believing in myself.

How about you? What do you really believe in? What motivates you? What makes you mad?

We often experience adversity, or challenges, right smack in the heart of the areas that matter most to us. Has that happened to you? Sometimes these challenges make us mad and motivate us to do something about it. It means we care.

Experiencing challenges around what you care about actually makes sense. If it wasn’t important enough, you wouldn’t care about it, and therefore it wouldn’t be an adversity.

It would just be a thing that happened.

But when we care about something, we notice it and we notice the things around it.
We pay close attention to what is happening to it, how it is changing or what it needs next.

The challenges come in because we care and we are noticing everything about what matters to us most. So of course, this is exactly where we will see problems or experience hardship.

Some people try to eliminate caring as a way to eliminate hardship. This does not work out well. For anyone involved. At work or at home. Redirect rather than repress. Humans were made to care, so care about something else.

Choose to care about something that matters to you – anything – and work on that. Even if you don’t believe in yourself. Especially if you don’t believe in yourself.

Find what you care about and start believing in it.

You may not be good enough, but you’ll get things started. Or maybe you’ll learn and have more skills next time. Or maybe you’ll experience something even better. We just don’t know.

Instead of seeing it as uncertainty, put a positive spin on things and view the results as a surprise.

Doing it “right,” starts with doing it. And if trying to believe in yourself is stopping you from taking action, then believe in your purpose… the mission… the motivation that most calls to you…

Believe in whatever it is that you care deeply about.

Act on that because you believe in it. Then you have the opportunity to rise to the occasion.

Belief in oneself is not a prerequisite, but it may be an eventual result.

Let’s talk. I’d love to help you build new skills and strengthen your leadership to move forward the causes you care about. Find out how I can help you on the journey of a purpose-driven change maker.

Jessica Hartung

Jessica Hartung is a partner, coach, and guide for those leveling-up their personal professional leadership, their teams, and their communities to a better future.

Jessica has a passion for inspiring and preparing people to grow from their work to improve their lives. In 1998, she founded Integrated Work, a consulting firm that brings top-notch professional development to mission-driven leaders, while being a learning laboratory for innovative work practices.

Jessica provides self-directed professional development tools to leaders at all levels striving to create positive impact.

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