How to Believe in Yourself in Order to Lead

Wooden chess pawn with king shadow

“Without self-belief, there is no leadership.”

In season 26 episode 4, John Eades covers the important topic of developing your self-belief. 

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Your self-belief is one of the most critical factors in determining how successful you will be in life. But don’t just take it from me. Some of the all-time greats in business and sports have shed some light on the importance of belief and confidence.

Quotes to Remember About Self-Belief

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

Henry Ford

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

Arthur Ashe

“To excel at the highest level—or any level, really—you need to believe in yourself, and hands down, one of the biggest contributors to my self-confidence has been private coaching.”

Stephen Curry

Confidence is the most important single factor in this game.

Jack Nicklaus

What is Belief?

Researchers have had a difficult time agreeing on a common definition of belief. To ensure we are on the same page, here is my favorite: A belief is nothing more than a reinforced pattern in your brain.

This is important because it shows that we aren’t born with beliefs; they are developed when certain things are reinforced and become a pattern in our brain. The reason this is such a big deal is that you can reprogram your brain to reinforce new patterns.

Bandura’s Theory

There has been some incredible work done in the last 50 years about self-belief and why it’s so important. has been leading the way. In a recent article, they detail the work of Dr. Albert Bandura and what came to be known as Bandura’s Theory.

Bandura’s theory states that self-efficacy is built on one’s beliefs in the likelihood of future success; those who believe they have the ability to influence the events of their lives have high self-efficacy, while those who feel they are not in control and have little to no impact on what will happen to them in the future have low self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977).”

The key here is you must own your beliefs.

How to Improve Your Self-Belief

Recognize Negative Thoughts.

We all have negative thoughts that pass through our heads. Instead of trying to ensure we never have them, the key is not to give them oxygen.   Simply recognize the thoughts for what they are and replace them with something better. This will allow positive beliefs to become a reinforced pattern in our brain instead of the negative ones.   

Challenge Yourself to Do Something You Have Never Done.

A coaching client I was working with is one of the highest achievers I have ever met, but she was struggling with belief during the pandemic. Instead of allowing this struggle to continue, I reminded her, nothing will grow belief more than achievement.  She loved this idea, so she challenged herself to do something outside of her comfort zone. 

Now only did she sign up for the Ultimate Leadership Academy, but she committed to making ten prospecting calls a day with a new attitude and a new script. It wasn’t until her fifth day that the challenge paid off. She closed one of her most significant accounts to date all because she challenged herself to achieve.

Embrace the Failure.

Since achievement improves belief, challenging yourself to do things you have never done will inevitably result in some degree of failure. While those failures hurt at the moment, “Failure is not final, failure is feedback.” 

Show you courage and determination to not allow those failures to make you quit. Instead turn them into to fuel to keep you learning and growing. Winston Churchhill famously said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”


Beliefs are nothing more than a reinforced pattern in your brain. To lead yourself and others, it requires a pattern of good thoughts being reinforced on an ongoing basis. One of my favorite strategies to help with this is a simple phrase you can say to yourself every morning, “I am built for this.” Give it a try each day, so it becomes a new pattern in your brain.

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About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company making virtual training easy and effective. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of  Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success and host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

With 1 Sentence John McCain Taught 3 Lessons For You to Remember About Leadership

There are those who speak about leadership and then, there are those who are leaders. John McCain is the latter. Surviving nearly six years as a Vietnam Prisoner of War, this great American hero went on to serve as Senator of Arizona. Despite his unsuccessful run for President in 2008, McCain’s achievements amounted to plenty.

On Saturday, August 26th, 2018, he lost his battle with Brain Cancer at the age of 81. McCain left us with copious amounts of insight, but for me, this quote holds the most weight:

“Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you, but is not defined by your existence alone.”

This is one of those loaded quotes that unless you unpack it doesn’t quite sink in or have the full effect. Here’s my interpretation that you may find applicable somewhere in your business.

Freedom shouldn’t be about just you.

Human beings are almost constantly chasing a feeling of liberation. By definition, liberate means, “to set (someone) free from a situation”. McCain knew quite a bit about being set free. During his time as a Prisoner of War in the Hanoi Prison, he was offered unconditional release a year into his stay. This he refused. His reasoning? He didn’t want to jump ahead of his fellow soldiers who had been imprisoned longer.

By today’s standards, McCain would likely have been chastised for seemingly passing on the opportunity to return home. Despite this, I’d venture to guess that he wouldn’t have cared what others were thinking. No matter where you’re at in your career, whether it be running a billion dollar startup or dreaming of your next big idea, don’t ignore this example. Make sure the freedom you desire isn’t focused on you sitting on a beach by yourself.

Fight for a cause bigger than yourself.

It wasn’t because McCain acted inherently against the grain that he was given the nickname of “Maverick”. It was due to the lack of importance he placed on which side of the political aisle someone sat on. His driving force was always doing what was right for the American people. This was McCain’s true cause.

Had his sights not been set on making the United States a better place to live, McCain inevitably would have lost momentum. Fighting for something bigger than yourself and more impact than the monetary, as McCain did, will keep you grounded in your mission. Connect to consumers through your business and hang onto the reason why they need your products or services. In being able to do so, you’ll find that your business improves.

Don’t let your job define you.

While it would have been easy for McCain to return from war and settle into famous oblivion, this decorated veteran chose the opposing route. He didn’t want to hide behind his Silver Star, two Legion of Merits, Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Star Medals, two Purple Hearts, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals or Prisoner of War Medal. McCain made the decision to be defined by the kind of man, husband, father, grandfather, and friend he was rather than his job.

This doesn’t mean McCain didn’t do all that he could to become President of the United States. He did, however, maintain who he was at his core instead of letting his dreams and goals consume him.

As many of us know, pouring your heart and soul into a job in order to win in today’s ultra-competitive business world is a near necessity to be successful. Maintain the mentality that regardless if you win or lose in the workplace, you’ll be able to go home at night knowing you demonstrated strong character.

A version of this article originally appeared on

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a full-service organizational health company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training John is also a sought after speaker for companies and conferences. He hosts the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. He is also the author of FML: Standing Out and Being a Leader and the upcoming book “The Welder Leader.” You follow him on instagram @johngeades.

Top 5 Tuesday 3.8.16

Here is your weekly dose of Top 5 Tuesday: A list of things we are thinking, reading, watching, or doing to stay on top of our game and we think you should too:

Articles Worth Reading 

The skills gap at work…that no one is talking about

Ryan Holmes the CEO of Hootsuite says the contemporary workforce is woefully underprepared for the challenges ahead. A social media skills gap of epic proportions has opened up, as social media races ahead while formal training and education programs lag seriously behind.

Quotes Engrained in Our Minds

“A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new”- Albert Einstein

What Podcast We’re Listening To

The Vertical Podcast with host JJ Reddick and guest Kyle Korver 

Ever wondered what two of the best shooters in the NBA talk about when they get together on a podcast?  We really didn’t either until we listened and loved it.  Great listen for anyone with kids who might one day want to play the game.

What We’re Watching

Gary Vaynerchuck and Seth Godin drop serious knowledge about modern marketing techniques and how everyone can add value.  It’s fantastic.

Tip of the Week 

Whats the most popular app we use every week? Yahoo App.  We are suckers for opening the Yahoo app on our phones and getting sucked into the “news”

Please let us know if there are suggestions for articles, quotes, shows, or tools we should highlight. Tweet us at @johngeades or@learn_loft.

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Top 5 Tuesday 2.23.16

Here is your weekly dose of Top 5 Tuesday: A list of things we are thinking, reading, watching, or doing to stay on top of our game and we think you should too:

Articles Worth Reading 

3 Ways to Keep Millennials From Leaving Your Organization

Ryan Jenkins, Millennial expert says, 66% of Millennials expect to leave their organization by the end of 2020. He highlights keys to keep Millennials from leaving your organization so that the next generation of leaders can rise.

Quotes Engrained in Our Minds

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” –Christopher Columbus

What Podcast We’re Listening To

The One and Only – Dan Millman Interview Learn the 4 Purposes of Life

Dan Millman best known for his book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior shares insight on how to be authentic and fulfilled human.

What We’re Watching

Margie Warrell gave us a powerful 2 minute clip sharing what fear does to us as human beings.  Great insight by Margie.

Tip of the Week 

Whats the most popular app we use every week? Starbucks App.  Why wouldn’t you want by-pass the long line and pick up your White Chocolate Mocha with ease?

Please let us know if there are suggestions for articles, quotes, shows, or tools we should highlight. Tweet us at @johngeades or@learn_loft.

For more great insight:

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