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. 

Listen on iTunes

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.

Virtual Building the Best Leader Workshop For the first time, we are offering the Building the Best Leader Workshop virtually on July 28th-29th from 1:00-3:30 EST! If you lead a team, now is the time to elevate the way you lead Register Here.

Download the Leading Remote Teams Toolkit for free Here.

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.

Stephen Curry Says This Is the Secret to Career Success

Have you ever watched a pro-athlete play at the peak of their abilities and been completely amazed?

If you’ve ever seen Stephen Curry play basketball for the Golden State Warriors, I know that’s been the case. The six-time All-Star, three-time World Champion, and two-time MVP has changed the NBA with his shooting, dribbling, and passing abilities.  

But most people don’t know Curry wasn’t highly recruited out of high school. He was smaller than typical guards and his chances of making the NBA (as his father did 20 years prior) seemed slim.

Up against the odds, Curry challenged himself to perfect his skills and elevate the players around him. Curry has achieved a tremendous amount of success on and off the basketball court, but he never stops working on his craft.  On a recent episode of The Game, on Facebook Watch, he gave us insight into the one thing that set him up for success — something that can make a difference in all of our lives.

Curry said, “Whether we win another championship or not, I want to feel like I did everything I could to make that happen and not cheat the game.”

Don’t Cheat the Game

Whether you are a professional basketball player, a leader of a team, a small business owner, or a recent graduate, Curry’s advice is critical.  The minute you start taking short cuts is the minute you start cheating the game.

I was coaching a leader as a part of their leadership development program a few months ago, and she couldn’t understand why her employee engagement and the company culture was struggling. The business still had strong revenue, the drink fridges were always stocked, but she had lost some key employees to voluntary turnover.

After many coaching questions to get to the heart of the issue, she uncovered she had been taking shortcuts in some very important areas.  No longer was she having her weekly company-wide meetings, she had cut way back on the extra time she had been committing to developing employees, and she was allowing negative comments to go unchallenged (something she never used to do.)

She recommitted herself and decided to no longer take shortcuts and cheat the game of leadership. When she needed a break she decided to take them, but when she was working, she was on her game. In just a couple months the company culture had improved and performance was skyrocketing again.  

Want to build the best version of your professional self?  Want to be a great leader? Want to build a phenomenal business? Want to have a successful marriage? Don’t cheat the game of whatever your role is.

Here’s where it gets complicated: Even if you don’t cheat the game and you put in the perfect amount of work, you still aren’t guaranteed success. Depending on your industry or business, the likelihood that you fail is much higher than the likelihood you will be wildly successful.  But just like Stephen Curry, you will drastically improve the odds of being successful by doing everything you can to not cheat the game.

Does Your Leadership Team Need Development Help? Find out how LearnLoft helps growing organizations develop their leaders here.

Leadership Workshop Want to improve the performance of your team or business? Want to elevate the way you lead? Join me on June 25th in Charlotte, NC, for a Building the Best workshop. Learn more here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development 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 the author the upcoming book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Successand 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.