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Clare Downham, Human Potential Catalyst - Clare Downham Coaching

Clare Downham, aka The Queen of Calm is A Human Potential Catalyst of Clare Downham Coaching and understands the role that self belief has played in their business journey so far. They took some time out to speak with The Industry Leaders about this powerful state of mind.

Firstly, can you give us a little bit of background about your business journey?

On 31st March 2015 I walked out of my job as a primary school headteacher and never went back. I was utterly burnt out and so sick that I did not work for a year. At the end of that year, I resigned (on April Fool's Day actually) with no idea what I would do next. A random email set me on the path to become a hypnotherapist. I call this my first accidental business. By autumn 2016, I was running my hypnotherapy business, attending a lot of networking events and listening to a lot of business and self-development talks. I started to pick up the idea that business people had to be motivated and hustling all the time. This started a cycle of self-development which became obsessive. I read lots of books, used tools and techniques and trawled around in the past a lot. I was on a self-development hamster wheel and did not know how to get off. I thought I had to keep doing all these things to get myself in the right state of mind to be successful in business. It was exhausting. In January 2020, I was introduced to a really simple understanding of how the mind works called, The 3 Principles. Over the following few months, I explored this extensively and started to notice that I felt a lot better; more motivated, more at peace, less bothered by life. It was also like that voice in my head (the inner critic) had been turned down. Self-belief became my natural state. In March 2020, my in-person hypnotherapy business was no more due to lockdown but by then I had seen so much and experienced such a transformation that I was actually grateful. I wanted to teach the 3 Principles and now I did not have to make that change myself, the universe had done it for me. I retrained to facilitate, teach and coach from the 3 Principles and I have never looked back. Now I call myself a human potential catalyst because I see that we all have infinite potential (like a diamond inside) which is only ever covered over by thought. I help people to see the part that thought plays in creating every aspect of their life (emotions and behaviour). This allows them to naturally turn away from the less useful thinking and reveal more of that diamond inside, their true potential.

What role has self-belief played in your journey as a business leader? How has it influenced your decision-making and overall success?

I think I see this in a very different way to how it is portrayed in the mainstream. I see self-belief as an innate quality in all humans. We just have to look at young children to see this. They are not concerned with self-belief; they just create and put what comes through them out into the world. As we grow up, we learn from the world around us and not everything we learn is helpful. This creates our thinking and that voice in our head which undermines us. We don't need more self-belief, we need less thinking that gets in the way of us doing things. I grew up in the 70s and 80s at a time when parenting was critical. I call it "treat 'em mean keep 'em keen parenting". The idea that criticism will help someone be better in the world. I grew up with a voice in my head which did not have a lot nice to say about me. I remember it always being there but it really ramped up when I started my business. It definitely got in the way of me putting myself out there in the beginning. But something in me was stronger; that innate self-belief. Every so often it would rise up and I would do something new or unexpected. I guess you might call that stepping outside my comfort zone (which of course we create with thought). Since learning the 3 Principles, I can honestly day that the undermining voice barely pipes up any more. As a result, I would say that I have rock solid self-belief. This means that I step into spaces and do things that I would not have been able to do in the past. I make decisions easily and am making great strides in my business. For me it is not the self-belief that is key in this but the fact that I no longer take that voice in my head so seriously.

Can you share a specific moment or challenge in your journey where your self-belief was tested? How did you overcome it and what did you learn from that experience?

This thing that comes to mind here is my daily lives on LinkedIn. For a long time, I did not do any live content at all. I cannot say that I felt afraid but I know that when I avoid things, it is fear that is stopping me moving forward. In summer 2020, something fell away and a part of the inner critic was silenced. I applied for live status on LinkedIn and was accepted. The first couple of times I went live I felt some trepidation but now it is just part of what I do. I go live every week a few times and have been doing that since August 2020 (almost 3 years). What I have noticed about this is that a lot of thinking about going live fell away. I don't have any now so my self-belief to do this is shining through.

How do you cultivate and maintain a mindset of self-belief amidst the inevitable ups and downs of life?

These days, I don't do anything apart from stay in the 3 Principles conversation (podcasts, audiobooks and occasional conversations). The 3 Principles is subtractive not additive so there is nothing to do. However, as you learn more, you naturally have less on your mind. In a quite mind, their is natural self-belief. We don't have to add self-belief in. We just have to have a different relationship with the thoughts which cover over our natural self-belief.

Are there any specific strategies or practices you follow to boost your self-confidence when facing uncertainties or setbacks in your business?

Not any more. I don't need to. Understanding the 3 Principles means that I am in a place of trusting my inner guidance most of the time. If I ever experience self-doubt, I know that is my mind playing tricks on me and, with awareness, that quickly falls away.

How do you handle self-doubt or negative self-talk that may arise as a business leader? Do you have any specific techniques for reframing negative thoughts?

I ignore it. There really is nothing else to do. The things is that I understand my internal lie-detector now. When I have an unhelpful thought (a lie about me), I feel that in my body; I feel stuck and tend to avoid doing things that my wisdom is guiding me towards. This is a wake-up call. A warning from my clever system. When I feel that way, I know it is time to allow my mind to settle, which I trust it will do best without my interference. I used to do ALL the tools and techniques but that does not make sense now that I see that it is only ever a noisy thought system which is covering over innate qualities life self-belief. Our psychological immune system has our backs and is always trying to get us back to calm. Most of the tools and techniques get in the way of that and that's why we have to keep doing them. I know I am perfect, whole and full of self-belief so there is nothing to do to get there.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle with self-belief? How can they start building a stronger sense of confidence and belief in themselves?

The most important thing is self-awareness. Notice how you feel when you have undermining thoughts. That's your amazing system letting you know about your state of mind in that moment. When you feel anxious, stressed-out and stuck, that is a gift; your internal lie detector letting you know you have unhelpful thinking. The other thing I find super helpful is knowing that your thoughts and feelings do not know what you are capable of. You don't have to feel a certain way to so things. It's all too easy to wait around to feel like doing things when actually we can do them now. Don't wait, move forward and take a small step every day.

Have you ever encountered external skepticism or negativity regarding your business ideas or decisions? How do you stay grounded in your self-belief despite external influences?

I have not experienced any external scepticism or negativity regarding my business ideas or decisions but for a long time, I thought I was doing business wrong. I looked outside of me for the right way to grow my business. When you are a coach, there are a lot of people who want to sell you their way to develop your business. It can be very noisy out there. Since learning the 3 Principles, I have noticed that my 'caring about what other people think' voice is virtually silent. I listen to what other people say, pick the bits I love and ignore the rest. I tend to trust my intuition on most things and this is making being in business much more fun. I spend more time in flow and have never been so creative and productive in my life.

Are there any books, podcasts, or people you'd recommend checking out for anyone who wants to change to a more self-confident and belief-rich mindset?

My podcast is called The Calm Cast and of course I recommend that. For anyone who wants to learn the 3 Principle which helps with everything, not just self-belief I love Under the Noise with Wynn Morgan and Kate Roberts

Finally, what are some practical tips or exercises you can recommend for entrepreneurs to strengthen their self-belief and mindset on a regular basis?

I quite literally recommend doing nothing except finding a teacher you love and learning The 3 Principles. I do think we have got this the wrong way round. We have everything we need inside and yet we spend all our time doing things out there to find what we want. Less really is more in the realm of revealing our true potential (ie NOT reaching for it because it isn't out there). The 3 Principles is subtractive, not additive so it moves us closer to who we really are the deeper we understand it.

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us here! Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?


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