Turning Self-Doubt Into Positive Momentum

By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

Judi Holler, author of Fear Is My Homeboy, presented the keynote speech at HSMAI’s ROC 2019. Holler encourages people to embrace fear and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Members of HSMAI’s Rising Sales Leader Council discussed Holler’s ideas along with a similarly themed article by Rainesford Stauffer on a recent call, during which they shared what has helped them take risks, push past self-doubt, and identify their professional strengths and weaknesses. Here are key takeaways from their discussion:


  • “Each time I made those scary decisions, it made me more comfortable and more confident in myself in making the next scary decision. And I think that’s the process you need to go through. And that’s how you grow that self-confidence.”
  • “When you push yourself beyond what you think you can do, you learn that the little things will help you get through the bigger things. When you’re not believing in yourself and you’re having that self-doubt, you have to remember that someone put you in that position because they believe you can accomplish this.”
  • “It could be boring if you were never fearful. If you never felt intimidated, if you never felt that you were under-prepared, if you never felt that you were going to learn something from that meeting or that experience, you would absolutely be bored.”
  • “Sometimes, we’re the hardest critics of ourselves. So, what I started doing a while back was making like a of things that I think are good, whether it be with work or personal, and a bad list. And with those bad lists, I’d try three new solutions until I found out how to make my bad things good. That really put me outside my comfort zone, especially in work. I will say it’s so jarring to see that on paper and be honest with yourself like that, But it propelled me so much further, getting uncomfortable and being super-honest.”


  • “One of the best things that I learned from using those types of tests and finding out people’s strengths and weaknesses is play to those strengths. And that’s how I think you can really be successful as a leader. You knowing your own strength is good. What you do with your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and how you mesh that team together to work and get the job done quick, is what helps your team as a whole and helps you sell more. Once everybody understands their strengths, it really helps you get things done the right way.”
  • “When you start looking at your strengths and your weaknesses, you often focus on the weaknesses. But instead of saying, ‘How do I fix that?,’ really look at your strengths as well and look at what’s causing those instead of what’s causing your weaknesses. Focusing on how you accomplish your positives can also help you bring your weaknesses up.”
  • “What I love about a 360 assessment instead of some of the other strength assessments is that it gives you other people’s perceptions of what you are. And I believe in having outsight on how other people perceive you, not just how you personally think you are. I’ve been fortunate to have someone at work to help me with that, and I hope everybody at work has someone who can gut-check them and help with what you lose focus on.”


  • “At the end of the day, as long as I know I did everything I could, failure is not a problem. That means you tried. So, failure is a good thing.”
  • “We’re salespeople. If you really, truly embrace sales, then failing at a sale should roll off your back. It shouldn’t be that hard for us to try things and fail. That’s what we do every day. Every time we pick up the phone to call someone, we might not get a call back. You should have some pretty tough skin if you’re in sales.”
  • “Being in sales means getting rejected, which can suck, but it’s all a part of what we love. At least for me, the rejections become a challenge to do better, and it motivates me to get going.”
  • “We want to receive positive feedback, but I also think we need to get ourselves to a point where we can embrace negative feedback as well, because it’s often not completely negative, it’s just constructive feedback on a way that you can tailor yourself to be more successful.”

Categories: Sales
Insight Type: Articles