Self-Doubt to Self-Belief: Finding your way through a maze of doubt and reaching for the stars

By Shirin Tahmasebi

From cutting men’s hair in the middle of Liverpool to becoming a coach for self-belief and confidence, Jan Ockendon joined us to talk about her struggles with her own self confidence and a new coaching programme she is due to release this year.

With heaps of self-doubt going through her mind, the qualified psychodynamic therapist mum of four, thrives in the world of mental health as she fought her way up through her own struggles, to creating a programme to help others with theirs.

However, since the dreaded pandemic hit the world in early 2020, eager not to have someone else’s ‘targets and expectations’ on her back, Jan came to the realisation that her ideal work involved her being her own boss and so began to set up her own business, whilst working full time.

“I’m in the process of launching at the moment. I think working from home in the pandemic finally made me realise this is what I want. To work from home but as my own boss and not have someone else’s targets and expectations”

Jan told us while discussing her plans for her future launch of ‘Self-Doubt to Self-Belief’.

The start of self doubt

Jan has tackled many different types of jobs; one being working and riding horses. However, it seems a common theme that stuck with Jan throughout her working life, was that she was never good enough to pursue these as life careers. When talking about her time with horses, she told us:

“I know that I was a good rider, I know I had a really good seat, but I was so lacking in confidence, so I never did anything with it.”

This lack of confidence carried through into Jan’s eventual ascent into her mental health career.

Mum Doubt

When delivering her first baby, Jan experienced her first feelings of self-doubt as a new mum. Back in the 90’s, they had a group of professionals walk around the hospital, making decisions on which care would best fit each patient.

It is here where Jan was so cold-heartedly told she was a “failure”.

“I lay in that bed, very sore because I’d had a caesarean, then a baby who was not feeding and then when she didn’t feed, she would scream because she had bellyache, because they were stuffing me full of antibiotics. All I heard from the midwives was ‘Caesarean section, because she failed to dilate’.”

This left Jan with an overwhelming sense of defeat, right after she had gone through a tough time in delivering her baby girl.

“They often talked like that and it fired me up.

I thought, do you know what, it’s no wonder that women go home and get post natal depression and think that they’ve they’re failures because they’ve had a c section, or because they’ve had to have a forceps delivery.

Because that’s how we’re talking about them.

Dynamically that’s going to transfer into that woman’s head. It’s bit like manifesting. That was what started my self doubt as a mother”

However, Jan pushed through the doubt and continued her work as a nurse, but soon took an easy five years out of working as a nurse when her second child was born, but became a childminder during this period.

Finding her way

After the five years, Jan decided to return back to her job as a nurse and was back to working with a mental health service again, before settling down in primary care.

“I wanted to be in primary care. I wanted to work in a sector where I felt I could make a big difference. Particularly to people who self-doubt.”

Jan’s journey for her dream occupation working with people who suffer with self-doubt began as she was determined to not ‘do anything by halves’ and went straight for the top, Tavistock Clinic based in North London, to do her training.

“Eventually I did my degree. I managed to get a 2-1. Then I could go on and do a master’s level course and that’s where I got into therapy. I trained and did a foundation course in that, and I never do anything by halves, so I had to work at Tavistock Clinic.”

Despite the pass marks for the Tavistock test being significantly high, Jan managed to secure a spot on a training course with the clinic and start the process of qualifying as the psychodynamic personal therapist she is today.

Being a therapist is enough for her, but she wished she could experience the more ‘in depth’ areas of therapy, as she believes the sixteen sessions patients are given isn’t enough.

“It doesn’t go into that real in-depth stuff that I really like.

A slow getting to know somebody; getting to know how they think, being able to think about why this is affecting me the way it is and if it’s affected me like this, does that mean something about the patient.

You can do a bit of that but it’s not as extreme, just not as meaty, I suppose”

Nonetheless, the restrictions at her workplace didn’t stop Jan from getting those ‘meaty’ sessions with patients.

Though the pandemic has been a real struggle for some, Jan thrived during her time off from work as she has begun to branch out on her own, letting go of her own limiting beliefs as well as helping others with theirs.

Becoming her own boss

During lockdown, Jan started to complete a coaching course, this opened up a world of creation for her and who is now creating her own belief programme so that she can help other women let go of their own negative beliefs.

The programme is to last eight weeks for each individual that joins.

Branching out on her own has not only made time for Jan to kickstart her own business but to also work on her social media skills. She now runs her own blog in which she never thought she would do due to her self-doubt problems.

“It’s also allowed me to set up my own instagram, my website and do blogs on my website.

I would never have done that before, I would never have written blogs because I would have thought, who wants to listen to what I’ve got to say? What can I say that nobody else can say?”

Jan discussed the plans for her programme with us. It looks at how doubt starts in our minds and how identifying what is ‘poking’ these feelings into action and then separating said thoughts and feelings and how the voice in your head often pulls you down. In Jan’s words:

“I want to ask lots of questions; what does this mean to you, how it has affected you, how can we change that. What would it be like to be different? What are you looking forward to about being different? How’s it limiting your life? And what would it be like to change that? 

Getting people to imagine sitting in that different belief and then rewriting the story and saying okay well this is what I want to believe so.

Not, I am going to believe it just because I want to, but how do I get there.”

In due course, Jan hopes to help people either eliminate those feelings or at least start the process of getting rid of them.

The feedback she has received since putting herself out there has been phenomenal, her audience are as excited as we are to start Jan’s programme. It took the twenty-nine years after her daughter was born for Jan to start feeling more confident in herself, but she is now blooming in the world of social media, as her own boss.

Thank you Jan for sharing your wonderful and inspiring story with us.

If you would like to find out more or see when Jan is to release her programme follow her on Facebook and Instagram below.



Or visit her website:

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