Why is gaining confidence so hard?

By October 13, 2019 No Comments
Why is gaining confidence so hard?

Why is gaining confidence so hard? #AskingForAFriend

Actually? I’m asking for myself. We’ve all suffered from imposter syndrome. Confidence ebbs and flows for me. But I’m finding, at the height of my career, that I’m lacking confidence in many aspects of my life.

Keep reading and I’ll tell you how a Diva’s temper tantrum threw me down this whole gaining confidence rabbit hole.

Do You, Diva

You may have seen in my past post about coaching that I started horseback riding a little over a year ago. In May, I became the proud owner of a 14-year-old quarter horse mare named Diva.
We’ve only been in our relationship for three months, and all along the way, she’s been testing me. Testing my leadership skills. Testing my confidence.

Horses are like kids. You let your guard down for one millisecond and BAM!

Well, last week Diva had an all-out meltdown. A true temper tantrum. And at her first little “hop” (let’s be honest, in my mind, it felt like a full-on old west cowboy horse rear) all my confidence flew out the window and she knew she had me. She kept hopping until I was a blubbering mess.

She won the battle. I had to dismount and my trainer hopped on — brimming with confidence of course — and made her do the work.

Diva tried one little hop, got reprimanded, reminded who was boss and went about her work.


I was so deflated. Finally, my trainers were really nice about it, but asked an ah-ha question, “what are you so scared of?

Dying aside? That really hit home for me.


My Nerves Get On My Nerves

You have to get really introspective with a question like that.

·        Why am I scared?

·        What am I scared of?

·        What’s making me anxious?

·        Which fears are preventing me from gaining confidence?

For one, I’m a nervous person. I’ve been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder (GAD). I tend to overthink and overwork things until my nerves get on my nerves and the cycle starts again.

I think this is probably one hindrance in gaining confidence. I’m too busy thinking about all of the bad things that can happen to focus on the good.

Like that Diva will rear up and run over me if she decides she wants to. Gaining confidence in a relationship with an 1100 pound animal is a unique experience.

But I feel like the same “what if’s” plague me professionally, too.

Cautious Confidence

I’m in a joyful marriage. I own a thriving business. I’ve landed more speaking gigs than ever this year. I’M MARK SCHAEFER’S CO-HOST ON THE MARKETING COMPANION, DAMMIT!

What am I so scared of? 

Trust me, I’ve been overthinking this. I’m scared to let people down. I fear failure. I’m scared that I still don’t know how to gain confidence as a near-forty-year-old with every reason to be confident.

And then there’s overconfidence. Don’t even get me started on how judgmental I am of the overconfident types.

Where’s the line between a humble brag and an all-out “all eyes on me” moment? I’m definitely scared to cross that!

I’m confident in myself. Mostly as a life partner and as a hard worker. But as a business owner, I have to rely on other people. And people are serious variables!

Ah-ha!! A lack of trust in others equals a lack of confidence in myself.

Profound, right? (It was for me, anyway!)

Gaining Confidence (And Building Trust)

My path to gaining confidence is learning to trust more. And that’s no easy thing. However, knowing is half the battle. So I feel good about it.

What does gaining confidence mean for you? Maybe something similar. Or perhaps, something drastically different.

In any case, dig deep and ask the hard questions.

Q: “What am I so scared of?”
A: “Trusting people (or horses!) and then having them let me down.”

Lastly, don’t let up on your quest for confidence.

Because as Katty Kay and Claire Shipman state it in The Confidence Code:

“Confidence is hard to define but easy to recognize. With it, you can take on the world; without it, you live stuck at the starting block of your potential.”

When my nerves take over I’ll just have to remind myself that if this is me at cautious confidence, imagine what I’ll be able to do with crazy confidence.

Yeehaw, y’all! Here’s to tackling the thousand-pound animal (real or proverbial) that is confidence.