“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius
This implies that fears hold us back from having and showing the confidence that would otherwise be ours.Questioning our confidence is quite normal, particularly when we are attempting something we haven’t tried before. I can recall the first time I competed in golf
tournaments, the first time I coached; there were plenty of doubts…at times they are still there. Certainly having a greater level of confidence would have been handy at the time but the important thing is that didn’t stop me from pursuing those activities.Confidence is having a level of certainty that you are capable of achieving whatever it is that you set out to do
What holds you back? Causes of low self-confidence:
Excessive expectations: if you are looking to make a small step forward -reducing your handicap by one or two strokes-then you are likely to be quite confident that you can achieve that. If you are looking to make a massive leap, then there will almost certainly be doubts. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set big targets, it just means that you need a strategy to work through those initial doubts.
A great way to do this is to create stepping stone targets, ones that you acknowledge you either have, or soon will have the ability to achieve. As you begin achieving these small-step milestones then the bigger objective doesn’t seem so distant any more.
Lack of skills: the solution here is clear; you need to develop the necessary skills to achieve your goals. In golf, that means learning to play different shots, improving your technique for those shots and practicing them.
Lack of experience: the only way to gain this is to actually step into those situations that are uncomfortable. This means both practicing and competing under pressure. With experience your skill levels will get higher, your scores lower and your confidence will improve. While having excessive expectations, a lack of experience and lack of skills can be developed. There are two more causes of low self-confidence that effect even the best athletes. They are the ones that everyone needs to be vigilant about.
Being preoccupied with fear: fears and doubts can cause you to sharpen focus and help keep you on track. When they are excessive, they can slow, stop and even reverse progress. Most fears are irrational, meaning we have made them up; their basis is in emotion rather than logic.
Critical self judgement: we tend to attract to ourselves the thing that we give the most time and emotional energy to. Most people are slow to acknowledge their strengths and achievements, but very quick to acknowledge weaknesses and errors. What do you invest the greatest amount of emotional energy in? Your strengths? Most people rarely stop to acknowledge themselves and their achievements on a regular basis.
At the end of each day and after each round of golf list a minimum of three things you want to acknowledge yourself for. You will be surprised to find that the list soon grows very long. What a great source of confidence! Most people seem to have this expectation that they will wait until they are confident before doing something that requires confidence. What a great way to stop doing anything! Key to building confidence is that you must first do the things that will build confidence in order to achieve it. This means being prepared to step out of your comfort zone and do the things that you may not like doing, but know will bring massive benefits to you.
What’s your first step?