Are You Brave or Are You Confident?

“You don’t have to be a brave rider to be a confident rider. Brave does not equal confident.”

Heather Blitz told me this after helping me onto a squirrel-y horse who then proceeded to dump me. It changed my life.

It took a few days (and lowered adrenaline levels) to unpack what she ways saying to me. For most of my life I have been the brave rider. The kid over-mounted and growing timid, but it’s that horse or no horse. Riding the horse — or else– was what I was accustomed to.

And yet– here was Heather giving me an out to riding my own horse.

Elsewhere (especially if you’re in any personal development circles), boundaries are often discussed, whether they are with a family member, boss or friend. Seldom do we ever discuss boundaries with ourselves.

To move from a brave rider to a confident rider, I realized needed to start by telling myself no more often–

  • No, “things will probably be OK” is not a good enough reason to get on the horse (it never is)
  • No, “but I’m told to (or obligated to, in the case of a lesson)” is not a good enough reason to ride (when I get hurt, it’s almost always in those scenarios)
  • No, “but there is no one else” is not a reason to swing a leg over the saddle. (there are many options to get energy out and further training. Pick a different option.)

And I need to start saying YES to the right things–

  • YES the boundaries I sent with myself are valid
  • YES the expectations I have for my horse are worth upholding
  • YES, doing those things don’t make me less of a rider or horse person

I am still finding my way from brave to confident, but I CAN become a confident rider now, thanks to the distinction Heather drew for me.

Boundaries with ourselves are powerful agents for growing confidence in our own abilities. The more frequently we are able to keep the commitments we make to ourselves (even in the small things, like eating a leaf of lettuce at dinner), the greater our belief in our own abilities.

Our belief in ourselves grows over time from successfully upholding smaller commitments. For example, instead of making the commitment never to eat sugar again for as long as you live, start with something smaller. Say, instead of having your regular white chocolate mocha in the morning, decide to go for a plain ol’ boring latte.

What commitments do you need to make to yourself today?