Telling your storiesfrom the stables to the fields

18 January,2018

How confidence is just another muscle

Muscles begin to lose their strength with surprising speed once they are no longer being used. Equally, it is possible to strengthen muscles with consistent training and following a suitable regime. Muscles and fitness give you a clear feedback of the amount of effort that you put in, being directly related to the quality of results you get out. I trained myself from being unable to run down the road, to being able to run a half marathon, simply by increasing my mileage gradually and consistently. I am not saying that if I apply the same logic to confidence I would be able to go from jumping a cross pole to flying round Badminton, but I believe there is some possible correlation.

We tend to assume that other people find things easy, so we assume that the man running cheerfully down the road can just do that, just as we assume that the person effortlessly jumping 6ft can just do that. It is true that people have an aptitude towards things, but aptitude is no substitute for perseverance. I’m reminded of the brilliant image of the iceberg with success above the waterline, and all the emotions and traits that took us to success below the waterline, out of sight.

We see the success others portray but we don’t see the hard work, the tears, the early mornings, the crisis of confidence. We forget that they have worked to get there, no matter no acute their aptitude. The same applies to confidence. We tend to look at others and believe that they just have confidence. But that rider jumping a graceful clear, was throwing up before her class, and that rider hacking down the road smiling, spent 6 months crying at the end of their drive because they were too scared to venture out.

Confidence is simply a skill. Skills can be taught, they are not inherent. If you struggle with your confidence spend some time each day working upon it, just as you would spend time running each day to increase your mileage. We tend to ignore confidence or believe that it is something that we simply don’t have. Build your confidence with small steps, just as you would your fitness. Encourage yourself with daily targets, and gradual improvement. Reward each point on your progression, without obsessing about the final target. All these statements can be applied to increasing your fitness, as well as your confidence.

And once you realise that confidence is moveable, that is trainable and changeable, suddenly it ceases to become such a hurdle, and becomes another goal on your path. With that understanding the fear caused by lack of confidence diminishes and you can be free to improve and build your confidence just the same as you can increase your fitness. And before you know it, you will be running a marathon…

Lizzie Hopkinson is the Director at


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