Confidence Comes From Doing Hard Things


In case you need to hear this today…confidence comes from doing hard things.

No one is born with true confidence. Children are a blank canvas – oblivious to real-world experiences until they’re learned. So, at a young age, we try everything without a care or concern to hold us back, and we get hurt…we fail…we fall…we get scared. And we remember.

This causes us to “know better” the next time around, but knowing better isn’t always better because it holds us back. We’re so afraid of even the most minor inconveniences or discomforts we avoid anything that could bring us close to the edge of slipping down that same slope twice. But in our effort to eliminate anything but the soft, cushy (and downright boring) “knowns” of the world, we also rob ourselves of the ability to build confidence in our resiliency to recover, health, and thrive.

The result? A severe lack of self-confidence and security that stifles our personal growth.

We as adults are an anxious and insecure bunch! Confidence must be learned and earned, and this only happens when we do hard things…repeatedly. It’s tough medicine to swallow. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be uncomfortable. But as I heard someone once say, “business is a blood sport.” So when I began my business at just 23-years old, I entered the arena young and dumb enough to not be afraid – oh but I learned! I learned that I care so much more than I should about other people’s opinions. That I will fixate on approvals, apologies, and affirmations that may never come. And that I’m scared of basically everything that comes with the risk of hard work, uncomfortable processes, and unknown outcomes. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we all feel this way to a degree.

Over the last decade, I continue to learn a lot, but it’s the lessons I choose to let shape my future decisions that either build or break my confidence. When I say confidence comes from doing hard things, what does this really mean? Okay, so you attempted something hard…how does that shape self-confidence? Allow me to expand upon this point. Confidence comes from doing hard things and realizing…

Mistakes do not define you.

I’m talking to all the people pleasers out there. The unrealistic standard that you will never make a mistake or let someone down is paralyzing. And you’ll never meet this standard. Because even in choosing to do nothing to avoid the risk of doing something wrong, inaction results in a forfeit. I don’t know about you, but if mistakes are inevitable, I’d at least like to make them for myself!

Here’s the good news, and the part that builds confidence, mistakes do not define you. Honest mistakes made with good intentions will not destroy quality relationships or prevent future opportunities from coming your way. Even those really, really big mistakes will be made smaller and less significant over time. People are messing up all the time, and to your benefit, their mistakes will soon overshadow your own.

Should someone not be able to see past a mistake you made or be willing to accept your sincere apology and commitment to learning from this mistake, they are not someone who will add value to your life. Of that, you can be confident.

Failure is not final – and neither is success.

Deadlines and finish lines are self-constructed. Who determines when time is up and judgment will be made upon all that you’ve accomplished in life? No man or woman here on earth, that’s for sure. Therefore we should have confidence in knowing that failure is not final, nor is success. It’s all a part of the process. These things are just data points along our journey. Our lives are meant to look like a jagged line of ups and downs, some lows will dip lower than others, and the same is true for high points.

No two person’s “graphs” will look the same. Where we can gain confidence is in knowing that it’s not a contest! We’re never asked to turn in an assignment where we are meant to replicate the exact graph outlined by a teacher. There’s simply no right answer to how you live your life. There are infinite possibilities! So, move confidently and boldly in the direction you determine is best for you, and remain connected to your inner compass that leads the way. Until God determines it’s “time up and pencils down” keeping growing that graph!

Most people aren’t watching that closely.

And the ones who are could become your biggest source of inspiration. Sure, all the world is a stage, but if social media is any indication, there are countless stages with audiences popping in and out of our life’s performances all the time. Rarely does one person stay focused long enough to see the full story of someone else’s life. In fact, I’m confident in saying no one person stays focused on any other person’s life that long to ever know the full story! Therefore, your life does not need to be rehearsed, refined, or perfected before it’s ready for the stage. You’re on a stage right now, and there should be limited seats in your audience that are reserved for only those people whose opinions truly matter to you.

Whether your life right now is a comedy, drama, horror story, or some blend of genres, just know that what’s going on both internally and externally in your life matters the most to you. You’re your own biggest critic as well as the director. The rest of the world spends only a few minutes watching from the cheap seats every now and again!

You have to want the outcome more than you fear the unknown.

Finally and most importantly, confidence comes from doing hard things and realizing that you have to want the outcome more than you fear the work, discomfort, criticism, and unknowns. It can feel like walking through a haunted house to get to a grand prize awaiting you at the end. You don’t know what lurks behind each turn, it can be dark and hard to navigate, and you might lose friends along the way leaving you to find your footing alone. But if you can dig deep and muster the confidence to navigate each twist and turn one step at a time, fight off the “ghosts” that are really just bad actors in masks, and make it to the prize, it will be well worth it! Better yet, with each challenge like this you accomplish, you’ll increase your confidence to new levels so that the next obstacle set before you becomes less scary, maybe even enjoyable to navigate and conquer!

Now it’s your turn!

I’d love to learn what you think of these insights about growing self-confidence, in both a personal and professional capacity. Do you agree? Is there another outcome to add? Join the conversation by commenting below!