"How are you going to live your purpose if you don't face your fears?" Tony Horton.
Today I sat down and realised that amongst the many things I have covered already in my writing; (motivation, setting goals, building a community of support, doing your best and starting out on a fitness journey) I haven’t covered one of the biggest issues that people face every day. Confidence.
Growing up being slightly bigger than the average kid was not really a confidence booster and it certainly didn’t help in my first 2 years of high school. The weight fluctuated so too did my confidence, but by the time that I reached the age of 17 I was sure, that I wanted to be a professional golfer. Having the dream in my head was one thing, putting that into action was a whole different story.
My dream was to get to America on a golf scholarship and play well enough to turn professional. In 2005 I came over to the UK to help me take the final step across the pond to the US. I wandered about a little bit doing the odd thing here and there, but I didn’t flood myself with the opportunity to gain experience or learn; with those two things I would have been more confident on the golf course. The biggest thing that I lacked in my years of growing up playing golf was a mentor. Mentors are an integral part of any personal journey; you need someone to inspire you to be the best person that you can dream to be. I am a true believer in mentors because I have seen progress in myself with mentors; I have also seen other people progress thanks to their mentors. And the word mentor is being thrown around a lot in this paragraph! Ha-ha! I digress; I had an idea of where I wanted to be later in life, but I had no idea where to start.
In the summer (2005) I had a golf lesson at a course that was known for having a top teaching professional. I was paying for my lesson at the end and I met a man behind the counter in the golf shop called Alasdair, I introduced myself and we got talking about my plans. He then went on to tell me that he was out in the states for 4 years and actually had played golf against Tiger Woods in college; he had been there during the eruption of talent in the mid 90’s when the game of golf changed forever. I was truly inspired! I told him that I was using a ‘company’ that I had paid to help get me out to America; he advised me against that approach. His advice was clear and simple, if I wanted to get there I would need to spend the time and do the applications myself. His advice was to target the smaller schools and then work my way up once in the system. I gave it some serious thought, but then later brushed off his comments because I was scared of having to do everything myself, I'd rather leave it to someone else. I actually never returned to that golf club again.
After a pretty disappointing year in 2005 from a golfing front I had missed the chance at getting into a college in the states for the 2006 intake. The ‘company’ didn’t really pay off, they had promised a window of time that was unrealistic and had not really kept me in the loop. Disillusioned with my lack of results and feeling that winter wasn’t for me I returned to Botswana in the December. I moped around our house for a few days, not shaving, doing the list of clichés to help ’soothe’ my soul. My plans were pushed back and I had to learn a hard lesson that nothing was promised for me, I would have to earn my ticket out to the US and take matters into my own hands.
I ended up back in the UK early in 2006 and working in a golf pro shop, I was the fattest that I had ever been and I still had no idea how I was going to gain the experience and confidence I needed to get to America. I decided that the only way to make progress in the summer time was to get fit lose some weight and at least give my self a fighting chance in a 36 hole tournament. I joined a gym and made sure that I could go there everyday in my lunch hour. After a few months of eating better and getting structured exercise I had lost weight. I went down from over 100 kilograms to about 80 and I was feeling really good about things, I made new connections and landed a new job by simply starting a conversation with someone. The job meant that my hours were way more structured than in the pro shop and it meant that I could have weekends free to play golf and network with people.
One day I walked into the Pro-Shop of the golf club where I was a member and guess who was the new face behind the counter? Alasdair. He recognised me from the other golf club where we had spoken before. We started talking and I explained that the ‘company’ that I was using to get me over to America was not really paying off. He did the whole ‘I told you so’ thing and then did something that I wasn’t expecting, he told me to head over to his house and sit down with him to go through a strategy. Just like that I had a mentor.
After some hard work on my game and loads of emails, paperwork and some focus and dedication I ended up getting to America to play golf for a smaller school. The point of this story is that I got there by getting into the right healthy state of mind; this opened me up to a better more positive energy. It allowed me to step forward and make conversation with someone that I had never met, that led to a job, which changed the dynamic of my work life. It then led to me getting more time to play golf with others in my age group, which meant that my experience grew and so too did my confidence. So the two key things that happened in 2006 that allowed my confidence to grow: 1. I made a decision to get control of my situation. 2. I started to work out regularly. Those two things gave me the mental and physical capabilities to chase my dream.
In my opinion confidence is a reflection of two things, your mental state and your physical state. With that said, your body cannot be relaxed with the mind being tense and vice versa. If you are a confident person then often you will show this with your demeanour. If I stood in front of you with great posture and a peaceful look on my face you would be inclined to think that I was a confident person. If I then stood in front of you with my chest sunken in, rounded shoulders and didn’t make eye contact then what would you think of me?
I have by no means mastered the art of body language and or confidence. I still lack the confidence that I need to achieve certain things in my life, but is a part of the process that I am going through. I truly believe that each and every person in the world has it inside of them to inspire the next; it just depends if you are open to making connections and putting yourself out there or not. Some people are too closed off for that, and in my opinion that stems from issues with confidence.
Think about your last interaction with a complete stranger and ask yourself if you opened up to them, I don’t mean in the ‘pour your soul out to them’ sense; I mean how was your body language, did you smile? Did you give them the feeling that you are open to a connection? If the answer is that you don’t know or that you didn’t interact; then I challenge you to make that extra effort next time. Humans feed off the energy of others and if there is a good energy it is bound to rub off.
This brings me back to the first line of today’s post, in order to grow your confidence you have to face your fears, you have to make that decision to believe in yourself and you'll see your character grow. If you want to lose 10 kilograms but you are constantly second guessing yourself then you haven’t faced your fears, you’re just agreeing with them. Facing your fears is putting on your running/ walking shoes and getting out the door to enjoy the fresh air and get the endorphins released into your blood stream. Now is that a scary idea? Maybe to some, but you’ll never reach your true potential until you try.
I battle confidence issues everyday and they are partially what hindered me from becoming the professional golfer that I always dreamed of being. You’ll have to tune in another day for the second part to this post because I’m sure you have had enough reading for one sitting, or you might be entirely bored with my preaching and decide to watch my videos instead. Either way I win! Ha-ha! I’ll pick this up in a couple of days and you can read the second part to this post.
Have an awesome day/ night wherever you are and remember to be strong and stay humble.
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.