Confidence is like Learning to Ride a Bike

Colourful bicycles

Ask anyone who is successful and one of the key aspects to their success was their self-belief and confidence. But many of us do not have much of either. There are no quick fixes but there are strategies that can be implemented immediately that can start to have a meaningful impact on your life.

To be clear, confidence can only come from action. Knowing that you can do something because you have done it repeatedly. Self-belief is the ability to have the belief that you can do something even if you never have.

I often use the following analogy with my clients of learning to ride a bike. Before you learn to ride a bike there is a good chance that you have mastered a scooter, possibly a skateboard or roller-skates/ blades. Maybe tried your hand at ice-skating, skiing or surfing. All require some type of coordination of balance and movement. Furthermore, your self-belief is also translated to saying to yourself: “I don’t know how to ride a bike but I can learn. Lots of other people have, so why can’t I?”. So when rating your confidence about riding a bike before you learn may be very low however your self-belief could be high. However after a few attempts, some successful and some failures (i.e. falling off, grazing one’s knee) you get back on and try again and again and again. You practice and each time you get better. When measuring confidence levels through this process they are increasing as you are showing yourself you can do this. Until you can ride a bike at which point your confidence in your ability to ride is very high.

Unfortunately there is a belief that in order to start something or achieve something, you need to have confidence. I say the opposite. You will get confidence from action. You need to believe in yourself that you can do this. Yes you will fail and you will also learn from that. You will also succeed. But by waiting for confidence in order to achieve you will never succeed. As it will never happen.

Here are 5 meaningful strategies you can start today to building your self-belief and ultimately your confidence.


1. It’s Your Choice

Helen Keller was born in 1880 and was 18 months old when she contracted Meningitis, which left her deaf and blind. Despite this she became a great author and advocate for social change. One of her most famous quotes is: 

“Life is a daring adventure, or nothing”

What it says is that we have 2 choices: you can live a life of daring adventure or choose not to. Which one do you choose? Do you want to grow, experience and live your life to the full? Or would you like to stay where you are? It is this conscious choice that will help fuel your confidence because it is about understanding the choices YOU make, your motivations and creating your future. You are in control. You choose.


2. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the mental state where you are completely in the moment, being present. Having the awareness to be present, an openness to the possibilities and able to focus on what you need to focus on without being distracted. Why is mindfulness so important to building your confidence? It trains our minds to not get pushed around by unhelpful thoughts and emotions and to remain focused on our goals. Through mindful meditation practices and other mindful activities we can teach ourselves on how to be completely present with the person we are talking to or in the task we must complete without allowing our lack of confidence or self-doubt stop us. If the negative doubts fuelled by lack of confidence arise then through mindfulness we choose to ignore them and return our focus.


3. Mindset: What would I do differently next time?

In order to build your confidence you need to have a growth mindset. But what is a growth mindset. Before we look into this, let us first define mindset. Mindset is one’s mental attitude that determines your responses and interpretations to situations. According to Dr. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential, there are 2 types of mindsets:

  • fixed mindset
  • growth mindset

Someone with a fixed mindset is someone who believes that they are who they are and there is nothing that can change them. Someone with a growth mindset believes that a person’s potential is unknown. They have an openness to situations and have a more optimistic view in life. When it comes to making mistakes this is where the real difference between the two mindsets becomes evident and especially why it is important for you to have a growth mindset to build your confidence. Someone with a fixed mindset will do everything they can to minimise and avoid making mistakes, failure or rejection. Whilst someone with a growth mindset will view mistakes, failure or rejection as a learning opportunity; asking themselves “what can I do differently next time?”. The good news is you can change your mindset from fixed to growth. So what would you do differently next time?


4. Don’t talk yourself down

Your words can create your reality. If you keep telling yourself that you can’t do something, then you will convince yourself, that this is your reality. Just as powerfully if you keep telling yourself you can (and should) you will find that you will get the momentum to act. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. More importantly you can be your worst enemy – talking yourself down can take away what little self-confidence you have (“I can’t do this, I don’t deserve this, people will laugh at me). Talking yourself up and positive affirmations will only go so far, you need the action to reinforce your thoughts and together they will become a vivid reality. Don’t let your self-limiting beliefs stop you from becoming who you want to be.


5. Be Authentic

Brene Brown has brought this concept to the mainstream through her 2 great TED talks around what is authenticity and how to be authentic in life. Another way to look at being authentic is through finding your voice. Your voice represents who you really are. What you believe and what values you uphold. Not what mask you hide behind or being the person you believe others want you to be. To be your true self takes courage but it also liberates us from the shackles of expectations and living an unfulfilled life. By being true to yourself, finding your voice, your confidence comes easier as you know who you really are and trust in yourself.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it.” Eleanor Roosevelt


I will be talking on this topic next week at Business In Heels on Wednesday 2nd September at 6pm at the Arthouse Hotel, 275 Pitt Street, Sydney. Connect with other like-minded female entrepreneurs, do some business and learn how to grow your confidence. It would be great to see you there. You can reserve your place here.

Share Button