The Confidence Course
“Confidence isn’t just everything, but it is comprised of every single thing that gives you self-assurance that you can do anything ……if you really want it”
Dr. Robert K. Winters
Section 1 Digging for Personal Treasure
Welcome to your new dig! In this section we will go deep into our own lives to tap into the treasure chest that is filled with memories and experiences that help to build enduring and sustaining confidence. From these life lessons, we will pull what is valued and impactful as well as what has left us with doubt and troubling concern. But in order for us to tap into this gold mine, we have to know exactly what it is that we are looking for first in order to continue. This reminds me of a wonderful story that will illustrate the necessity for what we are doing in this chapter.
The Angry Golfer
A few years ago I was working with a young and aspiring touring professional golfer who wanted me to help him with his mental game and on-course management. He was a very talented player and had more than adequate physical tools. But the one thing he lacked was a sense of direction and clarity. One day while we were on the golf course doing an applied lesson of picking out selected targets and committing to the shots that he had chosen, he would swing and then erupt into a violent outburst of anger and frustration. After several of these outbursts, I asked him what he was so angry about. The results of his shots were almost always effective and the majority of them were high-quality struck golf shots. In fact, I couldn’t even tell if they were mis-hit because the level of proficiency was quite high.
He responded with a frustrated tone and said: “I can’t make a perfect swing! I try as hard as I can and I just can’t get to the position and feeling of my swing that I want!” “Nothing is feeling good and it just doesn’t feel correct!” To which I responded: “Then tell me, what does a perfect swing feel like to you and how would you describe it?” He looked at me and appeared stunned. It was if I had asked a deer who was just frozen in the headlights of an oncoming car….he froze and said nothing and had a blank stare on his face. Finally after processing my question, he responded: “I don’t know how to describe it….If I knew what I was looking for, I wouldn’t be searching now would I?!?
I replied: “but if you can’t even describe what you are looking for….then how do you know when you have achieved it? I continued my assessment: “If you can’t describe it or know what it feels like when you do actually make that swing, you will be unable to recognize it because you don’t know what you’re looking for in the first place! On top of that, you’re getting mad at something you don’t even know what you’re getting mad about! It’s as if you’re chasing a ghost but don’t even know if one is around or even if they exist!” To which the young golfer looked at me and made a huge shrug of his shoulders and with an exasperated breath said: “I guess you’re right….I have been getting mad at myself for not doing something and I don’t even know what the heck I am even looking for!” “I’ve been beating myself up and shadow boxing with myself for two years now!”
This story has a successful ending because the young golfer made some headway into describing exactly what it was that constituted an efficient swing and something that he could accept and play with in competition. It reminds me of the joke about the person who was down on his knees late at night under a street light and was searching for something. Along came a neighbor and asked him what he was looking for and he told him his car keys. The neighbor got down and helped him and asked him if this is where he thought he dropped them to which the man replied, “No, I lost them about twenty yards back there, but the light is better here”.
So often we go looking for things only to realize that we are looking in the wrong place or we don’t even know what we are looking for in the first place! That is what this section is all about. You will find out what confidence means to you and how it has or has not beena factor in your life. In short, we are going on a personal exploration with you. There are a number of scientific definitions that we will address in this section, but first, I want to find out what the word confidencereally means to you. There is no right or wrong answer here. I am merely asking you to describe it right now from your frame of reference. Feel free in this section to write whatever comes to mind and we can go forward from there!