Confidence is basically a muscle.

If you know anything about muscles, the more you use them and provide them with the fuel they need, the bigger they grow and the stronger they get.

For many women, confidence seems like this intangible object that can never fully be grasped. It feels like something that is felt only as it slips between our fingers and is gone before we realize it was even present. It feels like no matter how hard we try, we can never seem to get a good grasp on it.

The reason we feel this way is largely due to the way we view confidence. We think confidence is something that is given to us, won, or innate, rather than something that requires diligent practice and cultivation. Take it from someone who spent years confusing the words “cultivate” and “win”.

Instead of taking responsibility to cultivate confidence, I spent a large portion of my life chasing success or perfection. I placed my self-worth and confidence level on my accomplishments- getting A’s on my exams, winning championships in sports, earning medals in gymnastics meets, etc. This chase for perfection was an unhealthy cycle of myself trying to prove that I was worthy. A constant chase for confidence.

Every time I succeeded in something, I used it as fuel for my confidence level. The thing is, the confidence I would feel after these successes was not really confidence. It was some phony, fragile version of confidence that I used as a foundation for my self-worth. I didn’t always get the A, win the game, or receive an award. And, in fact, when I lost, it hurt, bad. Instead of my confidence taking a small hit, it was shattered. Of course it was. It wasn’t really confidence, it was a weak, fragile phony.

True confidence can withstand and will even appreciate failure. In fact, true confidence thrives and requires failures, using them as learning experiences to become more resilient. It has taken me years to figure this out.

What confidence really is, is a skill. It is energy that we create for ourselves by purposefully and continuously pushing the limits of comfort zones. Each time we do something vulnerable or outside our comfort zones with no expectations or self-worth strings attached, we are essentially flexing our confidence muscles.

The best part about true confidence?

It gets stronger regardless of the outcome! You either succeed or you learn. WIN-WIN.

The hardest part about true confidence?

Being uncomfortable. Confidence is not built in your comfort zone. Doing things that are uncomfortable or vulnerable is a non-negotiable when it comes to increasing your confidence level.

You don’t win confidence (believe me, I tried for years, unsuccessfully). The uncomfortable or vulnerable thing that you wish you had more confidence for is the EXACT thing you need to do in order to cultivate confidence!

30Confidence, like muscles, will not just show up. You have to earn it. You must put the effort forth to do the work and cultivate the shit out of it, for months. You have to trust that the work you are doing is worth it before the results will ever show up. And most importantly, it is a continuous process. If you stop working on it, your confidence muscle will atrophy. You must always be challenging yourself. Celebrate your wins, assess the learning experiences, and then move forward. On to the next challenge.

So whatever it is that you have been wanting to try or do, get to it! If you have been wanting to start weight lifting but feel intimidated and don’t have the confidence yet, I urge you to just pick one exercise with weights and start, ASAP. Stop waiting for a burst of confidence to provide you with the comfort you think you need. It will never come to you, you must create it.

Confidence, like muscles, is built, intentionally, purposefuly, and with continued perseverance.