Building Your Own Belief

I know the title sounds a little woo woo, but stick with me here. Lately, I’ve found myself reading article after article centered around belief, confidence, and perception. And as I get ready to start my competitive strongman season, with some really big and frankly terrifying goals, it seems sort of natural that topics like confidence and self-belief are on my mind. I’ve also been thinking a lot about ice cream and log pressing, but I digress.

See, I’m a straight up people pleaser and perfectionist.  I will do just about anything to make anyone else happy and I try to be rather diplomatic and not ruffle any feathers. I worry a lot about making others, especially those who have spent their time and effort on me, proud. I thrive best when I’m around people who believe in my abilities. I need that to a certain extent. In the past, I needed that belief from others to start things and to even continue doing things. That belief was like the training wheels on a bicycle that held me up when I needed it most and made me brave.  

But somewhere along the way, that turned into operating on what my strong friend Kelly calls “borrowed belief”. Yes, I could understand that others believed in me, and that sustained my efforts...until it didn’t.

via afrobrutality on instagram

via afrobrutality on instagram

After my powerlifting meet, I firmly committed myself to just putting my head down, doing the work, and not questioning my abilities. When I don’t feel like training or doing whatever it is I need to do, I often just tell myself to “do my job”. Because even if you’re not 100% confident in your ability to do your job, you still try. This is certainly not an approach that works for everyone, but it works for me. 

Now, lifting is certainly not an actual “job” in that I don’t get paid for it and it’s not what I do all day every day, but I have a job to do. It’s an immensely fun and rewarding job that I absolutely love, and it is certainly a privilege that rarely feels like a chore but it does require some concessions.  It's doing the work required because you need to do it. It's doing the work you need to do without praise and accolades because you don't get rewarded for doing what needs to be done. It’s late nights, long hours, weird schedules, a sore body, sweat, an exhausted mind, and happily doing all of that to get just 1% better. It's believing that you are capable of doing all of those things. 

Because there are those days when there is literally nothing but you, some weights, and a seemingly impossible task and no one can do the work and do your job but you.

At some point, there is nothing left to borrow.

You have to build your own belief.