On Mountain Biking and Confidence

If you’ve been following the blog, our septic issue didn’t get resolved but since it’s a working system with no immediate need of fixing, we headed out to continue our wander in HaRVey towards the southern US for the rest of 2013. Moving from 1500 sq ft down to 150 sq ft with two people and 3 big dogs was a tad challenging for the first couple of days. Almost uncomfortable you could say. But after a short while, the routines we’d previously set up kicked back in and our excitement for being on the road to experience new places and see friends and family took over.

I’m learning so much about myself on this wander. Many things I’ll share as we go along and some will have to wait until the end. It’s all personal growth stuff and it’s hard, but I love it. I might even write a book about this adventure someday. ;)

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Today I’m looking at confidence. I’ve come to believe that confidence is something we have to work at. It doesn’t just happen. At least not for me. It is a continuous conscientious effort.

I’m not really even sure how to define it. Merriam-Webster defines confidence as a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something. I agree with that and I would add that there’s a feeling that you can handle what’s going on with whatever that situation may be. Even if it doesn’t turn out as planned, you know you’re okay and it’s all good.

On our way to Colorado we stopped at a mountain bike trail system outside of Salt Lake City not too far from Moab, Utah. Oh wow, was it amazing!

We were surrounded by the desert with layered rock mountains next to us and snow-covered peaks in the distance. The absolutely perfect blue sky above with bright sunshine and slight breeze made it heavenly to bike.

We took to the beginner/intermediate trails. I already knew I didn’t have the skills for the advanced trails. I felt comfortable and confident initially. The terrain wasn’t too rocky or hilly, or technical.

At first.

Then the terrain changed.

More big rocks, sharp curves. It made me nervous and question myself in handling it. I hopped off my bike here and there to walk it through harder areas. When I did that, I felt bad. The thoughts that ran through my head were, “what a wimp you are for having to walk your bike”, and “no one else has to walk their bike in this spot”. My confidence as it related to mountain biking was deflated.

But something interesting happened the farther I went. The trail continued to be easier or harder in spots but as I got more comfortable with my bike, breaks, and the steering, I felt a bit more in control and my confidence increased. I was riding through areas that just 30 minutes prior I wouldn’t have dreamed of trying. Even better was that occasionally I still had to get off my bike and walk it through some areas where I didn’t have the skill or confidence, but I realized it was more about safety. And that was a big key for me. I don’t possess mad mountain biking skills. I’d be putting myself at risk for injury. Forget confidence. That’s not my idea of fun. A broken something or other would certainly put a damper on the rest of the RV wander and just wouldn’t be worth it.

When we have the skills to do anything in life, like our jobs, our social life, skiing, cooking, being a great parent, whatever it is, confidence often follows. We just know we can do it, because we have. We’ve practiced it. But I found out on that ride that confidence was there for me all along. I was confident there were parts of the trail that were beyond my skill level and not right for me to ride through at that moment. Maybe in 6 months I could, but not right then. And that was okay. No need to feel bad about it.

Confident that walking my bike was right. No injury to body or ego. As needed on the trail, I confidently walked my bike feeling okay about it. And the most important part? I really enjoyed the ride. That was the goal anyway. Go see a new place, have fun, and get some exercise. No confidence required!

Do you have a hard time feeling confident? Join the conversation on the blog by leaving a comment below, or email me, coachwithsusan@hotmail.com

I am grateful to be able to spend some time with you virtually today. Thank you.

As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest you can leave behind.

Bloom On!