Life has a way of grabbing away the steering wheel and setting us full speed ahead for a destination that we neither intended nor expected. Despite the best laid plans, this realization sometimes creeps up on us – with us finding ourselves placed squarely in the midst of a personal struggle without fully realizing how we got there. I suppose that’s the element of life that is designed to ensure that we keep growing, evolving and moving forward toward a higher state of being.
Yet, meeting this challenge with a winner’s attitude will require that we be brave enough to step outside of our well-worn comfort zones and take a good, hard look at ourselves with the distanced eye of self-evaluation. I find myself in the midst of one of those growth periods. I’m standing on fertile ground – but creating an abundant landscape will require me to set my ego aside in order to scatter the seeds of self-reflection for future harvest.
The struggle is real
It’s been said for millennia, “ask and ye shall receive” and “when the student is ready, a teacher will appear.” I’ve often found that answers are all around me, even before I’ve thought to voice the questions, if I’ll just sharpen my awareness to recognize them. Personally I’ve been attempting to bridge the gap between applying the wisdoms I’ve discovered as a journalist and motivational writer – with developing the knowledge and finesse to assist people through a counseling career. I desire to grow into something new and wonderful, yet ideally, without sacrificing the gracious gifts of insight that I’ve been given in the process. It’s a delicate balancing act that isn’t easy to attain. This morning as I sat watching the morning news, blurry-eyed from a stomach virus and lack of sleep, the answers came forth from an unlikely source – a story on Manchester United soccer player, Tim Howard. Although a young man, Howard has already experienced the heralds of being a sports hero, as well as the scorn of judgment for sometimes falling short of expectation. His story illuminated the important difference between self-confidence and self-belief.
Self-confidence is given by the world – and it can be taken away by the world. It is often the result of other’s appraisals of our efforts as opposed to our own. Yes, it feels good to feel competent and capable at something, but perhaps it’s important to be clear on where that sense of well-being lies. Is it dependent upon other’s approval – or is it founded in an honest self-awareness of our own strengths and accomplishments? If we truly have a growth mindset, then self-confidence will naturally wax and wane whenever we venture out into new and unfamiliar territory. We won’t always be good at things right away. We will have to allow ourselves the right to make mistakes on the path to competence and mastery.
That’s where self-belief comes in. Unlike self-confidence, our belief in ourselves should be a driving force that we hold sacred on the journey to parts unknown. It’s founded in the deep inner knowing of who we truly are and of what we were born to offer this world. It should be honored and based in reverent gratitude for our own unique blessings of individuality. If we allow the world to shake our self-belief – then we’ve compromised too much. Self-belief is the gas in the tank that keeps us moving forward towards a better outcome, a better life, and ultimately a better world.
The fact that this revelation came from the experiences of a human being that I know nothing about (a 24-year-old soccer player, no less) reminds me once again that there is a human connection that needs to be recognized and respected. We all share up and downs, wins and losses, challenges and victories. Yet, if we are wise, we’re not defined by these things – but instead simply informed by them. We should always know who we are without question – and simply keep putting one foot in front of the other toward the finish line. The rest will work itself out, but not without some bumps along the way. To expect perfection is unrealistic and unhelpful – but to offer our lives with an open heart and a loving intention is transformational. So thank you, Mr. Howard for sharing your hard-earned wisdom with me. Perhaps it’s not so crazy after all – that a world renowned goalie would have wisdom to share on how to reach a goal. Sounds like a win to me.
Copyright © 2016, marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address. Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose, a Self-Help/Motivational finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards.