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Cultivating Self-Confidence

I lean down to chalk my hands, the quintessential movement in CrossFit that says, "I'm just going to take a second and catch my breath." My buddy Phil and I were a little over halfway through a 30-minute workout, a workout we had severely underestimated.

This level of tired is nothing we hadn't experienced before so I stand up from the chalk bucket and look to Phil to see if he's ready to start our next set. He shakes his head and looks defeated. He turns to me and says, "You are going to have to find another partner next time. I can't finish this workout."

I pause, more out of confusion than anything else. I've seen Phil do these movements at this volume before. I know he is physically capable of it. We slug our way through the workout before collapsing on the gym floor. After a few minutes we collect ourselves and take a walk. "What's going on man? You just don't seem like yourself." Phil explains that in the middle of the workout a voice just came in his head that told him he couldn't do it, and he listened. In that moment Phil was completely void of self-confidence.

Self-confidence is an attitude about your own skills and abilities. Having self-confidence means your trust yourself to achieve what you know you are capable of. Self-confidence is not the same as self-esteem (how you perceive your own value), but cultivating self-confidence can improve our self-esteem. So when the voice in our head tells us we can't, how do we tell it to shove off?

While easier said than done, there are two things we can do today to start cultivating self-confidence.

First, don't verbalize negative thoughts. When encountering challenges, we all experience thoughts of doubt. The worst thing we can do is give them power and momentum by verbalizing them. Instead, play the opposite game. If you're thinking, "Just give up, you can't do it." Whether you believe it or not, say out loud, "I can do this and I won't give up."

The second thing we can do to cultivate self-confidence is surround ourselves with people who build us up. I never realized how impactful it would be to have my 4th grade teacher tell me I was capable of great things until I turned 30-years old and was still relying on it to sustain my self-confidence. Not only should we verbally build ourselves up, but we should be sure to spend time with people that believe in us and tell us so.

Earlier this week I was feeling pretty beat up during a workout. Afterward the workout I told Phil, "I just feel like I have nothing left in the tank." He looked at me and said, "You can feel that way, just don't say it out loud."


Develop a mantra to use to replace your thoughts of self-doubt. Keep it short, simple, and repeatable.


Who is your biggest hype man?


“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ­- Christopher Robin

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