My daughter, Cadence, is seven and she rides horses. This little girl has been wanting to ride horses ever since she learned about them. She’s been asking for lessons since she could string sentences together. So, you can imagine my surprise when I found a very anxious little blonde girl in the backseat of my car on the way to her first lesson. As a matter of fact, she was fighting back tears. Yes, fear had grabbed hold. Isn’t it funny how that happens?
Just when you’re standing at the precipice of realizing your very biggest dream, that dang fear comes out of no where and steals all your confidence.
Well, fear is only part of the problem, right? Upon closer examination and conversation I realized that yes, my daughter was fearful of all of the unknowns, but it was really her lack of confidence that was robbing her of the joy in that moment. She was afraid, yes, but was facing her first bout of doubt! Could she do it? Would she be any good? Was this really what she wanted?
I’ve heard it said that doubt steals more dreams than fear ever will.
I have to agree. You see, on that hard afternoon, I had to encourage my daughter to make a tough choice. I asked her to choose confidence. I’m her mom. It’s basically the worst thing to ask your crying child to step towards the fear that’s bringing on the tears. I know from personal experience that confidence is something that we have to cultivate for ourselves. It seems like some people are just naturally endowed with boisterous confidence. I’ve learned in my line of work over the last ten years that there are people who choose to takes steps into cultivating confidence, and there are people who would rather just assume it’s a trait they missed out on.
Friends, I’ve been on both sides of this coin.
I’ve sat in the place of quiet desperation, wishing I was someone who could do those scary things I felt called to do. I’ve also been the person who decides to put on five seconds of superhuman courage to march into the arena and get on the horse (or so to speak). I have to tell you, sitting on the sidelines has never made me more courageous. One of my favorite quotes is by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. He says, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take!” That’s certainly been the truth for me.
I’m not a perfect mother, but that day when my daughter climbed on top of that horse with tears in her eyes, I knew that I was teaching her a very important lesson.
Fear is always there, and it’s hard to face. Confidence comes from stepping right into it.
I didn’t promise her that it would be easy, but I knew it would be worth it.
Written by Wendy Cunningham