Want to Boost Confidence? Raise Your Hand

Meditations in Motion

“It’s impossible” said pride. “It’s risky” said experience. “It’s pointless” said reason. “Give it a try” whispered the heart.Unknown

Meditations in Motion

I have a race coming up on Sunday. It’s a trail half marathon described as “tough“, “challenging“, “grit-testing” and promises to “burn your butt“. I am running with my husband Bill and a speedy friend. The race is sold out. You can check the list of registrants, so I did. I am the only woman registered in my age group. The. Only. One. That is slightly unnerving. My plan is to use this race as a tune up for a 25k in 2 weeks. This is the race that really intimidates me! Here is part of the race director’s message “I want to be clear that our course was not designed for the ‘leisure’ runner or hiker. Nor was it designed so that ‘everyone’ can easily finish…Don’t expect to come to this course and set any records for a 25K.  Our course was designed to challenge people both mentally and physically.” Yikes! Are trail race directors somewhat sadistic? I guess that makes me a masochist.

Meditations in Motion

My husband will tell you that I am slightly impulsive when it comes to signing up for races. My heart says “Yes, do it!“, but my head says “At your age?” I am lucky. When I was growing up, my parents encouraged me to do. Most evenings after dinner in the summertime, the neighborhood tribe would gather at my house for a game of baseball. The tribe of boys, that is. I was the only girl who played. I don’t remember if I was a good player or not, but I do remember that we had sweaty, dirty fun. I played first base. One evening the girls from the neighborhood came to the game and asked me to play dolls with them, so I agreed. That lasted 15 minutes. I didn’t like playing dolls. I went back to baseball.

Meditations in Motion

The only time I remember playing with dolls as a kid was the time the neighbor boy and I used his sister’s dolls as targets when we were shooting our BB guns. Thinking back on that incident, it is actually pretty disturbing. It is amazing that any of us Baby Boomers grew up to be normal, productive citizens when you consider the small amount of parental oversight we had and the shenanigans we pulled.

Meditations in Motion

There have been several studies linking physical activity and self-esteem. Boys, it seems, naturally have higher levels of physical activity, thus higher self-esteem than girls of the same age. Boys in these studies lowered high cortisol (a stress hormone) levels most effectively by physical activity. Girls lowered it best by talking to each other. Boys win praise by taking action; girls by being quiet and well-behaved.

Meditations in Motion

This is a disservice to girls. Taking action requires risk. Taking reasonable risks (think: raising your hand in class, not jumping off the garage roof) builds confidence. You have to believe in yourself enough to risk possible embarrassment with an incorrect answer to raise your hand. You have to have courage. Confidence is what allows you to actually raise your hand. Confidence is what turns thoughts into action. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. You need confidence to take the risks that allow you to build more confidence.

Meditations in Motion

A sassy and bright 5th grade girl named Alice noticed that the girls in her class weren’t raising their hands as much as the boys did. She herself lacked the confidence to raise her hand unless she was 100% sure of the answer. One day on a field trip, she saw the boys in her class raising their hands, standing at the front of the group, getting the majority of the attention from the guides and teachers who were talking to the students. Alice decided to do something about it. She decided to raise her hand. She didn’t get every question right, but she got a lot of them right. That gave her confidence to talk her friends into raising their hands more often too. And her friends talked to their friends. The girls took the idea to their girl scout leader, who loved it. They decided to make a patch called the Raise Your Hand patch. The leader took it to the local girl scout council, who spread the word. Now girls from all across the country and the world can get a Raise Your Hand patch. It was like throwing a tiny stone in a still pond and watching the beautiful ripples spread farther and farther from the center.

Meditations in Motion

This is not to say that boys don’t need our encouragement in building confidence too. They do. Confident and informed young men and women are needed to build a functioning society. It’s just that boys (in aggregate) have an innate proclivity for action, which naturally instills confidence, more than girls do.

Meditations in Motion

If I didn’t have confidence, I couldn’t do the runs that I love. I could never have started  this blog to tell the whole world (or at least my tiny corner of the world) what I think. I would be too afraid of falling on my face (literally, in the case of the trail races). So. I am in need of some confidence for my upcoming races. Taking action breeds confidence. I am going for a run.

I am linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for their Friday Five 2.0. If you like running and fitness blogs, check them out here!

Friday 5

I am linking up with Char at Trekking Thru. Check out some moving inspirational blogs here. I am also linking up with Holley Gerth

Trekking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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37 comments

    • I love Girls on the Run! What a positive message they give to the girls. I was involved as a running buddy, and was amazed at how the girls supported and encouraged each other.

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    • It is true! One thing that I remember about the baseball games is that everyone had a chance to shine, even if it was just for a moment. There were no adults watching you, evaluating you, and maybe sitting you on the bench. We had to settle all of our own disputes and enforce all of our own rules. Good point!

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  1. I know it misses the greater point of your post (which is a point well taken) but I am very excited to read your race report Buck Ridge Burn. I have my sights set on this one for next year. Given your other race reports, I have no doubt you will do great at this one, and I really don’t think Hyner will beat you. Just remember to take some time out there to enjoy where you are!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Randy, thank you very much! I actually am looking forward to Buck Ridge Burn more and more as the weekend approaches. I am planning to run it with my husband, take it easy, and enjoy. It sounds like you and I must do some of the same races! 🙂

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  2. Great thoughts. It’s so important to know that you can do hard things, but you have to try them to figure that out — and you can build confidence that you don’t have at first.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought I left a comment on your blog, but it isn’t showing up. Hmmm…..I think we must run a bunch of the same races. I did Hershey 10k and half a bunch of times, and also the GS half. I was surprised that Buck Ridge sold out. It seems like a very small race.

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  3. This is so awesome!! I love how you link these two concepts into one! Courage! Man it can be so hard to be courageous!!! But how amazing when we are!

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell!

    Blessings,

    Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yicks, that RD’s message sounds crazy. Maybe he’s just trying to scare off the light-hearted. LOL! Go in there and do your best and kick butt!
    I think when us women runners train for these marathons and such, we learn how strong we truly are. Women need to be confident, I agree!
    Have a great race, believe in yourself! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I think the RD was trying to encourage people to TRAIN for the race. I agree with your comment. I love my running friends. They are the strongest, most confident and fun women to be around!

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  5. Can’t wait to hear about your race …best of luck! I agree that confidence makes all the difference in ones approach and success in life! Confidence is built just outside of our comfort zones and unfortunately too many times we never step outside of those comfort zones. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I think we are both the mother of 3 boys, but I think girls might need a little more encouragement to find their confidence. Will post about the race soon. It was fun!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The Raise your Hand badge is such a great idea. I can remember being scared to answer unless I was 100% sure I was correct. One of my (male!) math teachers in high school kindly told me that I should speak up more often and share my thoughts with my classmates. It gave me more confidence and I will always remember that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it is a great idea too. So many (female) students feel exactly the way you felt. Teachers can have such an impact on kids. I think it is something that we don’t appreciate enough. I’m glad that your teacher had a positive impact on you!

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  7. Very impressive! My sister and I were talking last week about how we are not competitive and didn’t play sports. Maybe there wasn’t much around us for girls in the 80’s? We both ran races with our Dad because he was a runner, bug that was it. I wish we had been more exposed to sports then, so I try to expose my daughters to different activities.
    Love how empowering this is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I used to be a teacher. My students knew I ran and asked me if I was on the cross country team when I was in HS. They were incredulous when I told them that cross country was just for boys when I went to school! Good for you for exposing your daughters to different activities.

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    • Sorry for the confusion! I can definitely understand that reading the posts out of order would be confusing. I am still pretty nervous about the 25k, but the half did give me more confidence.

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