Borrowing Belief

In some ways I’m a confident person. I’ve always made my own choices in life, and I’m certainly not risk averse, in fact quite the opposite. I’ve always believed that if you feel something strongly, you just have to go for it. And even if it doesn’t work out the way you imagined, you are diverted down a path of discovery that makes you more authentically you than you were before, and that ultimately that is the whole point. If I may get a bit existential for a moment; that is why we are here.

Reflecting over the last year, there have been plenty of times when I have not felt confident about my choices, and at times, perhaps even about who I am and what I stand for. And what I’ve learnt is that it’s at times like these when you lack your own self-belief that you need people around you who can carry your confidence if your bridge of life is crossing troubled water. You need people close at hand not to give advice or tell you what to do, but just to believe in you and who you are. Friends may do this, partners may do this, and coaches may do this too.

Through our physical fitness we can explore and test our own personal boundaries and build our beliefs in what is possible, first in the physical sphere, but then more broadly into our lives as a whole, so that we feel more fulfilled, more in control, or more accepting of what life has to throw at us.

This is of course why so many people set fitness goals as New Years Resolutions. In creating some level of transformation in our physical bodies, metaphysically we feel a sort of soul-deep affirmation of who we are and what we can conceive for our future.

Some of you have followed my weightlifting progress over the last couple of months, and just before Christmas I accidentally captured a pure example of what I’m talking about whilst training.

Coach Keith is a man of few words but vast experience and knowledge. He is a coach of the old school who keeps things simple, and only says as much as needs to be said. In the video clip that follows we are working through three sets of 5 repetitions of the ‘clean and jerk.’ The weight I am lifting is the most I’d ever lifted for only one or two reps up to that point. By the end of the clip you will see that I successfully lift the weight 5 times with only a minutes’ rest between sets.

In reflecting on the workout afterwards I noticed that what Keith says to me is nothing special. But because Keith is saying it, and I believe in him as a coach I have the confidence to do what he tells me. I borrow the belief that he has in me and as the session progresses I find I believe in myself too.


Keith: “Right are you ready for this…?”

Me: “I’m not sure ….(laughing)”

Keith: “Right, lets go…”..

(After the first set of 5…)

Me: “I don’t know if I’ve ever done that much before”

Keith: “It can’t be that hard you’ve just done 5 of them”

Me: “I know”…(laughing)…”maybe I have…”

(Throughout the second and final set…)

Keith: “C’mon, really work hard…. Focus….You can do this Jo….”

(After completing the workout…off camera)

Keith: “That’s nowhere near the most you can lift… where near”

And there endeth Keiths input for another few weeks.


Very few people have the confidence to believe in themselves all the time. But if you surround yourself with those who do, they will fill in the gaps and you will come out stronger.