Confidence: The Only Limits We Have Are The Ones We Put On Ourselves

by SwimSwam Contributors 0

January 13th, 2022 Lifestyle

Courtesy: Adam Depmore

I was scared as a kid. I was a shrimpy kid with a big head in a rough neighborhood. Bus rides to and from school were the hardest. My nickname was “The Brain” (Pinky and the Brain) and the older kids loved to slap the back of my head as they left the bus.

Getting off the bus wasn’t much easier. Certain groups looked for kids that seemed to be “weak” and I guess I was that guy. I spent a lot of time on the run and hiding from other kids.

What can I say, I guess I was an easy target. A vulnerable scared kid who had to be someone’s pinata. There are many “bully” details I can go into, but I’ll refrain from going in that direction. This isn’t a sob story.

Building Confidence

When I started swimming at age 10, it kind of helped me face many of those fears and helped me become more confident in myself by choosing harder tasks on a daily basis. Grinding it while working on breath control is no joke. I hated it. Every part of practice was torture to me. Swimming wasn’t something I wanted, but something I needed.

At first, swimming was essential for me. A safe place where I could face my fears and escape from being bullied. As I trained, swimming became more of a place where I could find out more about myself. I become my work and as time went on I began to pay attention to what triggered me to train harder and embraced the hardships that came from training. The training was still torture, but the feelings I had after practice were indescribable.

I worked hard to earn my teammates’ approval and quickly moved up in the ranks. By age 11 I was swimming on 13-14 relays and the older guys and girls took me under their wing. Even the kids my age began to like me because I was willing to do whatever it takes to make my team look good.

I realized how beneficial swimming was for me, and knew I could help other people achieve that same confidence. I started pursuing not only my own courage but helped others find their courage as well. By the time high school came around, I was pushing my body to a pulp on daily basis. I didn’t just want to earn my teammates’ respect, I wanted to make them proud. Swimming wasn’t about me it was about serving something greater than myself.

I enjoyed challenging my teammates and pushed them to do better. Push-ups, pull-ups, dips… these all became competitions for me and my teammates as we pushed each other daily. Swimming showed me that even on the coldest and darkest days there was still an unquenchable fire within. I refused to quit and backing down was never an option.

Confidence comes from Conditioning

In order to build confidence, you have to choose courage on a daily basis. And that doesn’t mean showing up for practice. That means just getting up and going to practice and doing something that you wouldn’t do the day before. Do it a few times, then you will get a taste of it. Once you get that taste, you will build that hunger… that unstoppable drive that will help carry you to heights you could have never imagined. Take yourself to that scary place and build a home there.

Maintaining Confidence

Maintaining confidence comes from understanding where your motivation comes from. Motivation comes from within and we are all motivated by different things. We are either running from something or to something. However, when you run from something, the stronger it gets. When you run to something, the stronger you get. I know many of us feel like we are living in uncertain times, but you can’t wait for times of uncertainty and emotional exposure to count on suddenly producing courage. You have to face what scares you daily and own it. This is how you get stronger. This is how you maintain your confidence

Examine who you are and who you want to be. If you are training, you have taken ownership of your actions. This is just one step. Expand your practice. As Kobe put it, “master your craft.” Even through our darkest hours what we can control will expand and manifest with hard work and confidence. The only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves. Do you really think you can imagine everything you can achieve?

Be the person you thought you could never be.

Opinions in the article don’t necessarily reflect those of SwimSwam.


Adam is an Austin native with 20+ years of working in the non-profit organization management industry.  He is also the head Coach of Lone Star Aquatics (ASCA 4) and a Certified Kettlebell Sport Coach.

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