Confidence Corner: 3 Ways Women Riders Undermine Their Self-Confidence

Identifying and changing destructive thought patterns

By Alisa Clickenger, WRN Leadership Board

Editor’s note: WRN Leadership Board member Alisa Clickenger brings decades of experience in leading and organizing women’s group tours, coaching, and penning articles. Her book, Boost Your Confidence Through Motorcycling: A Woman’s Guide to Being Your Best Self On and Off the Bike, highlights her passion and expertise of elevating women to take charge of their lives in a powerful way.

Confidence Corner 3 Ways Women Riders Undermine Self-Confidence Alisa Clickenger
Letting go of all the things we think we “should” be in life opens us up to the magic of the road. Here I am leading Women’s Motorcycle Tours’ Pacific Northwest Teaching Tour, where riders are taught the art of motorcycle touring while on the tour.

When we think about improving our confidence in motorcycling and in life, most of us turn our attention to the things that we can do to build it up. Things like taking more calculated risks, speaking up for ourselves, and following through on our promises to ourselves. Yet very few of us think about building our confidence or self-esteem by eliminating certain habits or behaviors that are holding us back from being our best selves.

The top confidence killer I hear is women comparing themselves to others. Such comparisons are a losing proposition all the way around. We are all unique and each have our own ways in which we are special and talented. Comparing ourselves line item by line item only serves to highlight our inadequacies, rather than highlighting our uniqueness and special talents. Dont go there.

Confidence Corner 3 Ways Women Riders Undermine Self-Confidence Alisa Clickenger india
When we stop comparing ourselves to others, we find our own inner strength. This is me at Khardung La (Ladakh) India, after conquering the worlds highest motorable pass (17,582 feet).

“Shoulding” ourselves is the second confidence killer I encounter. Im referring to that little voice inside our head that says, “I should be better,” or “I should have mastered this by now.” Negative versions of these same thoughts, like, “I shouldn’t still be stalling my bike” fall into the same category. This type of self-shaming is an adopted voice, not one we were born with. Luckily, we can learn not to listen to it.

Perfectionism is the third most common way we undermine our self-confidence. Thinking that we need to be perfect in everything we do only tears us down. Why do we think that the first time we take off from a dead stop on a hill that we are supposed to do it perfectly? Why do we think we need to be as good as others who have been riding for decades longer than we have?

The antidote to all of these confidence busters is awareness. By becoming aware of our thoughts, we can begin the process of changing them. Our habitual ways of thinking keep us in the rut of self-denigration and self-denial and keep us stuck. Being mindful of the way we tear ourselves down opens the doorway to our building ourselves up, and ultimately changing the way we view ourselves and the world around us.

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