Is vulnerability the opposite of confidence?

confidence mindset Jan 09, 2024

This past weekend, I gave a seminar to a small but powerful group of handlers. Eventually, the subject of confidence emerged. I shared my belief: the opposite of confidence is not insecurity but rather vulnerability.


It's potentially a hot take and likely not the definition the dictionary would agree with, but I stand by it. When we are NOT confident, we believe we could fail, make mistakes, be harmed by another's words, and get hurt. This sounds like vulnerability (and fear) to me.


When we feel confident, we can perform, execute our plan, trust our training, and rise above the harshness of others. We walk into the ring with our heads up and shoulders back, excited to play with our dog.


We learn to be confident by taking small but meaningful actions in our growth zone - in other words, when we push ourselves and are successful. Bit by bit, we teach ourselves that we can do harder things and not only live through it but succeed!


We can also reduce our vulnerability and become less "porous" - not allowing situations, experiences, or people to weaken us or make us feel "less than." As a result, we make ourselves stronger - more confident and less insecure. We build on our strengths and grow our confidence.


For most of us, confidence is situational. For example, we feel confident at our local trial, but not at national events. Or we feel powerful in practice but not when an important Q is on the line. In these situations, we commonly focus on the outcome, and we fear we will fall short. And as I routinely preach, if we think solely about the outcome, we essentially skip past everything we must do (aka process) and fast-forward to the end.


If your confidence needs a boost, remind yourself you will get stronger by thoughtfully pushing yourself AND reminding yourself that you are not your "failures." Work on your strengths while understanding the role vulnerability plays in your quest to become more confident. When vulnerability pops up, let it be a clue for you instead of immediately sweeping it under the proverbial rug.

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