Growing in confidence through failure

We all struggle with confidence from time to time, whether it’s trying a new hobby or casting out into the deep with a major life change. But what we might forget is that we don’t grow in self-confidence only when we succeed. We grow also in our failures.

“I moved out of the house recently at eighteen and I have made a lot of mistakes or at least feel like I’ve made a lot of mistakes and they come back to haunt me. And I’m just having a hard time letting go,” explained Tony from Illinois.

“You know, Tony, you’re a young guy. If you keep embracing the struggle, if you do difficult things, if you look at your accomplishments rather than focusing solely on your mistakes, your confidence will grow,” said Joe Sikorra, licensed therapist and host of The Joe Sikorra Show on Relevant Radio®. “I remember when I was about your age I had a lot of struggles. I always felt like I was the small guy—not strong enough, not smart enough—and the confidence slowly grew in my own life. And it wasn’t from doing everything right. Really, quite honestly, sometimes the confidence actually grows when you go out, make a mistake and you fall on your face and you get back up on your feet. Because that’s what being really tough is, or resilience, it’s not about having it all together. It’s about life knocking you down and getting back up.”

“Look, I’m impressed that you moved out of the house at eighteen. To me, to say, ‘Hey you know what? At eighteen I’m going to go out and I’m going to face that big bad world, I’m going to take it on.’ You’ve got to have some confidence to be able to do that. Give me one thing, Tony, that you think is a strength that you have,” said Sikorra.

“Uh, I guess, making mistakes. That’s for sure,” replied Tony.

“Alright, let’s twist that. Let’s tweak what you just said. I think you’re adventurous. I did something similar and I made a lot of mistakes when I did it. I think I moved out of my house when I was nineteen. Man, I was adventurous! I didn’t believe anybody who said, ‘Joe, you can’t go to New York and actually make a living.’ I said, ‘I don’t care what you think! I’m doing it anyway!’ Now again, I made a lot of mistakes; I did things I regret. But, I said, I’m going to try!”

Sikorra gave Tony an imaginary gold star for his adventurous and humble spirit. “You’re okay. You’re going to grow a lot but don’t stop taking chances. Keep that faith, hold onto the faith; ask God to walk with you. I’ll leave you with this thought: Peter, when he saw Jesus he was out on the boat, Peter understood the law of physics and gravity and everything else. He said, ‘Lord if that’s you, call me out of this boat and walk on the water.’ And, Peter, as you know, Tony, he walked on the water. He got about halfway there and he sunk and yelled, ‘Lord, save me!’ And that’s a great example for us to all follow. There are going to be times that you walk on the water and there are going to be times that you sink and the job to remember is, ‘God, save me.’”

Listen to the full conversation here:

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.