Two keys to maneuvering life's challenges

I sat down to write my newsletter this morning and found myself at a loss. My husband, Tom, and I were at a local coffee shop, appreciating a change in scenery from our work-from-home scenario that occupies most days. I thought I'd write to you about trusting yourself, having faith in the process of whatever path you're currently on, fun stuff like that.

But my mind was blank.

I sat there and tried to come up with the words but the harder I tried, the more frustrated I got. And the more frustrated I got, the more my confidence started to waver. My inner committee piped up telling me all sorts of awesome things like, "what are you thinking trying to be a coach and entrepreneur in the first place? You can't even write a simple newsletter. How can you possibly expect to achieve your BIG Vision for this business and actually help people?"

The irony of this is that I'm certain it was the idea behind my story that triggered this whole "all of a sudden I can't write anything valuable" episode and ensuing nosedive in my confidence. While most days I can say with absolute certainty that success in my business is imminent, and I am riding this fantastic wave of momentum that's pulling me rapidly towards the ultimate manifestation of my BIG Vision, there's still a tiny part of me that doesn't truly trust that I can make it happen. My faith is about 95% ON, but that 5% OFF can be scary as f*ck when it pops into my consciousness.

So, Tom, being the wise, insightful and intuitive man that he is saw me struggling and made a brilliant suggestion.

"Why don't you take a break this week to regroup and bring in a guest post instead of beating your head against the wall?"

The man is a F*CKING GENIUS.

And he's a terrific writer and coach too. As it turns out, he was on to my slipping confidence and had a fantastic analogy to make that helped me to see my lack of faith and trust in myself (that annoying 5% rearing it's ugly, maniacal head) and gave me some awesome advice for turning it right around.

So it is with tremendous pride that I present my husband Tom's story to you below. The timing of his topic was perfect for me to help me get my head on straight again, and if I know the workings of the universe in the way I think I do, it will be perfect timing for you too.

Photo credit: Tom Birks, Slickrock Trail, Moab, UT, 11/2013

Momentum and Confidence

by Tom Birks

Life is filled with challenges. While Amy conquers the battles of growing her coaching business in Denver, I'm gazing out at an otherworldly landscape of red rocks and sandstone in Moab. I'm in Utah to mountain-bike. I'm a mountain-biker. I don't expect a challenge but my first ride on the Slickrock trail surprises me. It's like nothing I've ever ridden.

I'm used to riding among rocks, most of my riding is in the aptly named Rocky Mountains, but here the whole trail is on top of one gigantic rock. It doesn't look like something one would want to fall upon or off of, and to be honest, I'm a little freaked out.

The trail climbs a steep incline, levels off and then drops back down. I squeeze the brakes in an attempt to slow to a comfortable speed. My bike mirrors my own fears by skipping and twitching along the uneven surface. It's then that I realize that I'm being silly.

The trail is easy, it's my head that's making it difficult.

After a few minutes of riding I know what Slickrock demands. It's just two things, the same two things that are required for most of life's challenges... 

Momentum and confidence.


Momentum is the reward of hard work. Out on the trail, it's gained by turning the pedals over and over again. The harder you work, the more momentum you gain. When you reach the top of an arduous climb, gravity infuses you with even more momentum. It works the same way in the rest of life. The last thing that you want to do is waste that momentum.

As I glide down the steep pitch to the level surface below, I resist the urge to pull the brakes. Gravity has provided a gift, one that smooths the trail and will help me up the incline that I know will soon follow.


Confidence is harder to gain than momentum. It takes more than a few pedal strokes. It takes years. In the case of mountain-biking, my confidence comes from experience, miles spent traversing varied terrain on a multitude of bikes. It radiates from the bike I'm riding, the product of decades of constant innovation. The bond between my bike's tires and the sandstone inspires more confidence. It may be called Slickrock but the traction's akin to riding on sandpaper.

All of this combines to turn my fear into bliss.

Life's like that too. The confidence that we need to achieve our goals depends not upon a single experience, but a lifetime's. We draw upon what has worked in the past. We hone the tools that will guarantee victory. As we see the results of our determination, we grow more confident and push even further. 

I'd like to share that I attempted to ride Slickrock about 10 or 11 years ago, before I knew Tom, and got so far as to sit my ass in the saddle before realizing that I was in WAY over my head. "Momentum? SCARY. Confidence? What the hell is that? I'll see you suckers back at the campsite." So, friends, let's all take some great advice from my prolific, multi-talented husband:

  • The trail is easy; it's your head that makes it difficult. 95% of the time, it's your big brain that gets in the way, bringing your fears up to the surface for you. Whether they're legitimate or not (and in most cases, I'd venture to guess the answer is "NOT"), your mind can turn them into something way more scary than they really are. Get out of your own way; the trail is EASY.
  • Don't let your momentum go to waste by succumbing to fear. In mountain biking as in life, there will always be climbs and descents. Take that gift of gravity and be grateful for it. Ride the downhill as fast as you can so it'll help you up the next incline you come across at the same time. 
  • Remember your life's experiences to bolster your confidence when you're feeling that fear creep in. The bliss you seek is on the other side of that fear. Remember your bliss is out there, set the fear aside and look to your past as a measure of all that's possible for you ahead.

Good stuff right? 

How would you like to be a guest writer on my site?

It occurred to me today that my best, most helpful insights happen when I've got a Vulcan mind meld of genius surrounding me. We can all benefit from one another's experiences and thoughts, right? If you'd like to share your super-smarts here at, send me an email at InspireMe (at) with a topic idea and a little bit about who you are and what you're about. I can't wait to connect!

With love and inspiration (and major gratitude for the other Birks in this house),


PS... If you haven't seen it yet and are looking for a little motivation boost as we jump headfirst into the last month of the year, check out my free Motivation Roadmap for the Rebel Professional download. You'll find it here on my homepage.


Pssst... CLICK HERE to grab your FREE Ninja Toolkit!