When it comes to women motorcycle riders, the one thing I notice again and again is this: most female riders are better than they think they are. I see this over and over during my motorcycle tours, bike gatherings and events, and coaching sessions. With robust research supporting the discovery that women consistently underestimate their skills and ability in the workplace, business, and academia, it’s no surprise that this permeates the motorcycling sphere, too.
While men tend to overestimate their talent and go for new things and new challenges even when they are objectively undertrained and lack the skills, women do the exact opposite. Across the board, even when women do possess the necessary skills in abundance, we tend to think we will do worse than we realistically can. If you struggle with your motorcycle confidence, here are some tips to help your confidence swing your leg over that saddle again and again.
Silence the Inner Critic
Feeling not good enough is a common theme among women. I’ve been there, too, and here’s the thing: the only way to shut up the inner critic is being conscious and mindful about your thought processes. Using your third-party observer, you are probably not only good enough, but also excellent in your motorcycling skills … or you are learning fast, investing in your training, and seeking support from other riders and mentors – all signs of becoming a great rider in my estimation. So whenever that inner critic raises its tiny voice again, work on consciously catching yourself, turning off the negativity, and getting on the bike in spite of the gyrations of your monkey mind. Monitoring your mental thoughts and catching that negative or derisive self-talk and replacing those thoughts with positive, uplifting ones can make a massive difference in your life on and off the bike.
Take in the Positive Feedback (Really!)
Very often we either demur or discount the positive feedback we get from others. Stop that right now, sister, and develop a new habit. If your riding partner tells you you’ve ridden a corner beautifully, practice accepting the positive feedback without shrugging and blaming good luck. Thank them and take a moment to really feel that feel-good feeling. If your moto training coach compliments you on your excellent balance, guess what? They aren’t being nice, they know what they are talking about and they see your talent. Soak it in! If your mentor tells you that you pulled off a perfect U-turn, you pulled a perfect U-turn. Own it and celebrate it! Don’t discount your win and make excuses why it’s a one-off event. Feel it, own it, and really take it in. Welcome positive feedback for what it is – positive feedback – and don’t minimize it, brush it off on chance, the right circumstances, or it being a one-time thing. Owning your accomplishments and really feeling them on the inside can do miracles for your self-esteem on the bike. And you deserve all the joy and liberation and freedom riding has to offer.
As motorcyclists, we never stop learning, and we love to take on new challenges. But as women riders, we often stop ourselves from trying new things because we’re fearful or scared: that we’re not skilled, experienced, or capable enough. Here’s the catch, though: How will you find out if you never try?
If you find yourself at a motorcycle event and get invited for a ride with a group of riders but you doubt your ability to keep up, join them anyway. If they’re riding above your ability you can always bail and take a shortcut back, or join another group that is riding at a more relaxed pace. If you’ve always dreamed of taking a longer motorcycle ride but have consistently held yourself back from doing so, push beyond your self-doubt, get the support you need, and do it anyway.
You know what? The only way to build our skills and push our own limits is by saying yes, going for that long ride, signing up for that training event, joining that motorcycle tour. It’s not so much about the worst that can happen. More importantly, focus on the positive: what’s the best that can happen?
Confidence isn’t about not being scared. It’s about taking action in spite of being scared. Do I still get nervous before a big trip even after 20+ years of riding solo? Yes, I do. But over time I’ve accumulated enough positive experiences that I push through the nerves much easier, and I know that the outcome is almost always positive. And THAT is what I draw upon to get myself to leave the garage…not the circus that’s going on in my mind. Can’t do it on your own? Reach out to me at Alisa@WomensMotorcycleTours.com for a breakthrough session.