A Search For My Old Friend Confidence


“I once asked an old man, ‘What does it take to become great at something in this world?’ He stared at me and said, ‘To the great pains you must go; a lustful search in the dark is all you’ll ever come to know.’

— The Artist and The Olympian

This chapter of my life is titled “In Pursuit Of Excellence.” It’s funny, but this just came to me right now as I am sitting here writing – I lost my mojo a long while ago. I lost that supreme confidence in what I was doing. I know exactly when this happened as well.

I lost a massive amount of confidence in myself when my elbow fell apart my senior year of high school. Somewhere deep inside of my I knew that things would never be the same. When you start to have structural problems in your arm as a pitcher, it just never comes back the same as it did before. God I was so confident before all of that happened. I would walk out onto the mound with this vigor and excitement. I had prepared for the entire year before this season and I was ready to face off with the best of the best. And I did – and I won. Then, all of my momentum was crushed. My dreams of pitching down south were obliterated. My future became quite uncertain and the goal I had been working towards since I was 5 years old became a big question mark.

I built and raked those pitching mounds for other players and tried to help them out as much as possible. I tried to be a good teammate. But in all honesty, I hated every minute of not being on the field competing. I hated watching other players pitch in my spot in the rotation. I hated watching my team lose games I know I could have helped them win. I hated my arm. I hated my life for this happening when everything seemed to be turning towards something more positive.

Baseball was life for me. Even when I got into college ball I didn’t have my confidence. It was gone. I threw scared. I was scared. I was scared that my arm was going to continue to fall apart even after a surgery – and it did. My worst nightmare came true. I walked into my coaches office and told him I had to hang up the cleats because my body couldn’t do it anymore.

The day I quit baseball was hands down one of the worst days of my life.

Even writing that brings tears to my eyes. I miss the sport. I miss playing the game I fell in love with so much. I miss walking out onto the mound and having that air about me. My dream fell to pieces and I had to let it go because no one could figure out what was wrong with my elbow. But I realize that even through all of this, I lost my confidence. I lost the confidence in myself and being able to follow through on my dreams.

Sounds pretty weird for me to be saying this because I know I have accomplished a lot over the past few years – but in the same breath – I know that I am not on the level I used to be. When I walked out on the mound there was no way you were going to beat me. There was no doubt in my mind and I was going to do everything in my power to ensure that positive end result. No obstacle. No hitter. No bad call was going to stop me. I would continue pounding away at the strike zone with merciless intent and I knew if I brought everything I could bring we would win.

I lost it.

I lost that belief in hard work. I lost that edge. I lost a huge piece of myself when my elbow went “pop.”

And I am going to get it back. I am going to get it back because that level I was at, that was the real deal for me. I was at my best. I was in the moment and I was determined beyond belief. I want it back and I am going to go find it again. Somewhere, deep within me it sits. But like the quote said about – to find that greatness you must be familiar with the great pains and darkness. There is no doubt that somewhere deep down within the caves of my heart this confidence sits. It’s there – it never went away. But I want to be able to call on it again. I want to take it and bring myself to places I could never have possibly imagined.

I am going for it.

– Evan Sanders

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  • Julie Goyder
    March 21, 2014 at 5:45 am

    I understand this feeling so well having been afflicted by a debilitating skin condition on hands a feet. Your blog inspires me – thank you.

    • thebettermanproject
      March 21, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Thank you so much! What a great comment. I hope that you continue to battle through it and reach for the sky.

  • Bill Forbes
    March 21, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Taking this step is the first step of the rest of your life. It is not always so much if one makes it back to where one was. It is very often a matter of recognizing that many times one door has to close for the next one to open.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • thebettermanproject
      March 21, 2014 at 10:18 am


      Thank you for your stream of great comments. I agree with you. I am not trying to go backwards, but bring something from the past into my present which I can definitely use right now. So many doors opened for me, but I need to bring this back into my life so I can run through them.

      All the best,


  • carlotta
    March 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    WOW! I guess you were one of the very very lucky ones…You were able to delay the day to find out you’re only human! You are so blessed!

  • Widdershins
    March 21, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    My dreams of athletic stardom got smacked out of me by a semi-trailer, so I understand that such things can break your soul.

    The trick for me was to realise that there were other things in this world that would stitch those broken bits back together again. Not to be the same, never that, but different, better.

    Perhaps this is what being a ‘grown-up’ truly means.

    Keep the faith. You will get there, wherever your ‘there’ is.

  • Andrea
    March 22, 2014 at 3:07 am

    Sometimes (most of the time) we have to look back to move forwards. Good luck. You can do it!

  • Rajiv
    March 22, 2014 at 3:43 am

    Very well said!

  • Myriad Hues
    March 23, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Wonderfully written Evan. This comes like a mirror reflecting my inner thoughts. I think I will read this several times over. I tore my ACL last season and needed something like this to understand what exactly it is that I have lost in my mind before next season comes calling. You have obviously been through all of this and are at a different point in your life..but thank you for sharing this and I hope you get back what went away temporarily! 🙂

  • Writing to Freedom
    March 24, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Hi Evan, I can so relate. I lost my mojo & confidence along with losing most of my life’s savings in stocks. So far, I can’t seem to turn it around and make money in stocks, but I am determined to find a way. Brad

  • StoryTeller
    March 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks for following my blog, and for your honesty here.

    As someone for whom finding confidence has not been a matter of rediscovery, but rather of unearthing – or perhaps even building – that which never existed before, there is a part of me that sort of envies you the fact that you had any to begin with. But only sort of. 🙂

    As I look back over life, I can see that my trajectory in terms of self-belief (or belief in the One who makes me a better ‘me’) is overall an upward one. Which is good. The fact that you had to be knocked down before being built back up must have been hard beyond belief. Still, you have learned (or are learning?) the key lesson – its not being knocked down that is the problem, its staying there.

    Hang on in there. It can, and does, get better. What is more, some of the wisest, kindest, most decent people in this life are the ones who have known that darkness and that pain. Let me ask you this, would you be a better person *now* if your elbow had not failed on you back then? Honestly…? 😉

    Take care and keep up the good work.