Overcome Fear of Failure
When the invitation to go paddle boarding with friends was introduced I thought, why not. Since the arrival of my fifties I have aspired to live in a world of why not,and this a fortuitous occasion to cross something off my bucket list, besides for the opportunity to spend time with friends while I apprenticed dedication and perseverance.
Although I had never paddle boarded before, after digesting frequent commercials where people leisurely drifted by on their boards, I was sure it would be a breeze, even convincing another friend of it. A reminder that things always look easier when done by someone else, but now I'm getting ahead of myself.
“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” - Mary Tyler Moore
1. Be Optimistic
On the day of our trip several small storms still lingered in the area, so we decided to meet for breakfast before heading to the lake. After breakfast we drove to our destination and as the rain ended, we were ready to begin. The persistent clouds concealed the sun creating the perfect temperature, with the cool breeze softening the summer heat. It was late morning when we finally approached the park; equipped with our swimsuits, flip-flops, and a Bellini or two, leaving us blissfully unaware of the cresting waves.
Loaded with inspiration and optimism we traipsed into the boat house ready to sign our waivers and pay the rental fee. While staring out the window the clerk motioned to the choppy water then quipped how we were sure to fall in, and just like that, extinguished my bravado. Now barefoot and harnessed in our life jackets, there was no turning back. With our boards aligned in the water, after the brief instructions were given, one by one we navigated away from shore while balancing on our knees.
2. Pride and Confidence
Once into the deeper waters I found myself quite comfortable in the saddle, but as the other girls stood, they awaited my arrival. With trembling legs I commenced to rise, chanting an inaudible pep talk to myself while I unpacked my confidence. Wide stance, spongy legs, feet parallel. The once placid lake angrily forced us towards the shore creating an upsurge of unnecessary waves, draining my pride and confidence as I quickly learned how tricky paddle boarding would be.
Each pursuit void of harmony and skill, awkwardly delivered me into the agitated brown waves again and again. After many attempts, my chutzpah was submerged and trepidation began negotiations as it ransacked my brain for the reasoning I once held. By this time as I was water logged with doubt and hustling any form of concentration felt absurd.
Determined not to abandon the challenge I had to rebuild my tenacity and try again. The combination of my girlfriends faithful voice and my own inner monologue established the motivation necessary to persevere, even when logic warned me to remain seated. Once we finished and headed back to shore I was grateful for not surrendering to my own embarrassment, especially after a sixty-minute process of dedication allowed me, after many muddled attempts, rhythm and balance on the board.
The morning on the paddle boards nudged out memories of the new beginnings we all observe.Learning something different never unfolds like our minds eye displays, often we fail many times before something great is revealed. Each season of success allows us the opportunity to choose relationships that motivate and encourage in our lives. Although I was the first to fall, eventually we all did. I could have given up many times and paddled back to shore, filling my thoughts with reasonable excuses not to continue. Instead I kept trying, knowing I would improve by not surrendering.
Whether it is fear of failure or the attached embarrassment that anchor you, each stumble becomes another freedom of expansion. Step to the edge and through trial and error you will uncover your gifts that lay hidden at the place where pride emerges. Seeking guidance with encouragement from friends will bolster our inner being, helping us through the rough sea while welcoming confidence and gratitude through experimentation. Through it all I realized in order to catch any of your dreams you must lose your fear of failure.