I went snowboarding over the weekend with my husband, my Uncle and his 3 children. The thing that struck me about my weekend experience in Utah was my 10-year-old cousin, Kate. Kate is a petite and smaller than average girl who is incredibly athletic. My husband and I snowboard and they all ski. I have snowboarded for just about 10 years now and I consider my self quite competent and skilled and can do a black diamond run with no problems but I don’t do tricks or rails, I just love to ride down the mountain and enjoy the experience itself. It is very liberating, fun and certainly challenging at times.
Kate is an avid gymnast and can do countless back handsprings, back flips cart wheels and a myriad of other amazing tricks, she is rather remarkable to watch and reminds me of an energizer bunny, she will just go and go and go with no breaks and her energy is limitless. I wish I had that much energy!
When I asked my uncle Kate’s level of skill down the mountain, he said she is absolutely “fearless, “ but her skill level is not equivalent to her own perceived ability. I watched her ski all day and she beat me down the mountain many times. I was so amazed by her, she had only taken 2 lessons and this was her second time skiing. I couldn’t stop thinking about my experience with her, she taught me a lot about myself and how I think about fear, skill and courage.
Where Do We Learn to Fear?
The only way to describe my cousin Kate is that she is absolutely FEARLESS. It was fascinating to watch her confidence build over the course of the day. In the beginning she was only a little bit in front of me and towards the end of the day, she was so far ahead that I could barely keep up!
So what is it about this thing called fear and where to we learn it? We learn it through failure, through loss, through taking things personally and we learn it through life experience. If we don’t grow thick skin and some serious moxie and resilience as we experience life, we learn to fear and we learn how not to be resilient and we learn to quit, stuck in our tracks and stagnant. Would you rather overcome your fear or would you rather stay stuck? I know what I choose!
I remember learning how to snowboard and before I took a lesson, I absolutely had the idea that I was not going to be able to do it. I went 3 times before I thought, I either need to take a lesson, or I am going to quit, I cannot fall again or I am going to freak out or injure myself. So I took a lesson and I immediately understood some basic mechanics and I could snowboard, well at least semi-decently.You could say that I became consciously skilled at snowboarding but I needed to learn more, snowboard more in order to improve.
It took one more 4-hour private lesson and many trips to the mountains of Northern Japan and Telluride, Colorado where I learned to become a skilled snowboarder. But reflecting back on that experience, I realized because I had played sports, was fit and highly coordinated, my level of skill and confidence was better than I thought it was. However, I let fear and my lack of perceived ability stop me from improving at a faster rate. Kate showed me how quickly one can learn if we can conquer our fears and just DO IT without reproach, without thinking about what I was doing wrong, harness that inner confidence and just ride down the mountain.
On one of the last runs at the Brighton ski resort, our uncle took a wrong turn and we had to battle a double black diamond, we could see the bottom where it flattened out, there were rocks, and deep snow but it was not a far way to go. Dustin, my husband went first, not a huge deal, I watched Kate, she didn’t even think twice, or hesitate and down she went, straight down the deep gradient, she was graceful and she made it look simple. I then conquered it, it was very strategic so I didn’t fall but I was not afraid, I just didn’t want to hit the rocks and hurt myself! By the end of that day, Kate’s ability was equivalent to her fearless mindset. She is nothing short of amazing.
Stop Waiting for the “Right” Time
Life isn’t about perfection, or getting it right the first time, or even the second or third time. Sometimes we may need a little help and support and sometimes we just need to have confidence that although we don’t have the skills or competencies right this second, if we are open to learning, we can learn and if we have a level of fearlessness and courage like my cousin Kate, our skills will catch up to our courage and we will find that we are unstoppable.
Waiting for something to be perfect is a sure way to NEVER do something, not knowing and not acting are sure ways to keep you from living your dreams, procrastinating because you don’t know enough is definitely a way that will stop you in your tracks if you believe that to be true. What is it that you believe that is getting in the way of your ideals and dreams? What is the story you keep making up that is stopping you from getting what you want? Most of them are excuses and fears that are made up, not true and have become a habitual pattern of thought. The beauty about most things is that they can be overcome with some perseverance, the ability to keep going when it’s uncomfortable and it takes an inner burning desire to change.
There is a saying, “feel the fear and do it anyways.” If you are afraid or fearful, it usually means that you are being challenged and your mindset is stretching beyond the limits it knows. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the overcoming and mastery of it. Most of us are afraid of the anticipation of fear and not actually tackling of it. Most of us aren’t 100% fearless but we let our own perception and our own fears diminish what we are truly capable of doing.
Those great people in history like Martin Luther King, William Wallace, Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison; do you really think that they woke up being fearless 100% of the time? No, that would literally be impossible. However, they woke up with a burning desire to make a difference, make their contribution and what they did was remarkable and each one of them changed the world we live in today. Their desire to change, innovate and evolve was greater than their sense of fear and look at what they accomplished. World-changing greatness.
Don’t let anything stop you. Be like my cousin Kate, she truly knows no fear and she is limitless, she is unstoppable and she is an amazing example of what you can accomplish when you just go and do it.
Stop Being Your Worst Enemy- You CAN Do Amazing Things
Kate, me and you, we are all AMAZING. We never let ourselves truly see how capable we are because we give up too easily, we fall too many times and don’t have the courage to get back up again. I assure you if you try, try and try again, you will get to that place you want to go with some seriously awesome stories, you will have a resilience you didn’t have before and become you person you were intended to be, AMAZING and UNSTOPPABLE.
Don’t let fear stop you, don’t let failure harden you, don’t let fear-based beliefs negate you from your happiness, success and goal achievement. It can be your worst enemy and we fill ourselves with inadequate beliefs like; I am not good enough, I am not smart enough, I can’t do that, I don’t have the skills, I don’t have a degree, I will look foolish if I try, I am not worth it.
It is up to you to STOP the insanity and the inner fear-based chatter. If you want to live a passionate and fulfilling life, you are going to have to overcome yourself and don’t let your ego-mind stop you from doing the things you want and achieving what you can achieve. When something you want eludes you or you just don’t quite get it, reevaluate, be flexible and keep on trying.
You are amazing when you overcome your self-imposed limited beliefs.
I believe in you.