Have you ever thought about a time when you could have done something different, tried something new, or conquered a fear, and when you were just at the point of trying, you backed away? What is it that stops us in our tracks? What prevents us from exploring uncharted territory? What I typically hear in my many walks of life is, “What if something bad happens? What if I can’t do it? I’m not sure; I’ve never done this before.”
Well, sometimes it’s our little ones who remind us that taking a chance can be freeing, invigorating, and confidence-building.
I had the recent pleasure of taking a vacation in beautiful Kauai, Hawaii. I was feeling frustrated that my son’s electronic devices were competing with our vacation in a big way. As a kid, I was always afraid of trying something new, so I said to my eight-year-old son, “Want to try surfing?”
At first he looked at me in horror for having to put that device down, but then tilted his head and said, “Sure, I’d like to try.” I was then horrified. What was I thinking sending him into the surf? Once I gathered myself, I “hired” my husband to be his protector. I watched as they listened to the instructor. I saw him test the waters to ensure he could swim to the board. Then off they went and paddled out to sea.
I almost fell out of my chair. Within 20 minutes, after many tries, a small (to me) wave was on the horizon. I looked up and there he was …paddling, balancing, standing up! Then a gust of wind caught him and boom! He was traversing the bay on a wave. I couldn’t speak.
Then I saw a rock. OMG. Even our video went astray at this point. But his instincts kicked in and he was fine. As they came to shore, I expected to hear, “No way! Not doing that again!” But you know what? He came out and said, “Mom! That was AWESOME! Can I do it again tomorrow?” and, “I was scared Mom, but I did it! Thanks for letting me try!”
Here’s what I learned: If someone provides that uncertain opportunity, consider catching the wave! Test and adjust your approach if needed. If something unexpected happens (the rock), rely on your instincts and experience to navigate the course, and when it’s over celebrate your success (we had ice cream). Also, stop surfing on your devices and do the real thing!
This post was originally published on LinkedIn.