I spent a few days at the cable park this week. Working on becoming a total badass, of course. And I’m a few steps closer today. What I didn’t expect was to learn some serious life lessons.
While I was trying to work up the nerve to do a 3 on the funbox (English translation to come), I was given a piece of advice that I’ve been mulling over for days. I’ve found myself repeating these words to others in the context of life, work, and relationships. If only they knew where I’d heard it!
“You have all of the skills you need. The only thing you’re missing is confidence. You can do it. Be confident and go for it!”
Thank you, oh wise cable operator Nathan …who is likely 10 years younger than me but has somehow unlocked one of life’s greatest nuggets of wisdom.
We find ourselves challenged every day. In sports, life, work, and relationships. What keeps us from growing and progressing?
It’s doubt. Fear. A lack of confidence in ourselves. It’s a hesitation to take a step beyond what we already know, because we haven’t done it before.
Let’s bring it back to the cable park. As of writing this, I can count the number of times I’ve been to the cable park on one hand. I’ve been able to carry over the board skills I’ve learned from kiteboarding to cable. You could do the same with skateboarding, snowboarding, wakeboarding… basically any board sport. It only took a few minutes to pick up the basics. Complete beginners? A couple hours of practice should do it.
Once I had the basics locked down, I was ready for some progression. My first attempts were air tricks. Kiting.. cable.. same thing, right? Wrong. So I switched to hitting features- the reason most people go to the cable park! With friends to egg me on, I was mostly successful in my first few kicker hits. It felt great.
When I arrived at Orlando Watersports Complex this week, I set a goal to ride my first table, which is a long, flat feature that was affectionately nicknamed “the funbox.”
I aborted the first approach about a foot away from the box. My coach (a.k.a Nathan) was confused. He said my form and angle were perfect, and couldn’t figure out why I’d stopped. Simple: I was afraid I was doing it wrong. Without even trying it, I’d given up.
So I took several deep breaths and tried again. And made it most of the way across, sliding the rest of the way on my butt. Eh, not bad. The next piece of advice was to stay squared up with shoulders and hips over the board, and not to bring my hands up to my chest in an attempt to balance, but to keep them low by my hips.
Sweet. Next attempt, I nailed it and threw in a 180 off just for kicks! I was stoked. I got back to the front of the cable line and was excited to share my success with coach. “That was easy. Go for the 3!”
My first reaction was negative: I can’t.
I’d never done a handlepass of any sort before. Not even on a kite! And then he said it…
“The only thing you’re missing is confidence. You can do it. Be confident and go for it!”
I took it to heart. The next day on the cable, I went for a 360 on the funbox. I got it on the 3rd try. And now I know I can. And I am beyond excited to find out what else I can do!
Interestingly, I was always capable of it. I had just built up this fear and doubt. I had the skill, I lacked the confidence. I am so lucky that there were people around me to remind me. To inspire confidence in myself and in my abilities.
It was a valuable life lesson. How many times a day do we just.. not do something because we don’t know how? Or because we’re afraid we won’t be good at it? How often do we doubt ourselves and question our capabilities? When has that ever helped us?
I’m learning to notice when I shy away from challenges – in life, work, love, and sports – and ask myself: Is it because I’m incapable, or just afraid of trying?
So far, it’s only been the latter.
The next time you find yourself turning away from a challenge, ask yourself “Why?”, and dare yourself to try. You might be surprised by the results!