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Sunday, April 2, 2017

2 Ways to Be Ok With Being a Beginner + Why It's Important to Living a Meaningful Life

Today was kind of a big deal for me. Not because I won a SUP competition or amassed millions of dollars in my sleep. But it marked a moment that was hugely important. I made time to perfect a passion I have neglected.

What was it? SUP surfing, of course.

More times than I can possibly count on my hands, toes, dollars and more, I declared tomorrow would be the day I'd get my buns down to the water and FINALLY "perfect" this goal of mine.  Just as many times, sadly, those "tomorrows" came and went without a trace of sand circling the drain of my bath tub.  When I realized I missed my personal appointment, I'd often reflect upon this discrepancy. I know how jazzed I am about SUP + surfing, but unsure as to why I am not to doing it.

Talk about confusing thyself.

Okay, yeah, there are important things to get done. People to see, places to go. But even dedicating some time was better than nothing at all. I got very curious about this mystery. As an experiment, I decided to go do it. 

Just as I suspected, I discovered some fear lurking behind my procrastination and excuses. When I'm doing something I have zero or little experience in, I'm afraid of messing up and being laughed at. In fact, images of people standing on the beach laughing at me was enough for me to want to call it a day. The last thing I wanted to do was make a fool of myself. While battling with my head and my heart,  I realized what I needed to hear in order to move forward anyway. Here are a few truths that helped me through it...

Truth #1. Be ok with being a beginner One of my favorite reminders as to why it's important to drop the perfectionism and be a beginner is this: "If you are not willing to look stupid, nothing great is ever going to happen to you." These words move me to my very core. I'm reminded that 1.) I don't need to be perfect to start because NO ONE EVER IS when they're learning something new. 2.) If I don't do things that aren't outside of my skill level, I may miss out on the chance of making a memory of a lifetime, or making myself proud, or connecting with a kindred person I wouldn't have met if I didn't do it at all. Most importantly, if I'm afraid of looking silly, I'll never do it! Period.

In fact, looking "stupid" is a sure way to know you're open and living life

Truth #2. Make friends with your fear
 I'm good with car metaphors: In our mind, when we want to do something new, but aren't doing it, it's as if there's a little invisible break pedal being pressed while we are pushing the accelerator of the car. We should be moving toward our destination (the thing we are excited about doing) but we're spinning our wheels and going nowhere. This tricky little spin-out is also known as fear. It's not a coincidence that excuses and procrastination magically surfaced whenever I got close to venturing off to surf.  It was plain ole' fear. 

The thing to remember is that fear is a natural part of human existence. It kept us safe when we were running around earth trying not to be eaten by predators. Pretending fear doesn't exist only heightens it. Same if people treat you as if you're strange or weak for feeling fearful. In fact, these people should be paddle-slapped, immediately. (Ok, I'm kidding --- Sort of. ;) Point is: Everyone feels this way! But it doesn't mean we should let it drive the car. The one thing to know about fear is that when we are kind and gentle with it, it can soften, which ultimately opens some space to move forward.  

I wish I had a heroic ending to my surf experience today. But honestly, I don't. A lifeguard approached me. At the end of our conversation, he suggested that I take lessons from a local SUP shop. {God, was I laughing.} I didn't die of humiliation. There was some truth to it...the truth is that it is smart to enlist the help of someone who knows more than you. That way you'll excel quicker. :)

Needless to say, I won't be entering a SUP surf competitions yet. However, I felt victorious on a personal level. I did it despite all my worries and fears of looking stupid and I was absolutely fine. 

I'm excited to do it again on Tuesday. ;) 

Here's to wishing you a week full of new experiences that has the potential of making you look stupid! May it lead you to your greatest happiness.

Love + Sun,


Your Beachonista 

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