What can I say about fear and self-doubt that we don’t know already? Yes, it sucks and it’s totally normal to feel both. Come on…we wouldn’t be considered human if we didn’t. And it never fails that these two always seem to pop up when there’s an opportunity for me to try something I’ve never done before.
As a California girl, I’ve always loved the beach experience. Give me the sun, sand, and waves any day. I’ve just never had the desire to learn how to surf. I love watching surfers and totally admire them, but it just wasn’t something I felt like I had to do in this lifetime.
Even when I was invited to attend a weekend by the beach and was offered a free surfing lesson, I passed it on to my 15-year-old godson. I knew this was something a teen would love to do. Besides, I was way too nervous to step foot on a surfboard.
Then the night before, I was offered an additional free lesson. My first instinct was “NO. I am not a surfer. Never have been and never will be.” Fear really grasped on at this point. A million scary scenarios ran through my head—like drowning or being attacked by a shark. You know the usual.
Not only was I afraid, but I’d never seen a girl my size surfing before. Would I even be able to do it? Would people on the beach make fun of me? What if I fall? I mean…I’m so out of shape.
Then the morning of the lesson came. I asked if I could try stand up paddle boarding instead, and unfortunately that was unavailable. Then, something just clicked. I could have easily declined the entire thing. But, I decided I’m not going to let fear control me and this moment—I was going to try surfing.
Don’t get me wrong, the fear was still lingering. From the second I put on the wet suit and as we walked over to the beach. It was still there as the instructors started our lesson, as I was led into the ocean with a surfboard strapped to my ankle, and as the waves started crashing into me.
And it wasn’t until the moment I actually stood up on that surfboard that the fear and self-doubt were washed away. Every single ounce of it was gone. At this point, determination was all that I had inside of me.
That’s me on the very first try! Just so you know, surfing is hard, exhausting, and you fall a lot. In fact, I tried it a couple of more times, only to fall into shallow water and sprain my ankle. Totally my own fault because I didn’t fall back like I was instructed to. But, even that can’t take away from the moment of conquering fear and self-doubt.
As I was going through the photos my hubby captured that day. I came across a short video I didn’t know he took. It shows me struggling to stand up on the surfboard. I can hear him quietly cheering me on…”Go babe. Go babe. Go babe.” The minute I heard that, my eyes filled with tears.
Even when we are afraid and don’t think we can accomplish something, there’s always someone out there who believes in you and your strengths. If you don’t think you have that person in your life, you’re wrong. I’m that person. I want you to know that I believe in you and I know that you can overcome anything you’re afraid of. Even if you fall or hurt yourself—get back up and try again. Believe me, we are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.