What Would You Do if You Stopped Making Excuses?
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” - Mary Anne Radmacher
This may sound silly. But I have wanted to learn to paddleboard for YEARS, ever since I saw it for the first time while visiting Hawaii in 2013. It looked challenging and fun, but also serene. For me, it had the appeal of surfing without the risk, intensity or difficulty.
Back in San Diego, I started seeing SUPers everywhere: in the open ocean, on the bay, on Groupon, on Facebook. Every time I saw a SUP I wanted to give it a try. For the past two summers, I’ve talked and thought about it without actually taking any real action beyond asking friends if they'd be interested in going with me. It was a bit outside of my comfort zone and I didn’t want to go alone.
I made all kinds of excuses. I was too busy, it was probably too expensive, the weather was too hot, then it was too cold, I didn’t know how, it might be too hard for me, I'd probably look ridiculous, I might not even like it….
From the outside, I seem confident, outgoing, and adventurous. And I can absolutely be all those things. But I can also be insecure, introverted, and scared to try new things. I’m a Gemini after all, and I tend to hang out in both extremes of the spectrum. But really, what was I so afraid of? I knew if I didn’t try SUP this year, I would still be talking about it next summer. It just looked so fucking cool!
Determined to finally get on a SUP this summer, I decided to make it happen THIS weekend while I had time. I reached out to a couple of people but no one was able to come with me. I felt discouraged. By Saturday, I still had NO plan. I hadn’t even bothered to make a reservation.
A dream without a plan is just a wish, y’all. I manage programs for a living and I’m a life coach so I know action plans. And here I was making empty commitments to myself and a ton of excuses about why I couldn’t do it.
I finally did some research and within 15 minutes, I found The SUP Connection. It had great reviews, competitive prices, and availability for Sunday. I made a reservation online and showed up for my private lesson with Sam and her dog Jack, who rides at the front of her board (adorbs!).
And you know what? I LOVED it just as much as I thought I would. It was everything I wanted and easier to pick up than I expected.
It occurred to me that I turned SUP into Mt. Everest in my head. It became this extraordinary thing I would do someday, which let's be honest could have been never, all when making it happen took no more than 15 minutes. All I had to do was show up with an open mind. No special gear, no prior experience. Really, it was easy.
How many of you do this? Make regular things seem impossible, challenging, off-limits, unreasonable, crazy, scary. WITHOUT EVEN TRYING.
Our minds are incredible, but sometimes they get in our way and trick us into thinking that we are weaker and less capable than we are.
Think about something you’ve been wanting to do for a while.
Have you taken any steps to make it happen?
Are you making any assumptions about what is really required?
Are you creating a story about how difficult or impossible it is?
If you’re not ready, what can you do today to get you one step closer?
Once I got back from paddleboarding I suddenly felt brave enough to send out an email I’d been holding onto for months, too afraid of what others might think of me. Every small act of courage opens space for more courage.
Just imagine, what else would you do if you finally stopped making excuses?