How I stopped being afraid and then gave up anyway

I’m lying on the ground, looking up at the sky. I can’t help but notice how blue and cloudless it is. Everything hurts! My neck. My back. My ribs. But most of all my head. I feel tears welling up in my eyes. I curse under my breath. I-AM-NOT-GOING-TO-CRY!!

Let me back up a bit.

If you’ve been following me for a while you know I spend part of my winters working as a ski instructor. I love skiing and I love teaching people how to do it too. Especially kids!

But I also want to become a better skier myself. What better way than to enrol in a course for the next ski instructor level?

There is just one catch. Part of the ski instructor course is two days of snowboarding! (Don’t ask!)

It means I’ve got to learn how to snowboard. Or at least get good enough to survive two days on one. So before starting the instructor course I practise snowboarding. (Read about the lessons I took away from that experience here)

There is nothing comfortable about snowboarding for someone who’s always been a skier. I can’t move my legs separately. I have to stand with my back to the valley. Almost everything about snowboarding forces me to step out of my comfort zone that is skiing.

Related Post: Ignore the People Who Still Stop You From Living Your Own Life Now

When I get to the actual instructor course I’m very much a beginner still. I figure though as long as we stay on a practise slope I’ll be okay.

And now I find myself on the ground. Looking up at an incredible blue, cloudless sky. Tears welling up in my eyes. IT HURTS!!!

I just fell backwards, slamming my head into the ground. Again! By my own count I’m on seven or eight of falls exactly like this one.

Every time I’ve gotten back up. Every time I’ve been a bit more scared than before. As the pain subsides I feel fear rising up in me again. I give up trying to keep the tears inside and I cry.

I never thought this would happen to me, least of all on a ski slope. I’m now so scared to of smashing backwards into the slope again, I’m actually crying.

The last time I’ve been this scared I was on the verge of the burnout.

This is no burnout though! This is snowboarding!

My body hurts a little less now. My head has stopped pounding too (good thing I wear a ski helmet). I get up and try again. I will get the hang of snowboarding thing yet!!

Suddenly something in my body and mind clicks. When I move my body in a particular way, bring my hips towards the mountain that left turn is almost easy.

I try pushing my hips towards the mountain in the right turn. Lo and behold, this turn too is now much easier.

It only took me slamming my head backwards into the slope at least eight times and one & a half day of struggling on those same slopes, … but hang on there! This snowboarding thing may turn out to be fun after all.

A day later I’m back on skis. Grateful for the familiarity of it, I settle in to the rest of the course.

I’ve set a gruelling schedule for myself.

  • Get up at 4AM to work an upcoming Dare Greatly Coaching webinar.
  • Be on the mountain by 8.45AM for 5-6 hours of ski training followed by 2 hours of theory classes.
  • Home by 6.30PM, cook dinner and work some more.
  • In bed by 9, no later than 10PM
  • Do it all again the next day

2 Days into the course I stop eating healthy and opt for easy meals or none at all.

4 Days into the course I stop getting up at 4AM and move back the webinar date. My body seriously hurts from all the falling down while attempting snowboarding. So much so, I hardly sleep and spend most of my nights trying to position my body so it doesn’t hurt.

6 Days into the course I keep dozing off while driving to the mountain. Though I safely reach my destination, I know this to be my body’s most serious warning sign!

On day 7 I decide to finally do something I should have been doing all along. Something I say I do out loud twice a day. Once when get up in the morning and once when I go to bed:

“I treasure and honour my health and my body!”

By the end of day 7 I quit the course.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I want to share the lessons I took from this with you!

Getting out of one’s comfort zone can be really, really scary. And that’s okay!

Only after allowing myself to let my fear bubble to the surface and have a good cry, could I let go of that fear. Until that moment my focus had been on controlling my fear instead of learning something new. Or rather, my fear had been controlling me!

You can move beyond or through the fear and find a new comfort zone

When I acknowledged my fear but no longer let it control me, snowboarding finally clicked! It started to become fun. With every run I got a bit more comfortable. Were I to continue snowboarding could become a new comfort zone.

It is the same with learning anything new that is scary. Whether it is snowboarding or life, when we acknowledge our fear and not let it control us, we can focus on the things we want to learn. We can step outside our comfort zone to become comfortable in a new one.

In the end the most important thing is to stay true to one’s core values

I wasn’t treasuring my health, nor was I honouring my body. I was eating unhealthy or not at all. I wasn’t listening to what my body was telling me. Not when it wouldn’t let me sleep at night nor when it tried to go back to sleep while driving a car.

When I finally realised that I decided it was time to stop! Not doing so would not have meant breaking another promise I have made myself: live in line with my core values.

All of which leads me to this important question for you:

Are you living in line with your core values?

Go Dare Greatly!