I’m 48 years old and I have never been on ice skates. That is, until yesterday. My 5½-year-old daughter, Jenna, has taken an interest in ice skating and I typically take her to the ice arena here in Park City where we are on vacation. I watch her skate while listening to the most incredible music they are playing on the sound system (CC Revival and the soundtrack from The Big Chill).
Every time we go, Jenna always asks me, “Mom, when are you going to ice skate with me?” And my answer has been, “Oh, maybe next time.” Yesterday, Jenna asked her usual question and as I prepared myself to give her the typical answer, she quickly spoke up and said, “Mom, please, please, skate today!”
I finally admitted to Jenna that I had never been on ice skates before. Jenna’s answer: “Mom, it’s easy—I’ll teach you!” And so there was nothing left to do but rent the skates and prepare myself for what I thought would be a dreadful outcome.
My heart was racing as I approached the ice on unsteady skates. Another woman could sense my apprehension. The absolute look of terror on my face was probably also a clue! She shared with me that there was another entrance to the ice rink that had “wider rails to hold onto.” And hold onto the rails, I did! Clutching every step of the way in the beginning!
When you are faced with something new in your life, you have two choices: Yes, to learning something new and getting out of your comfort zone; or No, I’m going to stay exactly where I am. Being uncomfortable or unsure of yourself and your abilities is no fun. It holds the possibility of making mistakes that others can see and being unsure of the outcome—two things that we want to avoid at all costs. Let me ask you a question: What is it costing you? What is your unwillingness to explore and discover something new costing you along the way? I can tell you that if I had not rented those skates and joined my daughter on the ice, the cost of not having the experience would have been high—possibly priceless.
As I made my way around the ice rink with Jenna a few times, I found that I was becoming a little more sure of myself. I was able to stop looking at my feet and the ice in front of me and actually look around a bit to see others skating. And here is the part that was totally unexpected. Total strangers would skate up to me to offer me tips. Sharing how to prevent a possible fall, places in the rink to avoid where the ice was not as solid. And, as I eventually was able to let go of the rails for a moment or two, those strangers would skate by and say, “Looking Good!” I had coaches, mentors and teachers all around me—people who love to ice skate and wanted to share it with a beginner like me. And my biggest fan? Yep, you guessed—Jenna! She was beaming and full of compliments every step of the way.
How about you? Is there something that you want to do or others have encouraged you to try and you keep avoiding the experience for fear of failure? What I learned that day was when we try something new, we will most likely fall down. It’s the attitude we take on when we get up that makes all the difference. And there are coaches, teachers and mentors everywhere waiting to share their knowledge with you so that, you too, can take on something new in your life—something that can possibly bring on new energy, passion and growth.
This past weekend, I watched many of the interviews with Michael Phelps (the new eight-time world record holder for swimming in the Olympics) and his first coach from when he was a young boy said that there was one trait Michael has always had. “He’s never afraid to take a risk or put it out there.” Well said. We have to take risks and get uncomfortable in life if we truly want to manifest all the passion and purpose that our lives are meant for.
Jenna and I skated for about an hour yesterday and I have to say that I was sad to leave the ice. What I anticipated was going to be a disaster turned out to be full of fun. I was willing to take a risk and get out of my comfort zone, moving through my fear. And in the end, it felt good.
© 2008 Joy Chudacoff
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