Kayaking can be such an exciting, fulfilling and challenging sport. It’s not always easy to know you’re progressing but then there are times you are left with no doubt. I’ve been trying to surf waves for months, listening to others advice, watching people (usually guys) on rivers, trying lots of different techniques, charging at waves, sneaking up to them, paddling full force, going in side on, backwards, forwards…nothing was feeling right. There would be days where I would get moody and petulant, deciding I’ll just never get it and that I should focus on something else.
But I persisted and one day I could simply surf all the waves I’d been struggling for months to get! But I think I could have perhaps learned this skill a lot quicker if I had changed one simple thing in my mind.
That I deserve to be on that wave as much as anyone else.
I know I’m alone in this way of thinking because, as always I talk to people about it. I’ll see someone (usually a guy) totally bossing it, spinning away, completely relaxed, owning the wave. Then I’ll think something like, “Wow, he knows what he’s doing, that’s his wave. I’ll just watch because I don’t want to get in anyone’s way or embarrass myself.” And there it is. I allowed these learning opportunities to pass me by because of performance anxiety and feelings of unworthiness.
It’s not a conscious thing. I don’t wander about day to day, worrying about what other people think of me or how they view me, but when I’m in the moment of performing the task I have to fight it all the way. Because that what I do now. I fight it. I’ll continue to fight it until it’s no longer there, until I truly believe I deserve this space, time and opportunity to learn.
Watch out kayaking…I’m coming for you