It had been a long, long time since I tried something really, truly new that scared me.
It was not pretty and it was not easy.
It was exhilarating, terrifying, kinda humiliating, and really inspiring.
This spring break, I learned how to SURF in Costa Rica!!
On Day 3, when I was finally standing up more than falling, I had a revelation (a few, actually):
When you try something totally new – and hard to do – you start with a lot of instructions. You tell yourself the 1, 2, 3, 4 in your head. Chest up, jump up, feet parallel, look UP, butt DOWN, arm up, etc.
Pretty soon, you realize that your brain and/or your body just can’t follow all those instructions. They basically have to happen all at once. You can’t remember and recite them, you just have to DO.
Soon after that, you realize that instead of trying to control the whole thing (because you really, really CAN’T), you’re going to have to surrender and trust your brain/body to start getting it right-er.
Right about then, a great coach comes in so insanely handy. If, for example, you get up on your surfboard and they’re yelling “LOOK UP! Up! Up!!!” or “Lower, lower, lower, lower…”, at some point, that voice is in your head. It’s yours. Your body does it.
Everything gets magically better when you manage to get out of your head, stop comparing yourself to everyone else, and just go for it – maybe even celebrate the huge falls more because it means you tried harder.
And then, you do it again, again, again, again. You build muscle memory, find flow, feel joy.
What does surfing have to do with fundraising?
Why am I oversharing my midlife spring break experience?
Because asking people for money is about as natural as standing up on a board in the ocean.
Asking people for money is scary and hard.
And what finally makes you really great is practice, practice, practice, with, ideally, a good coach or two in your ear.
The courage to surrender your ego and trust in the alchemy of amazing donors and great causes.
And definitely, celebrating the failures right along with the successes.
Because those failures prove you are in the game, giving it everything you’ve got.
And here’s the thing: we are, all of us, always learning!
It is magical to remember what it feels like to go from not being able to do something to DOING IT!
And now, I want that feeling all the time.
How many things could you “break?” Approach as if you didn’t know how to do it, take a new tack, and make it so much better? What could you reinvent in your home life, your work life, your relationships?
Wouldn’t that make every day more memorable? Every success more meaningful?
I’m probably just hopped up on sunshine and salt water. But if you have a great “try something new” story, share it? Inspire others to keep reaching??