Snowboarding and I have a tough relationship. We’ve been on and off for years but I haven’t been able to fully commit because of my fear of falling and I’d have to trust in my body. Yea, because that sounds easy 😒
Every year it’s been like starting from scratch. Feeling the snow, feeling the board and putting some trust in the mountain. But every year, I would avoid learning the most critical move in snowboarding “turning into the mountain and flicking the board”. My mind was blocking it. I couldn’t do it.
Two years ago, I was boarding down Whakapapa (the big mountain), I went to turn into the mountain, I wasn’t leaning forward enough, clipped the back of the board and fell backward (my worst fear). I hit my lower back so hard and have been terrified to do it ever since. Last year we went up and I only tried it on a flat section where falling wouldn’t be the worst thing. I avoided it everywhere else.
I wasn’t trusting my body, I wasn’t trusting the board and I wasn’t trusting myself to take it step by step and open up. I wasn’t allowing my body to relax and I wasn’t being present in the moment and truly focusing on what I was doing. I was too busy worrying about falling and doing everything I can to avoid it.
That’s how fear gets us. The thoughts of what will go wrong, how we might get hurt, how it won’t work out, playing out every scenario. It stops us from surrendering, from being vulnerable and allowing the experience to flow and happen how it’s meant to. We do this with new opportunities, new experiences, and new relationships. What a way to live.
So, this weekend I tried something different. I stayed in Happy Valley (the beginner’s area) all day. My main focus was to relax my body and turn into the mountain. For the first few runs, I was still too in my head and still too worried about falling, so I took a moment.
At the top of the hill I sat down, I cleared my head and I walked myself through the motion “turn, kick, flatten out, turn” over and over again. I visualised what I looked like doing the movements as I boarded down the hill. I told myself it wouldn’t hurt if I fell because I wouldn’t be rigid. My body would be relaxed. I did this for 5 minutes. I just sat there and came into the moment.
My next run wasn’t perfect but I TURNED!!! I wasn’t fully relaxed, but I wasn’t as rigid. PROGRESS! Each run was a little better than the last. I had a big fall, but I got straight back up, kept going and turned again. I did this over and over again and talked myself through the motion, ingraining it into my memory.
Kyle asked if I wanted to go up the mountain and I said no. I wanted to stay in Happy Valley and keep practicing. I wanted to get more comfortable with the movement before adding in more stress and pressure. And that’s ok.
We get to choose how we work through fear. As long as we overcome it, in whatever way works. No one can dictate that for us unless we ask them to push us. We can’t overcome fear by pretending it’s not there or telling ourselves we’ve conquered it but it’s still there. We need to be honest with ourselves and take the steps needed to understand what’s causing the fear and what it’s going to take to beat it.
When we work through fear for someone else, we can put more pressure and stress onto ourselves because we feel like we have to overcome something quickly because someone expects me too. How often does that work? Not often. We need to do it for ourselves.
I got off the mountain yesterday (after it started snowing – YES SNOWING!!) feeling like I finally knew how to snowboard properly (not just slide down the mountain). I wasn’t going fast or doing tricks, but I had overcome a fear that had made a home in my head with a fence around it. I did it slowly and I did it by surrendering. Surrendering into my body, trusting that my feet knew how to move and trusting that the board would move smoothly as long as I allowed it to, in that moment. I worked on being present so that I could control how I responded to what was happening.
Overcoming any fear in life is the same. It takes surrendering, trust and presence in the moment to know it will be ok. And if it’s not, we will get back up and do it again. Until we are happy. Until we have received our reward. For me, that was to turn on demand, flatten out my board and turn the other way. That’s all I wanted and I wasn’t going to stop until I did it.
(Note – I started the day throwing a tantrum because I couldn’t get it and told Kyle I had had enough – so it wasn’t all progress and happiness 😂)
As we approach the end of yet another year (crazy isn’t it), take some time to identify what fears you have that are holding you back. What are you avoiding working through that is stopping you from taking that next step?
Once you’ve identified it, ask yourself these questions to start working through it:
1. What’s the worst that could happen? What am I so afraid of?
2. What evidence do I have of these scenarios actually happening?
3. What will I gain if I push through this?
4. How will I feel once I overcome it?
Let the answer to 3 and 4 be your motivation to push through. Let it be your driver to overcome the fear holding you back and achieving what you always told yourself you couldn’t.
It’ll be amazing when you do 💛
What fears have you overcome? What do you to do work through them?
– TashTasticNZ –