I just got asked again if I am crazy. I am not crazy. I was not born with big balls, I was born with no balls! I do not believe that anybody was born with a “tough”- gene. Everybody that run class five have all worked hard to gain confidence and to build courage. The truth is that nothing comes for free in this world. Not even big balls.
What I have found in kayaking is an element in which I can play to such an extent that the fuzz of the world around me goes quiet. What you find in kayaking I do not know. Nevertheless there is something we kayakers share: A profound sense of belonging in the current of a flowing river. The reasons why this is so, are individual, private and intricate. They can not be put in a category and labelled. Except from one. FLOW. I think it was Evan Garcia that once posted this in his blog, in regard to Bomb-Flow. For Love Of Water. Simple. As. That.
I once in a while hear the following: “Technique can be learned, guts can not”. I call bullshit. This supposed truth blocks a major part of women from becoming their best. And a significant amount of guys. On the river, just like most other times in life, you need to be able to break it all down. Sometimes we need to analyze what went wrong. Then you need to get back on that horse. It sounds simple. It isn´t. But it is doable. If your mistake is due to lack of skills, then step back. Was it just a mistake, well then do not beat yourself up over it. Shake it off, and maybe even walk back up and try again. But never ever ever believe that you will not get better, because you “have no guts”!
Courage is not something we are born with. It is something we achieve. And damn, it is hard work! To build courage you need to put yourself into situations where it is in play. Start with small drops, rapids, slightly more technical rapids and waterfalls. If you find yourself stuck in your comfort zone then it does take an effort to pull yourself out of there. The first step is to find a goal just outside of it, yet not too far away. It doesnt have to be a 10 meter waterfall. It can be simply chosing a different line down a rapid you have run 100 times. But most imporantly: YOU have to actively change your path.
Yes, ladies, the men are born with more testosterone. But we are born with more brains (fact) and finesse (fact). I am not saying it is easy to build courage. But to blow off your potential with ” I have no guts, so I will never get better anyways” is just not good enough. It all starts with small steps. They are the most important ones. In addition, when you run something smoothly and how you wanted to run it, step back and analyse. Why did you manage to pull it off? Recognise how well you have done, and be proud of yourself.
Eventually you will find that by building courage in one discipline, it can transfer into other disciplines. I just tried my first backflip on skis. Not because I am crazy. I am not even a good skier. But it was a resonable step outside of my comfort zone that I was ready to take. More important though than having it transfer to skiing, is that building courage on the water can transfer into your life off the water. The potential gain is immense: Improved self-esteem, an alerted ability to cease chances when they arise, standing up in difficult situations and not at least: To fulfill your potentials.
In my opinion, we do not need to paddle like the guys. We need to paddle like girls. Embedded in this statement is a profound belief that we can do exactly the same as the guys, but we need to figure out our own ways to do so. In other words, we can not just follow in the footsteps (paddlestrokes) of men.
No more excuses, ladies. Time to get to work.