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Why I’m SO Glad I Stopped Saying “I Can’t”

Stop Letting Yourself Be Defined Be Untruths

Our family just returned today from a 12-day roadtrip to Arkansas and Missouri to spend time with both of our extended families. As usual, we spent a lot of time on the water. Because, as I’ve written about before, my family was pretty much all born with mega watersports genes.

Well, everyone, that is, but me. Somehow, I didn’t really get any watersports skills genes at all.

I’m not kidding. Trust me on this one.

Stop Letting Yourself Be Defined By "I Can'ts"

So, for years on our trips to Bull Shoals Lake, I’ve contented myself with tubing, riding in the boat, watching kiddos, and (let’s be honest) hanging out in the cabin reading. Because I’ll take a good book over waterspots any ‘ole day.

I usually at least make one attempt at water-skiing on each trip to the lake. Just to make sure, you know, that I didn’t magically get injected with the watersports gene in the past 12 months. 🙂

And the attempt always ends in failure. But that’s okay, because I’ve really owned the fact that I have other gifts and core competencies and I’m good with leaving the watersports proficiencies to others.

This year, my family brought a knee board and most everyone learned how to knee board. I didn’t even consider trying because, well, I’m not good at watersports.

But as I watched others in my family learn how to knee board, it really looked like fun. Then, Jesse tried his hand at it and had a blast.

I didn’t try the knee board while we were at Bull Shoals with my family last week and I sort of regretted it. So when we were with Jesse’s family this week and they rented a boat in Branson and also rented a knee board, I started working up my courage.

I watched Jesse knee board and then watched as both of his brothers learned, too. I was inwardly debating whether or not to try.

The thought of going out and failing at it was sort of discouraging to consider. But as the afternoon wore on, I remembered how I’ve been working on being intentional about not letting “I can’ts” hold me back from trying things.

While I know that I’m not ever going to be a professional water-skiier, I don’t want to let the belief that “I’m not good at watersports” define my decisions… especially because I really did want to try knee-boarding.

So instead of chickening out, I volunteered to be the next one on the knee board. I told everyone in the boat that there was a good chance I wouldn’t make it up, but I decided to jump out in the water and give it all I had.

I Almost Missed Out Because I Thought "I Can't"

And y’all! I couldn’t believe it: because I GOT UP ON THE VERY FIRST TIME.

I was pretty sure I must have been dreaming or something. But no, it was true. Me, the very-inept-at-watersports girl was actually knee-boarding. And I had the time of my life!

I dropped the rope and had them circle around so I could try it again. Just to make sure that it wasn’t some fluke accident that I got up the first time. 😉

And no, it wasn’t. Because I got up on the knee board again and even attacked both wakes! And it felt amazing!

This victory inspires me to keep putting myself out there, keep trying new things, and to not let fear of failure hold me back — even when I think I won’t succeed at something. I want to stop letting the belief that “I can’t” or “I’m not good at that” hold me back from jumping out and trying things.

You never know… maybe next year I’ll even figure out how to water-ski on one ski instead of two! For now, though, I’m committed anew to stop letting the belief that “I can’t” or “I’m not good at that” hold me back from jumping out and trying things.

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  • Victoria says:

    Awesome! great job.

  • Jessica says:

    Such an inspiring post! I love reading things like this, its quite refreshing 🙂
    P.S. a few months ago I came across your blog for couponing and I just want to say thank you…it is so easy to follow and you always have current deals. If you dont mind, I would love to link to you so my readers know where to go to get coupon advice. I also signed up to be an affiliate to your course..i cant wait to buy it for myself and see if there is anything I dont know about lol. thanks again!!

  • Tracy S. says:

    What an encouraging post for first thing this morning! That’s one I struggle with a bit and my 9 year old REALLY struggles with. Thanks for being so real (AGAIN) and helping the rest of us with that little push of encouragement that we all so desperately need. 🙂

  • You go, Crystal! That’s terrific! (Congrats on your new watersports gene.) 🙂

  • Kendra says:

    I am so glad you shared this. Sometimes I have a hard time sharing my more vulnerable side. Thanks for being brave! I am glad it turned out so well and you had fun! This post could not have had better timing on my life to make an impact. I have a sporting event coming up, and this morning I kept telling myself “you can’t”, quit”, “drop out”. But I know I CAN! I got to work, put my Bible on my desk, and planned on getting my head back into the positive side of things. This post was a great start to my day. Thank you Crystal!!!!!

  • Milissa says:

    Awesome! I’m trying to get back in shape…and a couple months ago I invested in a personal trainer. We were working out one day…and I didn’t feel like I had the strength to do anymore push-ups. She said “3 more” and I said “I can’t.” She cut me off. “Do NOT say that. I don’t understand can’t. You can.” Later, I thought long and hard about that exchange. She is right…I use that phrase too much. So I’ve tried really hard to be aware of the monologue in my head. Your story is another reminder of how important that is. Thank you.

  • Rebecca says:

    Yes! My husband and three girls ski for a waterski show team. I was always the cheerleader. My youngest wasn’t quite as gung-ho about getting up on one ski, so I told her I would try if she would try. Not really thinking she would change her mind listening to me I wasn’t too worried that I would have to get out there. But, lo and behold she got out on the boom and made it up! She gets back in the boat and says, “Mom! Your turn!” I tried several times and finally made it! My nine year old was so proud of me! I think my children picked up on my reluctance to try things new. Amazing lessons can be learned by all if we are open to learning new things!
    Your story just sounded so much like me. Thanks!

  • Amy says:

    Maybe the water-skiing advice that I was given will help you get up next time??? I was told to have the stance as though I was—excuse the idea, but it works—going to the bathroom in the woods…. Yes, you read that right. I got up the very next try after being told that. No joke.

    Before that day, I would be drug through the water about five tries (or more) every Saturday and Sunday every weekend all summer long because I wanted to water ski… obviously, desperately! After that day, I could water-ski…because my problem wasn’t the skiing, it was getting out of the water! LOL

    Hope that helps. Feel free to delete this comment. I was going to send you a private message but wasn’t sure how.

    • Haha! I’ve tried just about everything in the book… and I’ll keep trying every year. Maybe I’ll get it before I’m forty?!?

      So glad you were able to learn how to water-ski and that you persevered. You inspire me!

  • Sarah says:

    Way to go Crystal! Definitely inspired me during this ho-hum morning to ‘get it girl!’

  • Joyce says:

    Go, girl!! I’m usually silently saying “I can’t” to myself, but I probably shouldn’t because I don’t allow my girls to have those words in their vocabulary. When they try something new, most of the time, they succeed at learning something new, whether they were “successful” or not. But they would never know if they didn’t try. (Just like trying new foods, right? :p)

  • Leslie says:

    Oh that looks fun! I can’t kneeboarding but I can wakeboard. The first few times were horrible. I hope you have a great weekend!

  • Heather says:

    Good job! Until I read your post I forgot how much I liked doing stuff like ride a knee board (I learned to do it as a kid and haven’t tried in 20+ years).

  • Mary Dorsey says:

    This is awesome and very inspirational! Thanks for sharing!

  • Liz says:

    That’s awesome! Though I love swimming, I’m also terrified of watersports. I’ve never even tried to waterski or kneeboard. But your success has inspired me to give kneeboarding a try the next time we’re at the lake- the picture you posted actually makes it look fun rather than frightening! :). Thank you for sharing!

  • Shannon says:

    Love lake time in Missouri! So glad you were able to take part in the family fun. I have always been a sit back and watch kinda girl. Only recently have I been willing to step out of my very small comfort zone. Maybe it’s because of my two boys. Thanks for all your encouragement. Love your blog.

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