Our family is enjoying our annual vacation at the lake in Arkansas with my extended family this week. We always rent a boat and spend many hours on the water.
Most of my family members are adept at skiing–my dad started water-skiing when he was four or five years old and, over fifty years later, he’s still amazing on skis. My brother is a wakeboard whiz. And pretty much everyone else in my family makes water-skiing look like a piece of cake.
Everyone, that is, but me.
I can get up on two skis alright. It’s not pretty, but I can get up and stay up, go over the wakes, and do a decent job of it. But, try as I might, I’ve never been able to slalom.
And today was no different. After watching my brother, dad, and mom all successfully slalom, I jumped out into the water for my turn–determined that I was going to get up on one ski this year.
However, it seems all the determination in the world couldn’t lift my body out of the water to stand up on that one ski. I tried and fell ten times before finally calling it quits for the day (I figured all the patient cheerleaders in the boat probably would like to do something other than start and stop the boat all afternoon!).
Was I discouraged? Yes. I really wanted this year to be the year that I successfully slalomed.
Was I defeated? No. I know I did my best and tried my hardest. I listened to the instructions from my dad and brother. I tried different things to make it work. I gritted my teeth and hung on even when it hurt.
Most of all, I made myself do something hard and kept trying even when I fell down.
Maybe I’ll never be able to get up on one ski. Perhaps tomorrow will be the day it happens. I don’t know. But one thing I do know is this: if you never jump out into the water in the first place, if you never step out of your comfort zone, if you never try hard things, you’ll always be in the same place in life.
Success never comes to people who sit and do nothing. Even if you try something and end up falling flat on your face, you’re still farther ahead than the person who never begins in the first place.
And even if you never get to where you hope to go, I promise you’ll be stronger for trying.