Last week I organized a stand up paddle event for business leaders in the community to network and connect. The weather forecast was on an off all day and rapidly changing. We decided to go for it and paddle as it was clear when we started.
In the background there was thunder and we can see a storm cell in the distance rolling on by. We decided not to go too far just because the weather was unpredictable. A couple of us stopped for a few minutes to just to chat and the wind pushed us a little farther out in the lake. So we started paddling back towards shore.
I look behind us and I can see the rain coming towards us as we were paddling back. At first I thought we could make it back before we got hit. Then I heard thunder and saw lightening as we were getting closer to shore. The water was rough and the wind was blowing, I was paddling my little heart out!
There was a part of me that knew I was going to get back to shore and be safe. I have been caught in the rain out on the lake by a fast moving storm many times and always got back ok.
But the other part of me felt a bit of panic. Oh no, what if I get struck by lightening and die? What if someone gets hurt? Why can’t I paddle fast enough? Fear was present for those 5 or so minutes. I noticed a fellow paddler being super calm and going with the flow of it and paddling with ease, and I noticed my panic and fear and how hard I was paddling. I wanted to run, but couldn’t, I just had to paddle back. But how I was being was making me feel worse. So, I took a few deep breaths, calmed myself down, and continued to paddle back through the rain.
We all have automatic ways of being when feel fear or when we are confronted. I invite you to take a look at your automatic way of reacting to fear. Maybe you run, maybe you hide, suffer, freak out or just shut down. Just notice your response and perhaps how it shows up in others of your life when you are confronted or scared. Just notice without judgement.
Noticing your automatic response is helpful. You may have a reaction that comes up for you such as fear and a way of reacting to it, but you can always choose something different. For me on the lake that day, I chose to breathe and go with it. I arrived at the dock in a much calmer state of mind and enjoyed my last few minutes on the lake! There will always be unexpected storms in life which will challenge us, noticing ways we want to react and choosing something different can be empowering and impactful.
Life and Leadership Coach, Licensed Counselor, outdoor enthusiast, yoga lover and passionate about wellness.