I don’t want to lead today.
You lead, I’ll just second after you.
I don’t want to hold you up.
I’m just not feeling it today.
It’s okay, you can have my turn.
I’m not good enough to try that.
I will take too long on it.
I just want to ski blues today.
That looks a bit too steep.
I don’t think I could keep up with you guys.
You go first.
I just don’t want you to have to babysit.
I’m just too slow.
I’m just so unfit.
I’m just quite shit at this.
A friend of mine recently called me out. The night before I’d been all talk, spouting my beer-fuelled opinions on how you need to experience hard stuff to learn and how sometimes learning can make you look silly blah blah blah.
Yet here I was being handed, quite blatantly, an opportunity to learn and practise, in the hands of no less than a patient expert, and I was turning it down because I didn’t want to look daft!
‘No, I don’t feel like leading today, I’ll just follow you,’ I sheepishly told him in the climbing gym.
‘That’s such a chick thing to say,’ he teased me.
This little jibe proved to be exactly the right thing to say; I flashed at my own hypocrisy and then, albeit still begrudgingly, stepped up and got my lead on.
Needless to say this didn’t stop me feeling silly, climbing a solid four whole number grades easier than my ninja-friend and still falling off (including flying face first into the wall off the side of a layback LOL) and getting scared (less than a metre off the ground) while he patiently belayed and encouraged me and only sometimes took the piss out of me. However by the end of the evening I’d got an hour or two’s unexpected practise in the bag, learnt a couple of things and actually quite enjoyed myself (shock horror).
Naturally, this got me thinking. How many times have I missed an opportunity to learn because I haven’t been willing to expose weakness? How often have I let my ego rob me of a chance to practise something because I didn’t want to look like I couldn’t do it? How regularly had I been avoiding pushing myself because I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t do something?
Of all the things in the world that could hold us back from doing the things we like doing, personally I will be working hard to not let my own ego be one of them.