Lessons From the Wake

I’m good at making excuses for my fears.

Damned good.

In fact, the excuses are real. I just choose to ignore the solutions.

But I’m tired of living that way.

So I refuse to anymore.


This past week, I had an opportunity to water ski for the first time.

Let me clarify. It was not the first opportunity in my life to water ski- I’ve had many of those over the last 20 years. It was; however, the first opportunity I chose to accept.


And, like all fears, it seemed so silly after it was faced and the excuses so easy to overcome.


And, like all fears, facing it and mastering it brought an incredible feeling of strength and potential.

My lessons that day are embedded within water skiing, but they apply to facing most any fears.

Surround Yourself With the Right People

The situation on the boat this day was perfect. I had a teacher/driver/guide/coach that I trusted and who was patient and positive. There were other skiers on the boat who had only a few more hours practice than me – watching them showed me it was possible. When you’re with the right people, you feel supported enough to take a risk.

Accept Your Weaknesses

My primary excuse for avoiding water skiing over the years was my fear of losing my (very expensive and very necessary) contact lenses. On this day, I brought a pair of swim goggles. Rather than allow a weakness to hold you back, find a way to work around it.

Learn From Your Failures

On my first attempt, I got up but then immediately fell back into the water. After a quick debriefing, I learned what I did wrong and corrected it on the next try. Failure is a teacher, not an end.

Capitalize on Your Strengths

My form was not ideal on my first, 3-minute run. But I could use my strength (literally, in this case) to make up for my lack of finesse. Your own strengths can help to balance your weaknesses. Let them.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

There were some VERY good skiers on the boat. I didn’t compare myself to the woman who grew up on skis. That would be silly, pointless and disheartening. I compared myself to the Lisa who always said, “No, thanks” to the offer to ski. Rather than use others as your benchmark, look to your own progress.

Prepare But Don’t Overthink

I had a boat lesson on the proper form (tight ball with skis up) and most important tip (keep your arms straight) but, once I was in the water, I silenced the brain and let the body tell me what to do. Overthinking tends to make something simple into a complicated mess.

Set Realistic Goals

For some reason, I always had a fear of water skiing. That meant that I had a bigger hurdle to overcome than many on their first attempt. Allow for your fears and create realistic expectations for you.

Celebrate Success

After my three minute ski, I crawled back onto the boat and was greeted with cheers and high fives. Allow yourself to enjoy the feeling that comes from tackling something new. It’s pretty awesome.

And finally,

Allow Yourself to Have Fun

And try not to get too much water up your nose!




Thank you for sharing!

9 thoughts on “Lessons From the Wake

  1. Yay!! You got up! It’s fun, isn’t it? It’s been a decade at least since I’ve water skied, but I always loved it.

  2. momfawn – Visalia, CA – I am a sixty-something baby-boomer -- daughter, mother, wife (twice), grandmother, aunt, Independent Consultant with Close To My Heart -- retired and celebrating a life thoroughly lived.
    momfawn says:

    I love the triumphant look on your face at the end! Good job! – Fawn

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