Recently, I started looking for a new standup paddle board (SUP). I had a scary incident last year in a remote-ish area in which my inflatable board got a leak and lost about 30 percent of its psi before I got back to shore. Not awesome. So, a hardboard it is!
When I learned to SUP, I read all about how you need to practice getting back on the board in case you fell. Me being me, I decided that I'd shortcut things and just, well, never fall off. Problem solved, right? As of this week, I'd only ever fallen off my board once—and that was because of a jet ski (jerks).
When I started looking for my new board, an employee at the specialty shop first asked me what I was currently using, and I described my ultra stable board that's pretty wide. And the hardboards I was looking at were similar in their sizes. She then asked me how often I fell off, to which I proudly said, "Well, basically never, just once because of a jerk on a jet ski."
To which she says,
"If you're not falling, you're not learning."
Well, dang. I went in to buy a new SUP and got a whole life philosophy.
The thing is, after I recovered from that mic drop, I realized that this sentiment echoes what I tell our clients at SM&Co all the time. Ultimately, you can only learn and improve if you're willing to try. Which means you have to be willing to fail. Yes, you can gather information and make those decisions based on that recon, but you cannot eliminate the possibility of failure from pretty much anything.
So, when I tell people to try something and see what happens, that the worst result is that they'll have some good data, I mean it. That's the only way you can learn.
I suppose you're wondering how my SUP shopping went. I ended up going all in with a performance board, 14 feet long and just 26 inches wide—a good five inches narrower and three feet longer than my reliable, never fall off inflatable.
And the first time I took my fancy new board out on the water?
I fell in.
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