“Well, there is one thing I’d really like to do, but there’s no way we could be doing that …. It’d be way too hard.”
That’s how one woman answered a few weeks ago, when I asked the group what they hoped we might be doing as we headed out for our last Secret Adventure for Courageous Women.
Turned out she had a dream of her own, a special delicious something that she’d always wanted to do… and a part of her hoped that – just maybe – that was in the works that day.
But she couldn’t let herself hope too much.
The best thing about a surprise is the sheer joy of anticipation, of wondering what’s in the box. Of hoping against hope that what’s inside is something you’ll like – maybe even something you’ll love.
But how often do we stop our dreams in their tracks? How often do we play little games in our heads to prepare ourselves for disappointment? How often do we tell ourselves that what WE want, could never happen?
All. The. Dang. Time.
So when she told us that she had a secret wish, we couldn’t wait to hear what it was.
Turns out –
it was four wheeling. :)
There are many things I’ve learned as a trip leader and group facilitator over the past 3 years while planning these experiences.
One is that there is almost ALWAYS a way to make something happen, to create a certain kind of experience, once you’re clear on what is is that you want to do.
The other is that in every group there’s someone there that particular day who needs to have that particular experience. I’ve never been able to predict it – but it’s happened every time.
On one trip, a Courageous Woman realized that there were still plenty of ways she could have fun, and contribute to the world – in spite of a chronic and difficult illness that sometimes slowed her down.
On at least two different trips, specific participants faced big fears around heights – and discovered that they had more Courage than they’d ever realized.
On several trips the lesson has been about asking for help, admitting vulnerability, learning to give AND receive support.
And on one of my favorites, this time to the back roads off the Cherohala Skyway, we discovered the remains of a historic wood framed hotel that one woman’s family owned when she was a child.
She couldn’t remember where it was – but we not only found it, we talked to the man who drove the fire truck the night it burned down. What a powerful day that was.
Life is full of wonderful surprises.
All you have to do is let yourself open the box.
So on our last Adventure, we went to Bluff Mountain Adventures in Sevier County, Tennessee – where a sweet young fellow fresh from the Marines taught us how to handle a 4 wheeler, then led us out for a two hour trail ride.
We plowed through the woods, up some pretty steep hills, and to some spectacular places, often at remarkable speeds.
Mind you – this was not a peaceful ride.
But it was, pure and simple, a lot of fun.
And a hot chili supper around a campfire afterwards was the perfect wrap up to a perfect day.
Here’s a little of what we brought home.
1. Be a seeker. Someone, somewhere, is willing to teach you whatever it is that you want to learn, the minute you’re ready – really ready – to learn it. If you’ve always wanted to be a sushi chef, someone out there will show you how. If you’ve always wanted to run your own business, someone out there will show you how.
And if you’ve always wanted to try your hand at riding a four-wheeler, someone out there will show you that, too. :)
2. Be willing. Sometimes the best experiences happen if you’re willing to go when everyone else stays.
The day we did this, temps were in the 30’s and it was really, really cold outside. We went anyway. And everyone who was there will tell you they are glad they did.
I’ve had similar experiences over and over throughout my life. Too cold? Go anyway. Too rainy? Go anyway. Too far? Go anyway. Too big? Go anyway. Adventures, and a full and happy life, are waiting for those who go anyway.
3. Be prepared. The key to having a great time no matter the circumstances is to be prepared with the right gear, the right mindset, and the right help. Extra layers. Helmets and gloves. A nice hot fire afterwards. Good food. Great teachers. A willingness to ask for help and a sense of humor. All of that makes a difference under even the most challenging of days.
4. Be up front. I learned this over the years through a number of different experiences. If you think you’re going to have trouble keeping up with a group in any kind of Adventure, put yourself up front, and stay as close to the leader as possible. There are lots of reasons why this works, but at least one of them is that you won’t have to worry about falling behind.
The same thing applies if you’re learning a new skill, working your way through some personal growth, or taking on a new project. Stay as close to the leader as you can. Things will go better while you learn your way.
5. Be fast. As we followed each other through the woods, we all quickly realized that dawdling was not a good idea. That forced each of us to challenge ourselves and hit that throttle a little harder than we might have otherwise.
There are times, of course, when we need to go slow, to feel our way, to ease into something. But sometimes that hesitation becomes a hindrance, and we miss out on opportunities that require quick action. And sometimes, if we’ll just let ourselves TRY it, go a little faster, see what we can do – we’ll discover that we can do more than we thought we could.
Better than we thought we could, too.
So what about you? What have you always wished you could do?
And what’s your first step towards making that dream come true?
Share with us in the comments below, so we can hold a space for you and your dreams.
Photo Credit: Wendy Pitts Reeves, Wendy Wilson