Just yesterday, my brother and his family and I decided to go whitewater rafting. They’re visiting my wife and my son and me here in Central Oregon. We decided it’d be a great excursion, and it was. Now we got to the destination at the foot of the river and we met our river guides. There, they went through the typical safety check, telling us exactly what to expect and what we could be doing. Now, most of this float was gentle, you know, class one to two Rapids, so nothing really to worry about. Nonetheless, you’re still going down a wild river.
As we were going down the second part of the river, we hit a set of rapids that didn’t look too daunting, but all of a sudden out of nowhere we hit a rock. When we hit the rock I fell back, my nephew fell into my lap, and my brother popped out into the water. Now, we were still going down the rapids and he was caught in an eddy, so we were probably a good 30 or 40 feet away from him. We tried to stick out a paddle to give him a hand but just couldn’t happen.
Now, his family was worried, but of course, I’m his sibling so I was laughing. You know, I knew he would be safe, but I also was happy my brother fell out. On top of that, a second thing happened. As he was floating down we caught up with him. He put his head up, his chest out, his feet were up, he did everything he was instructed to do by the guides through the safety check. He got to the raft, we pulled him in, asked him how he was doing, he said fine.
One thing he said was really interesting. He said, “You know what? I didn’t really panic at all. The reason I didn’t panic is that I decided earlier in the trip to jump into the water.” What happened was, earlier the guides asked everybody when we stopped and said, “Hey look, if you want to jump in and float down, you can.” This is the second coldest river in Oregon; it was cold, and only a few of us actually jumped in the water. Yes, it was a shock. Once we were in the water we started to acclimatize really quickly. That shock started to wear off. Then we safely swam back to our boats and then we continued our journey.
What my brother said is, “Geez, had I not done that and I fell into the river and not actually experienced beforehand the level of cold, I probably would have panicked. Since I had already been in the water since I had already been in that cold I didn’t panic at all, and instantly remembered exactly what the guide said. Chest out, legs up, head above water, and I just floated down through the rapids.”
I started to think to myself, “Wow, that’s really interesting.” See, he could have easily panicked, and most people do. People put their feet down because they think, “Hey, I could stand up here. Because it’s cold I want to get up and out as soon as possible,” and that causes a thing called foot entrapment, and foot entrapment’s the most dangerous thing on the river because your feet can get trapped and the current is taking you down, and you can actually fall, go face first and get stuck right in the water. It didn’t happen to my brother because he had already experienced the coldness of the water and was able to think clearly.
Also, today I was on a coaching call with another coach. He was telling me about a client of his. A seven figure business earner who lost everything, and now was building it back up. One of the things that struck me was, you know what? That business owner had already experienced both the gain of that seven figure business, but also the loss. He’d experienced it so he knows what to expect down the way and can do it at a much calmer pace.
I also thought, “Gee, this also reminds me of people in the fitness industry who are constantly working to better their bodies. The way they look, the way they feel.” They had actually already done some of the work and have already had that experience. They’ve already failed multiple times, and therefore they don’t fear the actual failure itself.
I’m asking you today, in your Five to Thrive, where have you been falling into the river? Where have you been tossed out of the raft, and you’re okay because, you know what, in the past, you’ve already been in the water? You know what that experience is like. Then what I really want you to think about is, where on that Five to Thrive are you scared that you’re going to get tossed out because you don’t know what to expect? That’s what the lesson really is. Where is it that you’re holding back, you’re holding on because you’re scared? You’re scared of losing because you actually haven’t been in the water before.
Then I’m going to encourage you to jump in that water. Jump in that water one way, shape or form. Take an action today, take a small action today to test the water so you know what to expect, so you know what to expect if it fails. If you’re launching a new product, think about, “What’s the worst case scenario here?” What if that product doesn’t launch, what’s the absolute worst case scenario? Chances are, it’s much, much better than you actually think. The worst case scenario is only worse in our minds. If we actually rehearse that worst case scenario and really look at it, we actually can eliminate that barrier to entry and let us jump into the water a lot quicker.
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