Good Enough


I can’t remember where I first heard it, but there’s some sort of mantra that goes something like this: “Behind every difficult scenario is an unseen advantage, or opportunity.” It was probably from the likes of Napoleon Hill.

There’s a lot of wisdom in that statement. For example, it implies a level of depth and complexity to life circumstances that somehow goes beyond our initial ability to understand. Most of the time, it’s normal to panic when circumstances are difficult or you feel like you can’t see the end in sight.

Earlier this year, I faced a lot of difficulty in my work world, after dropping three of my anchor retainer clients. For a small business, that’s a pretty devastating blow to take, and I had to take some drastic cuts to keep things running smoothly with Tripleskinny; cutting team members, reducing paychecks, etc. None of these things were easy for me to do and that time period wasn’t pleasant.

I’ve been around the block enough times to know that cashflow issues in business are often temporary, and in this case, the results were no different. In this case, I decided to do something differently than I had in the past; I changed my perspective, as well as my activities during the down-time.

When I first decided to go to the skate park, it was because I knew that someday Atlas would want to learn how to skate, and I wanted to take the falls before he did, so that I could help him avoid them, as well as improve my skills, fitness and fun factor in life.

Picking up a hobby like aggressive skating was more than a hobby for me, it was also a way for me to have an element in my life that I could see consistent improvement every time I work up the courage to go to the park.

One of the things I’ve learned in life is that it pays to be consistent; working out on a regular basis helps you maintain your physique. However, something like working out doesn’t provide you with the tangible sense that something has improved when you go to the gym. You usually put in a workout, get a pump and leave feeling exhausted – but good.

Skating (or any other skill-based hobby) offers something different; it gives you the opportunity to see your improvement, and you begin to work on your technique in similar fashion as tuning an instrument.

I thought a lot about this over the last few months – doing things that give you a sense of accomplishment. I realized that feeling like you’ve accomplished something is a core need in life, and there are a lot of ways you can scratch that itch – even by playing a video game and seeing yourself ‘level up’ as you improve.

Skating has taught me a lot of really important lessons lately. Not only am I seeing myself improve at something, I’m getting in great shape doing it and have discovered a new arena in life where I can find enjoyment, challenge, social activity and peer support, as I’ve found that other skaters are really encouraging to beginners.

I still have to push through a lot of fear before going to the skate park. Every inch of me feels like a dork for wearing pads, a helmet and still having an awkward stance when I skate. For lack of a better term, I feel like a new kid at school every time I go to the park, and I pray that there’s nobody else in the proverbial lunch room when I get there.

This afternoon, I shared with a few skaters that I felt awkward wearing full pads. He responded by showing me hand-sized scars on his knees.

“Wear the pads, bro.”

For most of my life, I’ve found encouragement and support whenever I pursued something. Beginning at a young age, my parents were really keen on reinforcing our interests, hobbies and musical talents. Other things, they were less keen on paying attention to – like name-brand clothing. Truth be told, I never felt like a dork until somebody criticized my clothing when I was in middle school.

I remember getting ready to go to youth group, and I decided to put on my new orange ‘Jesus freak’ shirt that my friend, Jason, got me for my birthday. His Dad worked at a t-shirt company called “Solid Light” – which I thought was pretty cool – and he let me pick any shirt I wanted from their catalog.

I still remember how I felt when I walked out of the house with that shirt on. I felt like a million bucks, and I proudly wore it that night to show my friends. Walking through the halls of the church, I remember hearing words that would permanently change me;

”That’s dorky”

Kristin C., one of the ‘popular’ girls at youth group stood by the entrance of the building and pointed her finger at my shorts, which looked hidden under the length of my extra large, new shirt – resembling a dress.

I still remember how I felt when I heard those words. It was my first experience with true heartbreak; the feeling you have when a hopeful feeling in your heart is smashed to pieces by somebody who doesn’t give any regard for your feelings or well-being.

I cried that night. Unconsolably.

For months after that, I scoured every rack at the thrift store to find shirts that had a name on them. I wanted to look cool.

All I was doing was trying to cover up a hurt that somebody gave me.

I went most of my adult life without ever feeling hurt like that, because I never let anybody get close enough to me to criticize me behind the walls of self I put up. Behind those walls was still a little boy that was crying because Kristin and her friends made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. For years, I somehow managed to avoid criticism and instead chased validation and affirmation.

When I skate, I’m choosing to bring that little boy out of his hiding place. I choose to get over my own fears, insecurities and pain that I’ve experienced in my life by creating a new adventure in place of past pains. Those things all wash away, one ramp at a time.

It may sound silly, but I feel a sense of connection to a lot of my insecurities when I skate, and I feel as if I’m able to meet them with confidence that didn’t exist before. I think people pay fortunes in therapy to have this sort of breakthrough, and I’ve got it for free, just a few miles down the road.

For most of my life, I haven’t felt good enough. For most of my adult life, I’ve felt like a failure. That all changed this year.

I stopped feeling like a failure when I saw my work as an expression of my lifestyle, rather than the end goal for my energy.

I stopped feeling like a failure when I did my first 180, and crossed into a threshold that a lot of people quit before reaching.

I stopped feeling like I wasn’t good enough when I stopped to take a good, hard look at my life and realize that I’ve never felt good enough because I’m not good enough…

…I’m more than enough.


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