I found myself daydreaming.
I remember a pleasant September evening, 20 years ago. As with most fall evenings in northern Minnesota, the air is calm, encouraging a stillness on the lake. The reflection of red, orange, and amber leaves is so perfect, the distant shoreline disappears into autumn. And yes, the loons echoed across the water…
Minutes later, our boat effortlessly glides into the mirror. Donna is driving, the kids are facing backwards, and I’m 60-feet away, skimming the surface on my skis. The sun settles just beyond the treetops, softly lighting the sky after a day of warmth. The water laps over my ankles, removing any chill from the air. And, now was the moment!
I carefully pulled my foot out of one ski, and quickly reset it behind my other foot… and I was… still vertical!… I began to slalom!
Donna sped up slightly, the kids cheered! In my mind, it felt like this…
In reality, my kids remind me it actually looked like this…
Fifteen seconds later, exhausted from my 200-yard effort, I let go of the rope, full of glory! I was so anxious to get back in the boat and share the experience, but my fatigued body was failing me. I swam to the ski, as the kids yelled, “almost there, Dad!”. I paddled, yet just couldn’t get to it!
Then… I felt an odd sensation near my feet. I couldn’t place it at first… I was about 50-yards from shore… wait a minute… is it?… you’ve gotta be kidding me!…
The kids encouragement turned to laughter… uncontrollable, tear-generating laughter… as I quit flailing my arms, and slowly stood up in the two feet of water I had been thrashing in just moments ago. I took three steps and grabbed my ski.
In this moment, I realized more than ever… I was a Dad.
All summer I had taken this challenge seriously. A long rope, fast boat, huge spray as I cut a turn, inside hip just inches from the water… that’s what had been in my mind… “to be just like the best skiers”! In my first summer on the water!
Today, as I believe in better, my first core value is:
Be Positive (visualize success; it’s easier to get somewhere when you can “see” it).
I try to be patient; “success”, “perfection”, “the best” takes time. Even more, I try not to take my self too seriously. Rather, I allow myself to grow, to embrace the journey, to enjoy the warm water, the autumn colors, the voices of my children… and even the oddly placed sandbar. I allow myself, “to be”.
Keep believing in better!