I used to be a quitter…
How a “non-conference” pushed my reset button.
I just got back from Park City, Utah, where I attended to an EPIC event and OMG it was beyond crazy!!
When I started this article, I wanted to write a really practical text about how Epicurrence is an amazing creative conference, how people there are talented and how wonderful it was for me to be part of this event. But on second thoughts, it was way more than that. It was a true get away, full of inspiration and it gave my the will to reconsider a few things in my life.
**TL;DR If you guys just want to see pictures of the event: Check out my post**
Picture this little girl on a bike. This is her first ride without the training wheels. We all know where this is going… Even with the support of her loving parents, she can’t do it. She keeps falling. Fall after fall, the tears are closer to her eyes. She doesn’t want that anymore, she wants it to stop, she wants to quit.
You have to know that her sister before her never had this kind of difficulties. She’s stubborn and fearless, she tries and tries until she’d break. Riding a bike? Cake walk!
As long as I remember, I’ve always loved starting new challenges and developing new passions. I’m this kind of enthusiastic person with a creative mind and a really strong motivation once an idea strike my mind. But I have to admit… I basically feel like this little girl on a daily basis. This last week in Utah made me feel like that all over again, because it was my first time snowboarding…
Step 1: The excitement
“Sounds amazing!! Let’s do it!!!” How many times have I heard these words coming out of my mouth? At lot! Because as human being, we love to try new stuff. We’re naturally excited by the perspective of challenging ourselves and maybe excel in a new area.
I was so thrilled to try snowboarding for the first time of my life. Plus, my rented snowboard was really rad!
Step 2: The beginning
At the beginning of a project you always feel like a clumsy kid. You want to go faster but you really can’t. That step is really confusing. It’s the perfect balance between excitement and fear; this moment when hope is still here. You’re aware of the learning curve and that it takes time to master a new skill.
First day on the slopes, I hid myself behind my noobness, looking for excuses in case, you know, I’d totally suck… I took my rented snowboard, listened carefully to every advices Craig Hobson could give me and put my goggles on. I was ready!
Step 3: The fear
Here we go… The step I hate the most! Everybody is dealing with fear their own way. We all feel that with different degree. This canvas of Unknown and What ifs. One of my favorites author wrote:
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” _H. P. Lovecraft
Yep, that’s the stuff. When I was on my snowboard I was scared. Scared of getting hurt, hitting a tree, making someone else fall, being eaten by a bear or just dying. Fear is not rational at all. Originally, it’s here to protect you, but in the end, it becomes a huge obstacle if you can’t tame it.
Step 4: The fall
I could have meant that literally because I did fall a LOT! But what I have in mind is more this moment where your hope gets crushed. The excitement is long gone and you’re tired of trying. During a project you’ll eventually face difficulties and unexpected problems. But for now you hold on because you really want this to work, right?
Step 5: The ego failure
After one hour struggling with the snow and my body balance, I kept falling. I was tired, my wrists (and ass) were having a really bad time. Beyond all that, my ego was hurting so bad. Everybody was waiting for me for more than 30 minutes at the lift station. Everybody seemed to be nailing it and I could barely stand on my board.
If we were alone in our own bubble everything would be way easier. But human beings have to live with each other in order to survive. We need people in our lives that’s a fact. Although it’s also adding adversity in our own world because without even thinking about it, we start comparing ourselves to others. We’re not taking into account that everybody’s different. We just know that these people are better than us, they’re gonna be successful and we’re gonna fail. Once again: Irrational!!
Step 6: The surrender
“Well that was fun, but I’m done here!” — That’s what I told everybody back at the Epic House. Clearly, I was not born to be on a snowboard. The others were amazing at it? Good for them! I quit.
Sometimes, we just don’t feel like trying anymore, so we take the easy way out. We can find an impressive number of excuses, if that makes us feel any better. However, deep down inside we know we’re lying to ourselves. We start questioning every single second of our lives, we start wondering if we are worthy.
I went through all these steps in one day and well, a few weeks back I’d probably stop at that 6th step, because it’s always easy to convince ourselves that “it’s okay” “it was a mistake to try” “we’re not good enough for this anyway” “I’ll find something else to do”. However, every single night during Epicurrence, all the guests sat together by the fire pit and listened to incredible and honest stories. These stories came from the mouth of our heroes. Some of them decided to take a big step in their careers/lives and that’s deeply inspiring.
Breaking news: Everybody is scared, everybody wants to quit sometimes. We’re all only human after all. But at the end of the day, there’s only two categories of people: Those who quit and those who kick themselves hard to carry on.
I needed to hear those stories, I needed to be pushed by people around me, I needed to believe in myself.
Of course, there’s a 7th step: Holding on. This moment when you stop being scared and accept to lose control. You already know everything is not gonna be perfect, you know you’re gonna lose some battles (or fall hard on the icy snow) but if you hold on to your motivation and excitement you’ll finally do something you can be proud of.
My second day on the slopes, I stopped hiding myself behind my noobness, I took my snowboard, listened carefully to all the advices Craig Hobson could give, and put my goggles to my face. I was ready and I nailed it! I’m never gonna be a great snowboarder, but I don’t care. I had fun, I fell, I laughed but above all I can’t wait to do it again!
We all are one of a kind. We deal with things in our own way. We need to figure out what is good for us, keep our own pace and sometimes stop when, and only when, it’s necessary… You know, this moment when you feel you’ve reached a turning point in your life, when you’re not really happy or just because it doesn’t feel right anymore.
I decided to make a parallel with my experience as a first time snowboarder, but really, this process is true regarding tons of everyday situations. I started a book when I was 15 and never finished it, I started screen printing and stopped, I started too many projects I’ve never completed.
I could write a dozen of pages on things I want to do in my life and I can’t afford to quit anymore because time is precious.
Every single guest could tell you how perfect these few days were. Dann Petty is an incredible host, the food was amazing, the creative crowd was beyond sensational and don’t get me started on the houses…
Every morning we’d gathered, talked, ate and got ready for a day full of sensations. Every night we’d gathered, talked, ate, listened to inspiring talks, made new friends… Long story short I highly recommend it.
If you want to be part of this, please sign up for The Montues probably the best gateway as a team or an individual. You’re not gonna regret it, pinky swear!
Epicurrence changed me, I’m sorry if that sounds cheesy but it’s true. I’m now even more ready to start new challenges and build a life full of passions and without regrets. I used to be a quitter, but I think I’m done with that ;)