Choose Your Line ~ How Advice May Lead You Astray
Have you ever taken advice or followed a person you thought was a bigger expert than yourself, only to get burned?
When I began my business, I had a vision of how I’d achieve my goals. I wanted to start small, just one event where people could come and try out everything on their bucket list. This way, they could overcome their fear of the unknown, try out experiences they never felt capable of doing, and be able to find people with whom they could continue their journey.
I had a sponsor for the event space, a few people onboard to teach different activities, and I was set to move forward.
Except I felt inadequate to run an event. I didn’t know how to bring in ticket sales, or to advertise. I thought by finding experts, people who had led events and built large movements and had been CEO’s of companies, I’d be able to scale faster and become more successful.
Months into the process I’d found those experts. Next thing I knew, my small event was being held not at the free space, but at an expensive convention hall. The person I’d hired demanded a large salary upfront, but he was an expert with a vision.
I followed him until he took the money and went on vacation.
Fast forward a few more years, and the next round of experts took on my event. Once again, instead of starting small, they shared visions of grandeur that only left me in debt.
Lost and confused, I looked to branding experts, marketing gurus, courses, and to people who’d made millions helping small business owners.
Within a few years, my head was swimming with information, and I felt like I was spinning my wheels in so many different directions I could no longer find my way.
I felt depleted at the end of each day and would wake up stressed and hating life.
In the midst, of building my new brand, of envisioning my business where people could find the tools and inspiration they needed to live out their deepest desires and dreams, I felt like my way of life — the following of one magnificent experience to the next — was getting lost in niche decisions, and rewriting marketing campaigns according to the next guru’s thought process.
It wasn’t until I’d left it all behind one weekend to go white water kayaking that I realized why I’d been failing.
In white water kayaking, each time you go into a rapid you need to choose a line. A line is a clear path through the river that potentially won’t flip you or put you into danger. Most rapids have several lines. You can take the rapid slowly, pulling into eddies along the way to stop and look at the river. You can bust through the rapid taking the fastest moving water through what we call wave trains, where there are less rocks, maneuvering around what we call “holes” that can potentially flip you and hold you in their grip.
When I’m learning a new river, I tend to follow someone else’s line. This person has usually kayaked the river before. At some point, the person may take a line that is good for their skill level or even their boat, but for the person following, it may not work out.
This is exactly what happened on this particular weekend. I’d been following my friend’s line down the river. In one particular rapid I’d seen a line that looked good to me, but when he made a hard paddle to the left, I figured he knew something I didn’t know.
Instead of following my instincts, I chased after him, and made a quick maneuver between two rocks. Within a half second I was flipped. The stories I’d been told from the people who’d paddled this river, were those of hitting your face on rocks, of danger everywhere, instead of positivity. With these war stories in mind, when I didn’t roll up the first time, I pulled my skirt and swam the rapid.
The next thing I knew I was being pulled down the river as I tried to swim to shore with both my boat and paddle in tow. I missed the first eddy and went over a large rock, smashing my thigh twice against the boulder as I was pulled into the hole, my boat ripped from my hands.
I finally made it out of the river, my boat downstream, and I limped through the woods, my thigh bleeding as it swelled.
I realized at that moment, if I’d followed my instincts and trusted my ability I probably would’ve been fine.
These days life is filled with too much advice. There are more business and personal coaches who tell us how to live and achieve success. We see at least 100 advertisements per day that tout products that will solve our problems.
In these teachings and advertising, the one thing that is lost is our ability to trust in creating our own lines. Just because something has worked for another person, or a company has gotten results for a person, doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.
For instance, I take a product called Isagenix. This company’s shakes have caused me to excel in my sports, stopped my stomach pain, and has created incredible health. My friend tried the product and felt horrible.
In career, in relationships, in life, we all have to find our own personal lines. When people come to see me speak, I don’t say, “Hey, if you take this trip, create this experience, and live by these five rules, you’ll be successful.” It wouldn’t work, because I like a very different lifestyle.
Everyone has their personal journey of success that is built from experiencing life in their unique way. The only way I can help them is to create the experiences that will build their confidence so that they can find their own line.
Yet here I’ve been in business and in kayaking, thinking that someone else will know best.
When we’re scared or don’t know how to proceed, it’s tempting to follow a prescribed journey. The method of do this equals get this result, creates false security. Life doesn’t work this way.
The only true path to happiness, success, and not getting flipped over, is to learn the skills we need to follow our path and create our own line.
I wish I could go back in time and tell the woman who thought she didn’t know what she was doing to stop looking to others to create her success. Instead, if I’d followed my own inner guidance, looked to my line. . . well then I might’ve succeeded much faster.
I believe with all my heart and experience that our dreams are the roadmaps to the life we are meant to live. When we follow our deepest desires, the ones that whisper to us and that we are oftentimes afraid to follow for fear of failure, we find our line in life.
The greatest advice I can give you, is to look to your line, your dreams, and find the path that is right for you.