You Don’t Need It

Who needs a snowboard when you've got this?

This past weekend I went on a dad / daughter snowboarding weekend. On the morning of the second day, as we were getting our gear out of the car, I realised something horrible. I’d accidentally taken someone else’s board home with me the day before, and had left mine behind!

I felt really bad for the person who’s board I’d taken. It was smaller than mine, and I imagined some kid being really upset when they’d realised their board wasn’t there. Hoping luck was on my side, I went looking for my board in the area where I’d left it the day before, but it was nowhere to be found. I felt doubly bad. This day had not started well.

I handed the board I’d accidentally taken into customer service, gave them my details in case my board turned up, and then went and got a rental for the day. Gutted and trying to stay positive, we headed up the chairlift into sunny, fresh powder conditions. The first run down was epic. I noticed my mood starting to shift. I began to feel lighter, and thought ‘oh well, that board has served me well. It was an expensive mistake. Time to let it go.’ As I focused on enjoying what we had - time together as dad and daughter in a beautiful natural environment - I found myself thinking less about the dumb mistake I’d made and more present to and grateful for what was right in front of me.

After a few runs, I was getting too hot and I went to take a layer off. As I walked to my bag, guess what? There was my board! Some kind person has put it inside the cafe and propped it against the wall. 

Here’s what’s interesting to me about this. My response wasn’t elation, or relief. It was more muted. Kind of like “oh cool, there it is, now I can return the rental.” I even surprised myself. Don’t get me wrong. I love riding that board and I’ve created a lot of happy memories with it. But, that morning, something had shifted in my relationship with it. It was no longer something I was attached to. I didn’t need it to have fun. I could find other ways to do that.

The lesson? Realise that you’re good without most of the stuff you think you need. 

I think that applies not only to things, but also to less tangible stuff, like opinions or identity. Last week I posted on LinkedIn that seemed to resonate with a whole lot of people: “You can hold an opinion. But don't let the opinion hold you.”

We can tell ourselves that we’ll be OK when we have that thing. That piece of equipment. That promotion. That permission. That clarity. But making our OK-ness conditional on something external to us can hold us back from being present and effective in the moment. 

What are you telling yourself you need to have in order to be good?

You probably don’t need it.

Imagine you don’t have it but you need to perform anyway. 

How creative could you get?

Food for thought…

P.S. After I found my board, I went to customer service to let them know. They told me they’d tracked down the family of the person whose board I’d taken, and they were stoked. Happy endings 🙂

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