Updated: Sep 18, 2019
I have a question that I regularly ask my wife. It's usually used when we are about to embark on some sort of "adventure" (Sometimes big and sometimes small). I say "adventure" because life is filled with the possibility of discovering new things and adventure can be found in each of those discoveries. "Adventure" can be found in simple moments such as sitting on the back porch enjoying a cold lemonade after a hard day of working in the sun, or in more challenging times such as getting ready to move to another country.
The question that I ask is, "Are you ready for this!?" How many of us are ever actually "ready" for whatever the next step may be? Was I ready to get married? Ready to have kids? For each of these questions, I would no doubt say that I had a strong desire for each of these things but really, logistically, financially, emotionally, "ready"? Definitely not! Regardless of how much we prepare, we are never truly "ready."...And as I've recently discovered...that's totally fine.
To move from Iowa to Ironwood, Michigan for the summer to guide kayak trips on Lake Superior seemed a bit daunting to say the least! I didn't feel ready in the slightest. I knew that I had bits and pieces of the puzzle, but there were some significant gaps. I felt inadequate in my skills, knowledge, and equipment. I did, however, find comfort in the fact that where I was going, there would be each of these things waiting for me. The skills that I didn't have, could be taught. The knowledge that I needed was already possessed by those that would be guiding me, and all of the equipment would be at-the-ready.
In learning the skills, I discovered that I had many of the building blocks to perform the skills well, but needed to refine many of them. At the beginning of my training, I felt that I needed to "have it all together," and felt that I needed to be perfect. I am so thankful that that has not been the case while getting trained. The leaders here have been great! Though there are many skills and knowledge that I have yet to learn, I have never felt inadequate in what I don't know or what I can't do while living here. My trainers have been focused on development, and have worked with me where I am at regarding my skills and knowledge and are willing to impart to me anything that I need in that regard.
The reoccurring theme of the previous few months has been "remain teachable." Going into the next season where I will be guiding overnight trips to the Apostle Islands, remaining teachable will be the name of the game, as I once again do something that I've never done. There will be many questions in the days ahead. How do I assess the customer's ability before taking them on a three-day trip? How much risk is too much risk? What happens if we have to stay on an island an extra day as a result of the weather changing rapidly? Will we have enough food? Will there be places that we can take shelter in the event of a massive storm?
Though "are you ready for this!?" is a simple question, I ask it to provoke a desire for stepping into a new experience and embracing the challenge that lies ahead, "ready" or not. I only hope to provoke the same desire in those that I'll be leading. So... the real question isn't, "Are you ready for this?" but rather, "Are you willing to go and let the experience change you?"