[EDITOR'S NOTE: This was a good day for a pep talk. Thanks, Mark! ~Katie]
My grandmother was a great gardner who often said “You can’t water your garden if you are standing on your own hose."
 Oh how true this is for life!
There are usually several obstacles that stand between you and accomplishing a goal.  However, your toughest opponent is always yourself.
Who is the only person who can keep you from learning?  Who is the only person who keeps you from paddling and training more often?  Who is the person that chooses your diet?  Who is the person that puts the most pressure on you?  
Of course, the answer is YOU.

Fall Down; Get Back Up

There is no harm in failing, if you learn from it. No harm in falling, as long as you get back up one more time than you’ve fallen down. 
 In many cases the real damage happens when you “beat yourself up”, in the form of losing self-confidence, severe self-criticism, developing a negative attitude & going into a state of depression.  The challenge doesn’t do this to you, you do!  You would not let a friend treat you as badly as you sometimes treat yourself.

Become your own Biggest Fan

If you want to become a better paddler, you have to become your own biggest fan. 
 All you have to do is be as committed to yourself as you are to your best friend and learn to like yourself as much as your best friend likes you.
Have you ever noticed that what you say you will do and what you actually end up doing are two different things?  
Do you keep your word to yourself?  When you promise yourself you will do something, do you?
In order to be your own best fan you have to be loyal, trustworthy, and dependable to yourself.  To do this, start keeping your commitments  to yourself.
Your best friends do not like you more or less based on wether you win or lose, succeed  or fail.  Their friendship is not contingent on your performance.
Are you this accepting of yourself?  The secret is: the better you feel about yourself, the better you will be able to deal with the emotional roller coaster that life puts you on. Many people get in a viscous cycle of always having to prove themselves.  The cycle continues until the cycle gets broken & they burns out, or give up.
Don’t be a fair weather fan of yourself, believe in yourself all the time.
No, it’s not always easy, but it is a necessary step in the right direction.
It also becomes infectious and after you start believing in yourself you will notice others following your lead.
Mark Colino is head coach of Stand Strong Race \ Fitness in New Jersey, the northeast sales rep for Starboard surf & sup and a longtime Mullethead.
A pep talk from Mark Colino!