Fake it ’til you make it

26 Mar

She was tall, put together, confident. “Fake it ’til you make it,” she stated cooly. We were dumbfounded students gathering advice for our looming careers. “Never turn down an opportunity. Say ‘yes’, figure it out, and do it.”

It was so simple. Fake it ’til you make it.

This mantra helped me through my first spokeswoman gig, annual reports, speeches, and many a news conference. But now, I was facing the biggest challenge of all: ice. I have been proud of my ability to conquer this nemesis through the past cold months, as long as I forget about the huge scar from an unfortunate incident back in January.

But here we were. In the mountains. On an ice walk. For his birthday, he wanted to do something other than the all day ski/snowboard fests we usually take part in on our mountain jaunts. He wanted to do something different: explore. He mentioned the ice walk and I booked it, with fake it ’til you make it on repeat through my head.

Think of the photos! The pretty scenery! The mountains! How much you love B! I overdressed in warm clothes, not taking the unseasonably warm temperatures into account. The superman of a guide we had eased my fears with his tales of cross-Canada journeys and the laundry list of jobs he had done in the past — medic, biologist, mountain guide, corporate world, photographer — and he’s going back to school for marine biology. If he could do all of these things, I could hike for four hours (!!!).

With each stomp to dig our cleats in to the slick pathway, we saw unprepared, uncleated tourists fall. They would slide into the guard rails, pull themselves up steep hills by grasping the rail and heaving their body along with only their upper body strength. They would venture off the beaten track in hopes that trees and fresher snow would provide traction. Our guide pulled us to the side, “It’s a little crowded now, but they won’t last. The trail only gets worse.”

Great. I was already sweating. I removed my gloves, scarf, hat, and jacket. I grabbed B’s hand and remarked about the views. We were in a canyon; I had to admit, this was cool.

The terrain did get worse. The air is thin at higher altitudes, and with each hard stomp to dig in my feet, chatter silenced. I took small, hard steps up steep hills, jogged down so I didn’t lose my footing, and tried to avoid looking down the un-railed cliff. People were sliding all around us, and a fall off the trail would mean disaster. A smiling guide asked how we were doing; “good”, I replied. Fake it ’til you make it.

The only thing in my mind was making it to that waterfall, and with each step the troubles that had been weighing down on me all week fell from my shoulders like so many people down that ice.  I conquered that canyon, without falling once. It was totally worth it.

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6 Responses to “Fake it ’til you make it”

  1. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair March 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    Oh wow, that looks gorgeous!!!! Love it!

  2. Emily Jane March 27, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Oh wow… those shots are incredible, and you are SO BRAVE! “Fake it ’til you make it” has always helped me in times when I’ve been scared of something, and it’s something I teach a lot of my students, too. I tell them at the end of class how terrified I was of public speaking (and still am to a certain extent!) but it’s all about faking it until it’s not scary any more 🙂 Good for you!! And very pretty picture 🙂

  3. hannahkaty March 28, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    That is amazingggg.. Good for you love.

    Best,

    Hannah Katy

  4. Dionne_C March 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    This looks breathtaking! Congrats on making it despite your concerns!

  5. MelissaOK March 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    Those photos are beautiful! Glad you had a good time and thought the trip was well worth it!

  6. Andrea April 5, 2010 at 6:41 am #

    I’m so proud of you. What a journey! xo

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