For years I took beginner ski lessons, passed the pie technique, and as soon as I got on the mountain, I was unable to move past the fear of feeling out of control. I wanted to overcome my fear of skiing. However, I couldn’t convince my mind, it would be okay.

The fear of losing control was stronger than my desire to overcome my fear of skiing, and I stopped trying. Recently, however, I have been working on overcoming fears. I started a new career at 45, graduated college at 50, and now at 53, I am helping women like you be Socially Brave too.

Did I mention I am the founder of Socially Brave? I love sharing that because, for years now, it has pushed me to move past the fears in my life somehow, though this one is taking longer to overcome.

It begins with my Son Aaron. Side note, he is Socially Brave too, when recently wrote about his weight loss journey, Calories in Calories out: what it took me to lose 140 lbs. and how you can too. ) He reads my Instagram post and calls me up. “Mom, you’ve been talking about skiing for a while, I will help you.”

As a mom, the biggest compliment your grown children can offer is asking if you want to hang out. The only thing I heard at this moment was my son wants to spend the day with me.

I wasn’t thinking about how hard skiing was going to be!. I’m all-in! That is, until reality sets in and I realize, first time back on skis in over 20 years. What did I agree to? You will have a resistance when reality sets in, and the thoughts of what could happen plays in our head.

The day before we were to leave, I tried to cancel. even going as far as calling Aaron several times with excuses. I have to take care of the dog; I don’t have ski pants, I don’t want to take up your day... each time he said; “you’re going, don’t give up on yourself.”

The day has arrived to overcome fear, Aarons picks me up, and we head out of town. Driving, I am focused on my mindset… I am socially brave; it can be done. It’s going to be a great day, don’t give up, and you are not alone.

Let me step back for a minute; I feel like it’s that time in the blog where I should introduce myself. My name is Wendy Knipp, and I am in midlife. Gulp! I sometimes wonder who is staring back at me in the mirror. It’s not quite the image I have in my mind or how I feel. Yet here we are, older than dirt- Okay, exaggeration, but funny, especially in a crowded room.

For most of my life, the courage to live life as my true self came in waves of strength, with some months being better than others. I would leap out in faith and go halfway then retreat.

The desire to fit in was so strong that I conformed to who others thought I should be. It hasn’t been this way for years now. However, I still have emotional triggers and limiting beliefs just like you.

Here I am in midlife, and I am ready to live without regrets… no more will I start to shine then retreat to a lesser version of myself. I feel prepared to overcome my fear and be Socially Brave, which is why I have decided to overcome my fear of skiing this year.

I was arriving at the Arizona Snow Bowl. I have prepared myself and looking forward to spending the day with Aaron. In full disclosure, I was so nervous, before I got started, my son had to collect all my gear and carry to the snow for me.

Fast forward, skis on, and he said, can you push yourself with the poles?… you’re doing great. Wow! Then he says, let’s get on the lift. WHAAAT? Hold up, can’t we start on the bunny hill? Do they have a baby bunny hill? Come on, mom; you got this. Do I Aaron? Do I???

Off we go, I’m standing in front of the chair lift, hesitant, and frozen with fear. Not fond of being on the chair and less excited about falling when I try to get off. I can’t do this. “Come on, Mom,” Aaron says, “you got this.”

I want so much to tell you I got off the chair without any issues. However, I was too scared to move. I sat there as if I had no control over the movement of my body. They stopped the chair, and I jump off.

Although this was not a good start, I am okay with the way my progress is going. I realize the process can be long, and smaller steps to gain confidence is needed. I am in the moment doing the work, and not much will go easy during this process.

The rest of the day goes as follows- Imagine I am trying to turn, dragging the other leg to follow. I do not have a slight shift in weight skill set, but I am moving across the mountain. The good news is not many people on the hill as it is a weekday and towards the end of the season. Here is when the fear sets in for me.

At the point when I must turn, I’m being frozen with fear, and I am unable to convince my mind it will be okay to move forward. Each time I start to move and feel out of control, I panic and stop.

As Aaron is patiently waiting for me while I go through the stages of panic; he encourages me: you can do this, don’t give up on yourself. I can not seem to will myself to move, nothing but time, and moving past fear is going to solve this.

I want you to know; my brain is working hard to get me to see the emotional or physical fear. In this case, it was emotional, and I knew it would need a leap of faith to get me off this mountain.

I made it to the bottom, thank goodness because I am exhausted. The thought of going back is overwhelming. I want to quit; No! Aaron says I will not let you give up on yourself. Dang, I need to get my Socially Brave self in gear if I am going to overcome fear!!

The truth is… we are afraid; being socially brave is not having the absence of fear. It’s moving forward anyway, in any aspect of your life. I have been in the process for a while now; I don’t appear to be improving when Aaron suggests something that is making me happy.

Let’s take smaller steps, back on the mountain, I go. Only this time, I am on a minor hill. Standing at the top, I can see the steep downhill slope as I move towards the bottom. Turn right (that’s the easiest for me) I stop.

My heart is pounding, my mind goes blank, I know I need to move, but I can’t. Again, I am frozen with fear. Move mom; I’m scared, Aaron Mom, look at me, I will not let you give up on yourself, move.

Tears in my eyes, I finally start my slow descent down the hill. Standing at the bottom, and relieved I made it; I go up again. I learned something after a while, each time I go up the hill, it gets a little bit easier, I don’t, stand as long and the movement is a little more fluid.

Finally, on the sixth time of me standing on this mountain, I look down as the once overwhelming hill, I realized… Aaron is right; It’s not as steep as it appeared.

I can now see the mountain and the fear that faced me with a different set of lenses! It is the rare few who start something and can pick up a skill with ease. For most of us, we repeat the pattern of failing more than we would like.

Had I given up again, I would have been disappointed in myself for quitting. Life lessons are about getting back up. The fear inside did everything it could to convince me to stop. 

I was overwhelmed each time I went up, and I wanted to quit. From my perspective, we don’t know when the moment will happen, and the fear subsides. 

I hope you keep going, move past fear, and be Socially Brave.


  • February 27, 2020