Leadership Skill: Creating Deep Fun:
Moving People from Fear to Confidence to Joy
by William McGinnis
December 31, 2005
Fear is a limiting factor in whitewater rafting, and many other outdoor and adventure sports. We'll learn some useful techniques for taking someone's fear, and helping them get beyond the fear, to experience the joy of accomplishment.
For people new to rafting, the thought of floating down through the swirling currents and surging, cresting waves of an actual wild river in an inflatable rubber boat composed mainly of thin air can be a daunting prospect. Such fears are entirely normal. In fact, when most people contemplate outdoor adventure activities like whitewater rafting, it is entirely normal to experience fear, consciously or unconsciously, on a number of levels. There is physical fear: Am I going to get hurt? Am I going to die? There is social fear: Am I going to be accepted or rejected by this group? And biggest of all, for most of us, are fears around issues of self esteem: Can I do this? Am I OK?
Skilled river guides can implicitly assuage all of these fears in the very way they prepare people and guide them down the river. Every trip begins with a thorough safety talk and in-boat training which teach everything trip members need to know to make it safely down the river"thereby addressing physical fear. And by doing this with warmth, caring, good humor and respect, professional guides create an atmosphere of acceptance and support and good fun in which social fears and fears around issues of self esteem melt away.
In fact, a river journey with well-trained guides is much more than just a physical movement from put-in to take-out, it is a journey from fear to confidence to joy, from being a stranger to being known and feeling bonded with one's boat mates, from feeling perhaps scattered and self-critical inside to feeling more self-accepting, more whole, more fully alive – and, as an extra plus, it is a journey from feeling cut off from the natural world to feeling connected with and truly amazed and delighted by the magic of our planet. In short, a well-guided river trip is a voyage into deep fun.
The above is an excerpt from Bill's new book The Guide's Guide Augmented. The definitive how-to book on professional guiding, The Guide's Guide Augmented presents a comprehensive philosophy and detailed methods for creating deep fun: Trips which entertain, inspire, educate, thrill, heal and delight. To learn more about Bill's books, river trips, and 2-, 5-, & 7-day guide schools, visit WhitewaterVoyages.com or call 800-400-RAFT.
" We have been rafting with you for 5 years and have enjoyed the frequent rafter discount. Your guides are always very fun and safe. I just completed 2 days of the Kayak school and Tracy was fantastic, he really made it fun. I can't wait to do the rest of the course. See you this weekend for 2 days on the Kaweah! "
San Luis Obispo, California