What I have learned from going for my dream….

I have been home back in New Zealand for 6 weeks now, and have been doing a lot of reflecting. I am also working on editing my film about the Freestyle Word Championships, which now that is all over, is giving me the opportunity to see the whole picture.

As they say hindsight is always twenty- twenty.

I went for my dream of becoming the freestyle kayak world champion and even though I didn’t achieve my goal of winning a gold medal I feel like I have gained something even more important.

I learned how to have discipline, and how to get up early everyday and motivate myself.

I learned how to face my fear of failure, and most importantly know that my self worth isn’t equal to my performance.

I learned I could be a good sport and get over my disappointment and get back out there on the sidelines and cheer for my friends still in the competition.

I learned how to value myself regardless of the outcome.

Polly filming at the Freestyle Kayak World Champs in Plattling Germany

I have been able to see how much of my kayaking career has been based around my ego, striving for recognition.
Now I know that none of that is real. What is real is how I feel inside.

And today I feel good.

I have been paddling almost everyday since I have been home, and feel a new found love and appreciation for kayaking and the river.

I have been paddling a lot by myself lately, something I used to really not like doing, but now I am really enjoying it.

I am doing it for ME.

Not for the recognition of being good and the ego boost. Now I am paddling because I love to, because it feels good.

I am so grateful to have had this realization and I can honestly say I feel different.

Kayaking feels different and the river feels different.

I am smiling a lot more now and realize this whole journey has brought me back to myself, which I think is what I was looking for all along.

This feeling is priceless.

I am crying as I write this, because it is making me see that it was all for this reason, right now.

The whole time I was training last year, deep down I knew I had to do it, go for my dream of being the world champion, but I didn’t know why. And at times I really questioned myself and thought it was a crazy idea, but ..

Now I know.

And now I can see.

This is why.

I am so grateful that it has brought me back to the river in a new way, and that kayaking can be exactly what I want it to be and that is ok. Getting off the river everyday now with a big smile on my face is the best reward I could ever ask for.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way! It really meant a lot getting words of encouragement,
and a huge thank you to all of the crew at Kokatat for the years of believing in me and for being a second family!

~Polly

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