Learning to Learn
Slow down jade, take a breath
I was perched on a couple tractor tires trying to go forward, when all my Jeep wanted to do was go sideways. We were up at Ma and Pa Rockers in Lake Nebagamon and a friend was spotting me. After inching back and forth to get moving the right way, I started to feel rushed, like I needed to get out of there.
I knew I could go the way I wanted if I tried hard enough and that’s when the reminder came. “Slow down Jade, take a breath.” I realized then, that I unintentionally was moving so fast there was no way I would get up that obstacle without that reminder. Now, every time I am feeling frustrated or rushed, I say that little reminder out loud. Here’s the deal, guys – in this sport we are all always learning. The ones who will excel, are the ones who take those learning experiences and apply them repeatedly.
In my opinion, the best way to improve yourself is to learn from folks who are better than you. I’ve spent lots of time in the passengers’ seat with more experienced drivers asking questions, watching them wheel (as a passenger and a spectator), and soaking up all the information I can. I am also very fortunate to have people in my life with different vehicles than mine who let me hop in their drivers’ seats and give me tips, teach me new techniques, and help me through my mistakes. As a young gal in the sport, I love the support I have around me from friends and family to grow and develop my skills. From my brother telling me he won’t help me with a project in the shop because I need to just figure it out myself, to my friends pushing me to try an obstacle, even though I’m nervous my Jeep isn’t quite cut out for it. I’m blessed to be in a position where I get to take on those challenges (sometimes fueled by frustration… ahem, Eli and Zach) and feel accomplished when I’m done. None of us are ‘too good’ to ask for advice sometimes. In fact, the most experienced off-roaders I know regularly ask other people for tips, advice on a project they are working on, and reflect on different obstacles to think of how they could have done it differently.
In the end, here’s the thing about learning: It’s hard, sometimes embarrassing, and always rewarding in the long run. There are times when you feel like you just cannot do it. Times when you’re tired and the last thing you need to finish the night before an event is installing the shock, but the bushing fights you to the bitter end. Times when you’re attempting an obstacle that you have never beat and you need a good spotter and some confidence. I’m here to tell you that we have all been there before. It does not matter if you’re a professional mechanic, YouTube certified, or have never picked up a wrench before. You will learn more than you ever expected by getting hands-on and dirty in the shop and behind the wheel.