Theory U & Stand up PaddleBoat

In a recent learning experience, I was introduced to “Theory U” — Leading from future by Otto Scharmer.

Important concept which intrigued me is “Presencing”. While there are 7 steps in this theory u, I tried to use this for my new learning of “paddle boat”

“Standup Paddle Boat “ — I have seen people doing this activity, but never tried to understand how this works, how do to. I was exposed to this at an instant moment. We were to do kayak. Kayak required 2 persons to be on the boat to row. Our group became odd number of people and one person was left our and that was myself. With great anxiety, agreed for Paddle boat. There were 5 kids (including my son) who were so enthusiastic about this. Atleast my son had not done paddle boat earlier , but he is good in swimming and had great confidence that he can learn the paddle boat.

We had initial instructions on how to attach the boat to our ankles, how to hold the paddle, how to sit, how to stand, turn right , left , turn around and how to climb up if we fall down etc. all these were instructed in less than 5 mins. It seemed to get into the head, until we hit the water.

The first instruction was to sit in the boat, stand up using the paddle, balance the boat. It seemed to be eternity before I could complete this first step. The reality sank in. The boat started moving due to wind. I had to take control , else will fall down from the boat. Gut feel, knew that it’s going to take more effort, stamina and will power to get up on the boat again, if I fall down the water!. There were options 1) let go of the fear of falling down 2) let go of the fact that I have not attempted paddle boat till now 3) let go of the fear of unknown 4) just be there to experience how paddle boating is !. I let go of the first 3. Fact and Fears. Just stood in the boat for a minute, balancing on the paddle. Got the comfort of the feeling of the feat in the boat. Adjusted my feet in parallel to each other. Pushed the full control on the feet and also on the paddle. Don’t know from where. There was feeling of confidence, feeling of awesome experience. By this time, the boat has moved slowly around 50m away from the shore. I saw the instructor. Waved him to come near me. Asked him to teach how to turn right and left. Checked with him whether I’m doing ok. His confirmation was building more confidence on me. With the correct direction, with full power, pushed the paddle from my top left of the boat to bottom left of the boat. I was cruising. I would have Cruised few meters but that was more than enough for further paddling. Moved on to right side then left side and I was literally cruising away from the shore and to the instructed place near the mountains. I was told that the water near the mountain has less waves and will be able to balance the paddle better. At some point, lost control , was about to fall. But used the paddle to steady up. In between , the instructor came around to take photos of us paddling in the sea( sort of backwaters). Eventually reached the other end, rested a little, enjoyed the views, took in deep breath and was very happy with the way I had learnt the paddling. Great experience.

We cruised back with ease. Some of kids went further away from shore ,experienced more adrenalin.

Presencing had real effect on a practical situation to overcome the fear of known fact to explore into the unknown. The solution or way to go into the future was determined that moment.

Image of Stand up Paddle Boat (SUP)

Image Source: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/06/12/20/48/stand-up-paddle-1453004_960_720.jpg

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