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Getting my brave on

I woke up on Wednesday this week knowing that in order to take the following day off to go canoeing with my niece and nephew, I would need to do a whole load of scary things in order to make that happen. The first scary task, take care of business: Email some people (similar to a cold call, just email, to be followed up with the even scarier task of phoning them on Monday). Once that was done, I could focus on the next task.

Second scary task: Fit brand new roof bars together and affix them to the car before the shade disappeared and I burned to a crisp. No pressure. Usually, my husband would take on such tasks, or we would do it collaboratively (kind of), but he had gone off to work and I was left with the roof rack and it’s picture-intensive manual. I started trying to make sense of the manual by getting an overview of it. This did not work, there were too many pieces to the puzzle and the manual had zero words and I could feel myself becoming negative and disheartened by it (This negativity was what I had feared the most about this task). So I sat back in the retreating shade and started at the top and followed the steps, I realised that the manual was clear, as in what the pictures were trying to convey was clear, once I allowed the process to filter into my brain through my eyes and hands.

The third task of the day was pleasant, it involved kitchen time, making high protein nut balls inspired by my pal Jenny and similar enough to the ones I took cycling all those years ago. These contain a mix of ground nuts, seeds, cocoa nibs, pitted dates and coconut oil, formed into balls and dusted with cocoa powder. See loose recipe below. I also had to feed my cultures and tidy up the kitchen as I was going to be away on Thursday.

The next scary task involved packing up and driving to a part of the city that I do not know, thankfully Google Maps is ok for navigation, otherwise I don’t know how I would have gotten there (though I am sure she took me on the scenic route for a laugh). Once there, there being my pal’s house, I had the task of putting a 16-foot canoe onto a 14-foot car, and strapping it down so that it could be taken down the country via the M8 without losing the canoe or it ripping my roof off. It took 25 mins to solo wrangle the canoe on to the roof rack, and another 35 to strap it down (Oh how my body ached the next morning). By now I was feeling rather sick of this canoe. Anyway, I finally left South Dublin at 20:20 and caught the ring road and on to the N7. I picked up a hitchhiker that was kind of going my way (another story), and that gave me the excuse to stop and check the strappings on the boat.After a pleasant, though disjointed chat, I dropped this person off in Kildare somewhere and continued on with the journey.

So here I was driving down the M7 and on to the M8 at 80kmph (50mph), being passed out by all the lorries and trucks,  I arrived exhausted at my destination at around midnight. Thankfully there was a bed waiting for me, and I was left wondering what there was there to be fearful of, everything had worked out fine, the boat, the car and I had arrived in one piece and all was well.

The following morning after a breakfast of birthday cake, eggs and coffee, I showed the kids (10 and 8 years old) the car with the canoe, they were so excited. We packed a picnic and drove to a river. Thankfully this time my sister was there to wrangle the canoe with me. We gave the kids the water safety lesson (lecture) and put buoyancy aids on all participants. We had a great trip down and up a quiet part of this river and we let the little ones paddle the canoe from the front while their mom got lunch organised on the riverbank. The birthday boy (10) thought this was the best birthday ever and he could not stop thanking me, (bless him).

After disinfecting the boat, we reloaded it onto the car and went back for more cake, coffee and a shower. I left soon afterwards, reversing the journey, up the M8, on to the M7, on to the ring road to South Dublin, dropped off the canoe, and caught the ring road and the M1 home, a much faster journey without a canoe on the roof! I got home exhausted, but happy. Happy that I had not allowed the fear I felt prior to starting to stop me, happy that my nephew had a great birthday and that I could help him celebrate. Happy also that I had faced some of my fears, and they were not so bad, and that knowledge will give me the courage to face future fears.

Fear is useful in that it creates caution. Caution helps us to carry out activities safely, like driving slowly when carrying a canoe, wearing life-jackets, being careful about the image of ourselves that we portray when looking for business. Fear is useless when we allow it to paralyse us when it stops us from doing the things we want to do. This is a lesson that I am going to have to carry with me daily in my developing role as a business person. There are going to be scary things I will have to do, and with practice (repetition), I am sure that these things are going to get easier to do. Doing the things that take us outside our comfort zones is empowering. You realise what you can achieve, you get an understanding of your limitations, and you learn that with practice, those limitations can be pushed.

Recipe time

So here is what you have all been waiting for, wondering how much more wordage there is going to be until Zaneta gets to the promised recipe for protein balls. These are useful when you need a protein kick, there is also enough carbs and sugars in them to help keep you awake and allow your body to process the protein. The nettle seeds give a good mood boosting kick of acetylcholine and serotonin.

While a food processor is not strictly needed it sure makes creating food like this a lot easier. This is a loose recipe, feel free to substitute ingredients for what you already have. Add more dates if you have a sweet tooth, reduce or add more oil to taste, if you want it less soft and more chocolaty, add cocoa powder to the mix to soak up the oil. If you come up with a mix you particularly like, please share it below in the comments section. I would love to hear from you.

High protein vegan protein balls

200g ground almonds

200g mixed ground seeds

(suggested: sesame, flax, chia, sunflower, pumpkin, nettle seed (mood booster, poppy, cacao nibs)

10 or so pitted dates for sweetness and energy

2tbs melted coconut oil (adds to the nutritive value and it makes it texturally moreish as it melts in the mouth like chocolate

cocoa powder for dusting

Blitz all the dry ingredients together in food processor (not cocoa powder). Add melted coconut oil and form into balls. Coat each ball in cocoa powder and store in airtight container.

Don’t forget, on the 6th of August, I am hosting a family friendly berry forage in beautiful North Wicklow. Click here for details