Spring break has been full of adventures, but for me, one of the most challenging yet rewarding ones was learning to ski. From this adventure, I learned some lessons that are applicable to so many different areas of life. Here are just a few of the ones I wanted to share:
1. You need other people to help you, and that's okay.
Honestly, just having someone there to raise you up or encourage you to stand when you fall makes all the difference. I was lucky my friends didn’t laugh at my embarrassing falls and fears (at least not as much as I laughed at myself!), because behind my laughter I was criticizing myself all too harshly, thinking, “Man, I bet I look ridiculous. No one else falls this much, right?” and “If I don’t get this right, I guess that means I am lacking in something.” Obviously that’s not at all true and I needed to give myself some more grace (something I think we all have to work on).
The people that surrounded me had power to lift me up or let me stay down, but their understanding and patience with me—both of them had skied before—changed how I viewed my own failures and successes, and how I began to view this fun sport. Simple, kind words like, “you can do this; be confident!” empowered me to pull myself back up and keep going.
2. Persistence is key.
The trainer for my skiing lesson responded perfectly when I asked “what do I do now?” when I felt like I was starting to get the hang of the slope we were on, by saying something along the lines of: “You go up the mountain, then down the mountain, then back up the mountain, then back down the mountain… Again and again.”
I started thinking about how this could apply to anything in life that you want to accomplish. You can’t rush it.
Sometimes you just have to go up and down the mountain until it becomes second nature, until you know you can do it well (because you can).
3. There is always more than one way to do the thing.
I first learned the “pizza slice” method of stopping yourself; spreading out your back feet and bending your knees so your skiis look like a huge pizza slice.
When I faced steeper slopes, though, I needed a new way to get down a bit slower than I was. So, the girls I was skiing with showed me a different way that worked for them, and I realized there were definitely a lot of ways I could choose to go at this.
I needed to figure out what worked for me and to stop thinking so hard about it, because when I finally let go of my fear, I let my body and the mountain’s twists and curves guide the movements… and it worked much better!
So, all that to say: pick yourself back up and keep on moving. Realize that your fears are conquerable. Keep climbing up that mountain and gliding right back down. Good things will happen.