We just finished a week long ski vacation with the family, and every year it is a fantastic experience. Over the years I have noticed a few lessons that are applicable to our success as well as our life and happiness.
- Sometimes you go with the flow of the mountain and roll with the hills and turns it gives you; sometimes you cut across the mountain and define your own path; and sometimes you tuck and go as fast as you can in a race to the finish. Our lives and careers are a balance and we are happier when we can learn to do all three. If we spend too much time going with the flow, we get bored and don’t feel challenged. If we spend too much time battling and blazing our own trail we get worn out and beat up, and don’t have time to appreciate the other parts of our life, and if we don’t focus and head for the finish line every now and then, we spend our lives in “almost mode”, never fully reaching our dreams. Find the balance that is right for you. Pay attention to when one method isn’t working and you should switch to another.
- The battle is between you and the mountain; don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Some people will be slower than you and some will be faster. Older people will struggle to get down the mountain, while small children will whiz by in a flash of confidence and skill. If you are thinking about how or what they are doing, you can’t focus on how you can get better and make it down the mountain in the best way for you. If you compare yourself to others and come up short, you risk losing the confidence and momentum needed to be your best. If you compare yourself to others and come up looking better, you can become complacent and not reach your full potential. Your success and happiness depend on your ability to focus on being the best you can be, rather than being distracted by what everyone else can be.
- When you fall down don’t lay in the snow. It just makes you colder and less motivated. Too often we get knocked down by the challenges in life and find it easier to just lay there instead of jumping up and risking another failure. The longer we lay there the harder it is to get up and get going again. Don’t get stuck on the mountain wishing you hadn’t failed. Get up out of the snow as fast as you can, fix your skis, adjust your goggles and head back down the mountain. Chase your goals until you reach them, no matter how many times you fall.
- Take lessons. Don’t believe you can teach yourself or that you are the only person in the world who is dedicated to helping you get better. We all need help and perspectives from different people. We need encouragement and brutal honesty. Surround yourself with teachers, learn from everyone you can. Keep pushing to become better. Help others by letting them help you.
Lastly and most importantly, skiing is not just about getting down the mountain; it is about enjoying the trip. Focus on the goal, but have fun along the way. Then when you get to the bottom, you will be excited to ride back up the lift and start again.