We all have those moments in life. Recently, I had one on a ski slope in Canada.
My husband and I had decided to go to the top of the mountain and ski the bowl. I was a little hesitant because I saw a sign that said “expert skiers only” (I would rate myself as intermediate). He checked it out and the workers said that the sign was incorrect. On the first big hill, I took off among the throngs but something went awry. I felt my left ski lose control and before I knew it, I was down and tumbling. My body stopped rolling halfway down, with no skis and no poles in the vicinity. When I had my skis back on and my poles again in hand, I looked down the mountain. Something had changed inside of me. The more I stared down the hill, the more I became stuck. My legs went from shaking to rigid and tight.
Instructors stopped to help me but the more that I received help, the worse it got. I went from a feeling of high anxiety to one of anger. In that moment, I hated that I was there and could think of thousands of other things I’d rather be doing. It took me forever to get down the mountain as I progressed from paralyzed to slowly moving. I had no confidence, no skills and no interest in being on that mountain.
But I refused to give in. By the afternoon, I was flying down mountains again. We were one of the last skiers to come in because I didn’t want the day to end.
I’m sharing this story because I believe the lessons you need to learn in life for a successful 2016 are all embedded in this story.
- Mountains in life always look bigger than they are in reality.
When I was paralyzed looking down the mountain, it appeared to be the steepest hill that I had ever attempted. I believed that 100% in my heart. However, the reality is that the elevation was no different than every other hill I had attempted the day before. Sometimes when you are peering down the mountain of life, an obstacle can appear insurmountable. You need to remind yourself that you have accomplished these challenges before and realize that your emotions are clouding your rational judgment.
- It’s easier to blame your predicament on someone else than to take the responsibility.
After the ski instructors left and I was still stuck in the same position on the mountain, I began to get angry with my husband. It was his fault that I was in this situation. This made perfect sense to me. Beneath my anger was the defensive need to not take responsibility for my own actions. That would be too painful for me because it would reveal that I was failing, and who likes to feel failure? I didn’t want to feel that. How often do you do that in life? You end up blaming your boss, spouse, friend, or co-worker for your lot in life instead of accepting the feeling that you don’t measure up in some way. Being willing to accept the responsibility helps you move closer to your goals and find your success.
- Just hang in there and REFUSE to give in to the uncomfortable feelings.
At that moment, I wanted to go inside, get warm and call it a day. I hated every minute of the ski adventure for the next couple hours. However, I refused to give in to my feelings. As painful as it was, I slowly made my way down that mountain and kept on going. I just kept thinking, “I did this before, I’ll do it again”. Just like this experience, there will be certain times in your life that will feel so insurmountable, you won’t be capable of anything more than putting one foot in front of another. At these times, just force yourself to walk through the bad feelings and you will eventually make it to the other side of your fear. By hanging in there, you build confidence and resilience so next time is a bit easier. That is the true secret to finding your success.
Here’s to a great 2016!