Facing Challenges

Last week, I went skiing in Colorado and had an exhausting, but great time. Much of my energy was spent trying to stay upright and not trying to be too anxious about flying down the hills. Most of the time, my husband would ski ahead of me and then I would try to catch up, carefully and slowly, for fear of taking a big tumble.


As I was coming down the mountain, I caught a glimpse of a skier out of the corner of my eye. This skier was moving at a good pace down the mountain. The second glimpse revealed two ski instructors working with him. My first thought was how you must have money to burn to have two ski instructors working with you. (I think that we can all agree I just made another judgment).


When I really took a good look at the situation, I realized that the skier moving at a fast clip had a caution sign on his back that read, “Blind Skier”.


Yes, that’s right, that skier that was moving as fast, or faster than me, was blind. Can you believe it? That just blew my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about it as I made my way down the mountain.


We are capable of much more than we think we are.

Everyday, I talk to people that tell me what they can’t do or accomplish. They are very certain about WHY they can’t do things and have a whole rationalization in place to prove their point. They are terrified of change and of getting outside their comfort zone. Now imagine having the guts and courage to ski fast down a hill while not being able to see. You need to trust yourself and dig down deep to find the confidence to take on such a feat. You know that little step forward that you are struggling to make? Maybe it isn’t so overwhelming after all. Maybe it’s just getting bigger and bigger in your head, the more you think about it. My suggestion to you is to stop thinking so much and just do it. Break out of that pattern and take a chance. If this guy can do it, I’m sure you can do it too!



When we lose one strength, we can develop other strengths to help us through life.

How did that guy navigate that mountain without his sight? I imagine that he had developed other senses to help him. He heard the crunch of the snow beneath his skis and knew what each sound meant. He felt the vibration of the skis and learned to trust his body’s reactions to each movement forward. He didn’t have his sense of sight anymore, so he was compelled to develop other strengths to get him through the experience. The same thing can be said for us. We can’t stop learning and growing. As we grow, we may be no longer able to use certain strengths or skills. However, we must be creative in developing strategies to overcome these limitations. They are only limitations if we say that they are limitations.


I have a message for all of you out there who are scared to move forward in life— take a chance. If my friend the blind skier can do it, I’m pretty sure that you can find the courage to take a leap of faith.

Overcoming the Mountain of Life

image ski


Today, I’m making my way back to the states from British Columbia.  My family had a great time skiing at Whistler Blackcomb Resort and I’m thoroughly exhausted. We spent four days up on the slopes, enjoying the non-stop snow and the fabulous food. On the last day, it dawned on me that skiing is a perfect metaphor for successfully navigating your life.


In the afternoon, we had a late lunch up on the mountain and then made our way outside to enjoy the last couple hours.  Wanting to take advantage of every last minute of skiing, we caught the chairlift for the very last run of the day. Suddenly, as we began our descent, a thick fog moved over the mountain. The fog coupled with my exhaustion was not a good combination.


My legs felt like jelly as I tried to keep up with my family.  It began to take all my energy just to stay upright on my skis. On a steep slope, I lost my footing and quickly went down.  I took the opportunity to remove my goggles, hoping it would improve my vision.  My visibility was almost non-existent— I could barely make out my husband and son halfway down the hill.


I could no longer see each hill— how steep it was as I made my way down, where the turn was, or where the obstacles were in the snow beneath me.  The fog was so thick that we couldn’t even see the signs that showed us the way back to the village.  At one point, we stood at the edge of the mountain having a deep discussion as to which way to go next.


My son insisted that we go straight while I wanted to follow the path to the right. I peered over the area that he pointed to but the fog was so intense that I couldn’t see a thing.    For all I knew, it wasn’t a route but the edge of the mountain.  Feeling a total loss of control, I knew that even the green run (the easiest run) would be difficult and absolutely terrifying.  Finally, we spotted another skier that seemed to know the mountain.  We asked his opinion about whether we should go straight and he informed us that it would be a mistake— it was a difficult black run.


Instead of panicking, I tried to keep my mind present and just focus on each movement I took. I would concentrate on the rhythm of the skis, back and forth.  Focusing on the present and continuing to work toward my goal enabled me to feel a sense of calm about the situation.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy as when I heard the sounds of the village and I realized that we had made it back.


Your career and personal life can often be quite similar to my experience on the mountain: you might not always be able to see where life is going to lead you.  No matter how careful, cautious and diligent you are, you can’t always anticipate each twist and turn, each obstacle in your path and each time you will fall to the ground. There will be times when you will feel panic setting in and a complete loss of control— however, it will serve you best to stay in the present, trust your instincts and just keep focusing on your goals for the future.


All you can do is keep putting one ski in front of the other and make your way down the mountain.