left Xtraordinary Living At Its Best: A Dose of Reality

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

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A Dose of Reality

One of the wonderful aspects of my job is that 4-6 weeks a year I get paid to lead Learning Vacations and do such things like snow boarding, golf, scuba diving and adventure travel. In addition, I often get to learn and remind myself of many things that contribute to my journey towards extraordinary living. This past week my family joined me in Steamboat Springs, Colorado while Lindon and I conducted the “Winning Choices” course.

Among the many wonderful experiences I had this week with Lindon, the participants and my family, there’s a lesson that really stood out for me. I got to both observe and experience the same lesson in two different instances. This is what this post is about.

The first instance involved observing my 7-year old daughter Vanessa. She is a beginner skier and participated in ski school during the week. After a couple of days in school she wanted to show me how much she had learned. She asked me meet her after ski school and go for a couple of runs together. I asked the ski instructor for his input and he thought it would be a great idea. He suggested a particular run and off we went. This run was a relatively easy Green (beginner) run.

Vanessa did great and asked if we could do a second run – however this time she wanted to go down a Blue (intermediate) run. I was a little hesitant to go down that particular run because it was significantly steeper than the Green run we had done earlier. However she told me that she had already skied several Blue runs with her class earlier in the day and insisted that she really wanted to do this one. So we went.

To make a long story short, Vanessa had a very hard time skiing that run. She was unable to execute the quicker turns she needed to control her speed in this steeper hill and fell many times. She was getting scared and finally had to be helped down the hill by another instructor. The good news was that she realized that her skills were not as good as she thought they were and that she needed to work on them before being able to tackle this new challenge.

The next day I got to experience the same lesson myself. I’m somewhere between an intermediate and an advanced snow boarder meaning that I can go down any Blue (intermediate) and some Black (advanced) runs. Lately however, I had been thinking that I had probably moved into the advanced category.

That morning I went boarding with a couple of participants who are very good skiers. As we were going up the lift, one of them suggested we go down a particular run that we hadn’t skied yet. The run had some bumps but it also had some fresh snow that hadn’t yet been skied. I was a little hesitant because of the bumps. However, the thought of fresh snow was very appealing to me. My two companions reassured me that I would have no problem going down that terrain. So we went.

It turned out that the run was way more difficult than anyone of us thought – especially me (that's me in the picture above.) I struggled to go down and when I finally did, I was exhausted. Similar to my daughter the day before, I also thought I had better skills than I actually had. However, the mountain was able to set us straight. It was a very humbling experience for both of us. Hopefully, it is one that neither one of us will forget for a while. Posted by Picasa