I’ve just come back from a week in the French Alps. When a friend heard that I was going to be trying skiing for the first time she suggested that my husband encase me in bubble wrap. (Thank you Kim!) Given that I am a world champion in falling over this was not entirely unreasonable. As regular readers will know, my husband’s birthday gift to me was a list of 40 challenges. (If you’re not a regular reader, catch up here). Trying skiing was included on the list and I was persuaded that a family holiday to a suitable resort was preferable to an indoor centre in the UK. Ironically, even stress relieving packing material would not have prevented me from injuring myself at the end of my first lesson, falling over whilst attempting to use a drag lift and being, well, dragged.
Later on, after a visit to the pharmacy and with the right side of my body in a fair amount of pain, I reflected on my day and wondered a) what there was to do if I was really crocked and b) whether I wanted to try again if I recovered in time. Would I be chickening out if I decided, on the strength of one lesson, that skiing wasn’t for me?
Here’s what I learned.
#1: The difference between fear and self-awareness
I have to be honest, I found the thought of sliding down a snowy slope positively terrifying. I wondered whether that fear was preventing me from trying something I might be good at. However, during my enforced rest period I watched others skiing and spoke to people who were passionate about the sport. I realised that I admired their skill but had no desire to emulate it. Show me a great runner and I’m inspired to train harder, even if I have no hope of reaching the same standard. I realised that life is too short to do everything. If something calls to you and gives you the desire to improve and succeed, that’s where you should focus. It’s likely to be where your talents lie.
#2: You can learn a lot from a new situation
I might not be a skier but I can now understand why people love it. Last week, I heard conversations about technical ability but also about the mountains, the experience of going up beyond the tree line and being the first person to make tracks in the snow. I’ve heard my husband describe these things many times but only fully understood them after being in that setting, taking a walk up a mountain myself and being the first person that morning to reach a beautiful baroque chapel in the middle of nowhere.
I’ve learned a lot since becoming self-employed and a huge part of that has been from surrounding myself with people who know more than I do. Learning to understand and appreciate something I don’t enjoy has given me renewed enthusiasm for immersing myself in the things I love.
#3: Sometimes you have to trust your instincts
I always suspected that I wasn’t going to suddenly develop a lifelong love of skiing and that proved to be true. I’m still glad I tried it. I realise now that when I’m speaking to potential new clients or considering whether to submit a quote for a project, instinct plays a big part. If you’re going to work with someone, trust your gut. Are they going to be a good fit for you, your project and your company? If not, you should probably walk away.
Is there a new project you’re tempted to try? If I’ve encouraged you to try something new, I’d love to hear about it.
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