Lessons from the Top of the Mountain

Ski lessons come in all skill levels. Yet the learning can be found at any level. My experience shows that success on the ski slope correlates to success in other aspects of life. Some of the events on the slope depict life lessons that are especially valuable. Thus, ski instruction can also be life instruction. What can you learn on the slopes? Here are five lessons.

Feel the fear and do it anyway. There can be as many opportunities as you desire to face fear. All you have to do is go to the next level. If you are looking to see others do what you fear, those others are out on the slopes actually doing those things you may fear. If you are just looking to feel it for yourself, there is a steeper pitch, a narrower chute or a bigger bump. After skiing increasingly challenging slopes and varied snow conditions, there can be a sense of accomplishment.   When you are skiing, you can meet fear head on and still continue to act rather than stop when you feel fearful.

Look where you would like to go. Though it may seem obvious to tell people to look where they would like to go, it is easy to focus on the obstacles. When beginners first learn, they often look at the instructor below them. The instructor is then the target! Instead look at the place next to the instructor, the place you would like to ski to.   When skiing in the trees, it is natural to watch the trees. It is more effective to look at the white space, the snow where you would like to ski. Where your attention goes is where you go. Thus there is an advantage in choosing your focus.

Get up when you fall down. Everyone falls down.   The next task is to stand up and keep going! One of the first things to learn is how to get up after a fall. Get up and then go. Falling is a natural part of skiing. How quickly you can get up and go again? Accept that falling, which can feel like failing, is just part of the process. Then falling loses any special significance and is part of skiing.

Stay in the moment. Since skiing involves physical movement, it is even more important to pay attention. Otherwise the skis can slide out from under you and you will be on the snow again. Effective movement on skis involves balance.  Your balance changes continuously as you move down the hill. All the more reason to pay attention. Now. To this moment. For this is the moment in which to find your balance.

Practice to improve your ability. The more you practice, the more you increase your skill. Some things look easy and there is the hope of picking them up immediately. It can be seen by observing how much time and practice people have had on their skis. It is a bit like riding a bicycle in that it does come back when you have had a break from it. The bonus about skiing is that when you like skiing, practice is fun!

The purpose of these five ski lessons? If you decide to take up skiing, notice how many things you can learn that can be used more broadly in your everyday life. Remember to feel the fear and act, look where you would like to go, get up after a fall, stay in the moment and practice to improve. And if you have questions, take a ski lesson. Or better yet, find a ski/life coach to assist you in making the connections. Perhaps you would like to learn the lessons without skiing. These lessons occur in life as well as on the slopes. Either way, these lessons from the top of the mountain can enhance your life without even going to the mountain!

©Caron MacLane 2012