First up, if you’re not a skier, a “shredder” ( a term for a snowboarder) or don’t even like the snow, I promise you this article won’t leave you cold. It’s not just about skiing.
I’ve been skiing now for almost 20 years. About 10 years ago, I accepted the fact that I would never get much better. I’m a good blue run skier, but that’s about it.
For those who don’t ski, each slope has a rating.
Green is beginner.
Blue is intermediate.
Black is advanced.
Double black is very experienced.
But this year the planets all aligned to take me to another level.
- There was one of the most magnificent seasons we have had for years. Not just lots of snow, but also the quality was superb. And absolute “bluebird” perfect days, no wind, lots of sunshine and visibility.
- I skied with a mate who is a beautiful skier and had spent many a season in the snow country. He is one of the best teachers and motivators I know.
- The crowds were massive on the intermediate slopes and therefore the wait to get up the mountain was longer than I’d ever experienced in Thredbo (A ski resort in NSW, Australia).
Here’s what happened
We got to a T-bar (a machine that takes you up the mountain) where the queue was huge. We had a choice. Either wait in the queue or take the black run down. It was like in The Matrix:
“Take the blue pill or the red pill”
I hesitated. “You can do it Mitch, you really can. I’ll be with you all the way” I heard from my mate Mudsy (Greg Muddle).
And fly I did. That day and for the next two days following. I flew. The first black runs of my life (which I actually loved) with ease and grace. Yes, I know, it’s very “Unaustralian” to brag.
So what are the lessons here as a leader and as human beings?
Here are four.
- We don’t get what we want (or need). We get what we settle for. Tweet This!
I secretly wanted to get better but had accepted I wouldn’t. That was it for me.
-What are you settling for?
-What are you putting up with?
-What has become the norm for you, that just doesn’t have to be?
-What limitations are you now blind to?
-Where are you not getting the results in your life that you truly want, but refuse to change your approach or challenge yourself?
-What’s an irritation for you, that you have now accepted as “the norm”?
- We are all products of our environment.
Here’s an absolute truth of mine. There’s nothing more powerful than a great environment. In my case, brilliant snow, a bluebird day and a great coach. And here’s another truth. There’s nothing more debilitating than a bad environment. We are all products of our environment. Our environment consciously and unconsciously drives our behaviour. Great environments bring out the best in all of us. Just the look and feel of a place can lift your spirits. And there’s nothing worse than a lousy environment. One person can create terribly bad vibes. One “negative Nellie”, one whinger, one person for whom nothing is ever good enough, one person that just doesn’t care. Do all the motivation and “Rah! Rah!” you like, but one bad apple in the bunch, and before long the whole bowl is bruised. Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker and coach, suggests we become like the 5 people we most hang around with.You must stand guard at the gate of greatness. Don’t let these people in. Or if they are in, get rid of them as quickly as possible, because if you don’t you’ll soon find yourself talking and acting just like them.
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”
- Get yourself a great mentor or teacher.
If there’s one hallmark of great leaders, in fact, greatness in any endeavour, it’s they never did it on their own. Great sportspeople and teams have great coaches, great orchestras have great conductors, great actors have great directors.-So who could you call on to coach you?
-Who’s already there for you, that you need to ask for support?
-Where could your next mentor come from?
-How could you be a mentor for others, who could you support?
- We all need a push.
One of my favourite sayings is:
“There’s no growth in the comfort zone.
And there’s no comfort in the growth zone”
A “push” can be both moving towards a challenge or goal (skiing a black run) or avoiding some obstacle or discomfort (waiting in the queue).
-Where do you need a shove in your life?
-What challenges could you move towards that you haven’t yet started?
-What pain could you avoid if it were big enough?
-What edge do you need to go to?
-And, who will be there to push you when you do?
- Life is so terribly short.
- Live it.
- There’s nothing wrong with being average, but if it’s not what you really really want, don’t settle for mediocrity.
- Be a keeper at the gates of greatness. Don’t let negative people or environments get to you. They will whether you like it or not. Move them on and if you can’t then you move on.
- Get yourself a coach, a buddy, who believes in you, even more than you do in yourself sometimes. I promise you, you’ll look back on your life someday and realise just how precious these people were for you.
- Get some leverage on yourself. Imagine how good it could be if you made that leap or how bad it will be if you never do.
To me, there’s no better way of doing this than to engage a coach, and I’d love that to be me.
So if you are considering Transformational Leadership Coaching, give me a buzz and together we can explore your unique needs.
“Come to the edge he said”.
Until next time…
Find the Passion
Develop the Skills
Make the Numbers
Make a Difference
P.S. Please share this with other leaders who you think might benefit from the lessons within.
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Paul Mitchell (@Paul_S_Mitchell) is a speaker, author, transformational leadership coach and founder of the human enterprise. Through leadership coaching, leadership development programmes, keynotes and facilitation, Paul works with organisations to build cultures where everybody leads.