Motivation, Momentum, and Fear: Uphill or Downhill?
By Edi Sowers
For many people, wintertime sends them off to the mountains with skis atop their vehicle. They rejoice that the groundhog saw his shadow on February 2nd – and celebrate the hope of more snowfall on their favorite slope.
I grew up in southeast Texas and didn’t even see a mountain until I was in college. All I knew of skiing was what I saw every few years when the winter Olympics were televised. Oh, and let’s not forget that poor fellow featured in the ABC sports promo whose seemingly fatal fall down the mountain was repeated over and over to the words : “the agony of defeat. (OK – so I’m showing my age now!)
What’s the point of snow skiing, anyway? Not being a skier myself – I had to do some investigating to determine that the point is -
More specifically – the point is to get down the mountain and have fun while not injuring yourself.
The other day, I asked my husband (who is an avid skier and instructor) to tell me a bit about skiing. As he explained some of the more technical aspects of it, a profound truth emerged.
So, skier or not – go with me on this brief journey – and see how these principles apply in your own life.
You have your skis strapped on, you’ve successfully negotiated the lift, and have reached the mountaintop. You begin your descent. As you start down the slope your speed increases. You have a choice now –
What are you going to do as you gain speed?
If you are a beginner, the speed most likely creates fear and you turn to head uphill to slow down and perhaps stop. If you come to a stop you’ve lost all your momentum. Now you have to pick up your skis, turn them around, and start all over again to get moving in hopes of getting down the mountain - while having fun.
If you are an experienced skier, the speed creates exhilaration and is an indication that it’s time to shift your weight to “turn into” and “cross over” the speed - making good progress going downhill.
It may seem counterintuitive, but as you begin to go faster, you turn into the speed. You turn to cross over the “speed point” to go DOWN the hill in order to maintain control. This entire process involves going down, picking up speed, then shifting to cross over; go down, pick up speed, and shift to cross over. You’ll soon find yourself at the bottom of the mountain (in one piece and looking very cool) ready to take on the next slope!
By the time the experienced skier has swooshed down the mountain basking in the afterglow of all that speed and exhilaration, the beginner may still be ¾ of the way up, experiencing fear, turning uphill to slow down, and making extremely slow (if any) progress towards the goal of getting down the mountain and having fun. (And they are definitely NOT looking cool!)
So, what I learned from my dear, ski-loving husband is that you’ll never become a successful skier until you learn to go through the “fear zone”.
So, ask yourself this question about your life – your business –your goals:
Am I an “uphiller” or a “downhiller”?
When you begin to pick up speed and momentum, and you get to that point of decision, do you experience fear? Will you turn into your fear to cross over, gain ground, and make progress towards your goal? Or will you turn away from the speed, turn uphill - slowing or even stopping your progress?
Which is it for you - Uphill or downhill?
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