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Are You Falling Enough?

March 23, 2010

My family and I just finished a week’s vacation skiing which included amazing weather, lots of fun with friends, pretty good snow conditions for March and lessons for the kids.  In fact, this was the first time that any of our kids had been on skis and they had a truly amazing experience with really good instructors.

Snow School... sometimes upright, sometimes not

The days would go something like this.  Get up.  Have breakfast.  Go to the ski hill.  Get equipment.  Kids take lesson.  Parents go skiing.  Lessons finish.  Lunch is had.  Parents take kids skiing in the afternoon.  Go to the resort.  Relax.  Have dinner. Hang out.  Sleep.  Repeat.  Sounds like a pretty great recipe for a day.

One day, I was taking one of my kids skiing and he became really really upset.  He couldn’t control his crying and was becoming beside himself.  While trying to console him, I discovered that what made him so upset was that he was falling.  In fact, in his mind, that’s basically all that he was doing.  Being a bit of a perfectionist in that he always wants to do everything really well or he sees it as a failure, falling was the ultimate embarrassment.

So, trying to reframe how he was thinking, I tried to reinforce a belief that my wife and I have which is that skiing is all about falling down.  If you are not pushing or exploring your limits, your likely always safely standing.  I tried to explain that we were proud of him trying new things and that his falling meant that he was learning and becoming a better skier. 

I’m not sure truly how much of that message he got.  Probably doesn’t matter as he will learn it over time.  What’s important though is that it is a very useful truth. 

In fact, over the next couple of days, I reflected that I had not fallen once during the holiday.  And, my skiing was the best that it likely had ever been.  I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps I need to explore my limits a little more.  Well, I continued to push myself — exploring my limits — and yes, going down a steep run right underneath a chair lift in full view of everyone, I fell.  It wasn’t a spectacular crash but it did signify that I had left my comfort zone.

I left that week of skiing very content knowing that I did at least fall once.  And, I look forward to seeing how I’m falling in other areas as well.  How about you?  Are You Falling enough?

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