Updated: Mar 1, 2020
One of the first things they teach you in ski school is how to fall. Don’t you think that’s interesting? See, skiing injuries result NOT from the actual fall, but from HOW you fall. A hundred percent. Learning the right way to fall is more likely to protect you from injury. So literally the first thing you learn is the right way to fall. And then, after falling, how to get back up.
Until you’re really, really good at skiing, you’re gonna do a lot of falling. It’s just part of skiing. And we accept this. Anyone who’s ever learned to ski has at least one story of a total wipeout that resulted in what they call a “yard sale” - where all your equipment is scattered on the hill in a testament to your epic fall.
Anyone who’s learned to ski knows that falling down is just part of the process. And every time we fall down, we learn a little more about skiing. And we get better every time at getting back up. We learn that we can go faster, and that actually makes it easier. We learn that falling doesn’t have to hurt, and we start to embrace those falls because, with each one, we’re getting stronger and more confident.
So this got me thinking. How do we accept failure in some areas of life (like learning to ski) as part of the process, but completely reject it in other areas of life?
In what area of your life are you holding back because of fear? I’m not talking about phobias like fear of heights or spiders, but real fear that holds you back from achieving your dreams and goals. Fear that holds you back from trying something because you’re just too afraid that you’ll fail.
Now think of a time in your life when you tried something that was really scary. It could be learning to ski. It could be applying for a job for which you didn’t feel completely qualified. It could be standing up and speaking before a large crowd of peers and higher-ups. Whatever it was, what made you push through that fear and just go for it?
And then what happened? Did it turn out the way you expected? And if it didn’t, how did that affect you? I mean, what really happened when you put yourself out there and it ended in what you’d consider failure?
Did you get back up? What did you learn from it?
How could you look at failing like you did when learning a new skill, like skiing? To look at failures as part of the process, and an opportunity to learn and improve? To view an outcome that you weren’t expecting as a means to making you stronger and better? That you only can truly learn how to do it by learning how to fall first?
The fear of failure is probably the #1 reason so many people never really pursue their dreams. But what if we knew the secret to failure? That it’s only “failure” if that’s the way your thoughts define it? See, our thoughts determine our feelings and our feelings drive our actions. If we get an unintended result from an action, how do we change our thoughts about it in a way that drives us to a different outcome, one we like better?
What if the only thing that actually resulted from a failure is a thought? And if you believed this, how would it change you?
If you were afraid to ski, but you pushed yourself to learn, you may have discovered that skiing is really fun! And having that thought makes you want to get out and ski again, whenever you can! And sure, you might take a tumble or two, and even have a big yard sale. But that’s all part of it. Because now you can fly. And it's all because you learned the essential skill of falling.
So what are you afraid of? What’s really stopping you from facing that fear, and seeing what’s on the other side? You may find, after a few yard sales, you’ve achieved something that you could previously only dream of.
When you do, let me know how it turned out for you.