Today is my first day back at work after a glorious skiing vacation. I started to title this blog as “Snow Skiing – Lessons in Leadership FINAL,” but I know that’s not true. So many times, vacations serve as stimuli for creative innovation for many days, months, years, to come. When was the last time you excused yourself from work and, in the midst of pure play, you discovered not one, but many, possible solutions to the problem situtations that only days ago seemed so perplexing and maybe insurmountable? Take a vacation. It’ll do wonders for your soul, your mind, and your work! So, on to my blog, enjoy the lessons learned from my vacation, and then before you head back to work, schedule some vacation time for yourself!
I have to admit – I’m a bit afraid of heights. The calves of both legs start tingling to let me know when I’ve reached the height when I should be scared, just in case I’m not paying attention. Yea, right. But I went snow skiing anyway. And you know when you snow ski, you have to get on those chair lifts. And some of them don’t even have bars in front of you to hold you in place. No, your legs just dangle off the chair and you hold on to the poles, the sides, your partner, whatever and whomever you can find. Terrifying? No. A bit scary? Yes. Definitely, yes!
So why do I do it? Why subject myself to these heights that I know will scare me? It’s because I don’t want to stay in the status quo, doing the same things, experiencing the same emotions. I want to stretch myself to experience new events and gain new perspectives. And, yes, even if that means it scares me just a bit. Learning something new, stretching myself beyond my comfort zone – that’s what living and growing is all about.
And taking the chair lift was just the beginning. Next, I challenged myself to advance from the “green” (easy) slopes to the “blue” (more difficult) slopes. At the top of the mountain at the height of these blue slopes, the view looked straight down the mountain. My calves were really beginning to sing out loud then. But I did it. I conquered my fear and overcame my inner voice that begged me to stay on the easy slopes where it was safe. The result? I did it. I got down the mountain, and, yes, I experienced a few tumbles along the way. But, I got up, dusted off the snow, and kept going with determination and pride in doing something pretty different, radical, and challenging for me! Reaching deep into my soul to bring out that inner resolve and stretch beyond my fear, I was able to break through obstacles like the icy trails, snow flurries and crazy strong winds. It gave me a sense of wonder, awe, and confidence that I never would have experienced otherwise.
When was the last time that you did something outside of your comfort zone, that really stretched your capabilities, and yes, scared you just a bit? When was the last time that you were able to experience the incredible rush of confidence gained from a stellar accomplishment (or a helluva good try), ripe with some pretty significant challenges? Well, that’s too long. Get out of your comfort zone. Get going. Get moving. Stretch yourself and your capabilities. Feel the pride of overcoming something truly significant. Experience the joy of accomplishment!