You're Not Falling Down Enough
Wally Bock’s Three Star Leadership Blog discussed the need to push the envelope from time to time. This reminded me of a story.
Not long after I first moved to the city of Chicago, I did not know too many folks in town. In an effort to “get out there”, I signed up for a day-trip for beginning skiers. We meet in the city, hop on a bus to a resort about an hour away, take some lessons, go out on the hills, and then go back home.
Lessons covered the rudimentary aspects of skiing - the snowplow stop, shifting weight from one leg to the other.
A business school classmate happened to be on this expedition as well, and as it was her first time as well when we got to the trail selection we went down the easiest run. The one that goes down the gently sloping side of the hill (I cannot call them mountains, this is the Midwest US!) rather than the front face.
The first trip down the hill I wiped out when it made its big turn (maybe all of 30 degrees). I think I had difficulty stopping at the bottom as well.
We went up again and similar things occurred. After another hour or so she turned to me and said:
“You’re Not Falling Down Enough”
And she was absolutely right. I hadn’t fallen down the last two times, and the time before either (though there was a near miss). I was shifting the weight between one leg and the other like a champ. I was stopping at the bottom, not even snowplowing anymore. I was comfortable on that run. I was confident.
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And if I stayed on it, I was doing nothing more than playing it safe. This irritated me. I like innovation. I search for the new and different in order to learn, develop and grow. I believe there is some pain to be endured if we are breaking out of our personal status quo’s (see my Treasury Café post for more on that). But even when we strive to change, sometimes we get in a safe zone.