by Kerry Martin
Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to go on vacation (thanks, Curley & Pynn!) and try something I had never done before: ski.
Being from Florida, I don’t have much experience with snow (I don’t think making a snowman once as a toddler counts), and having lived at sea level most of my life, I’m also not a big fan of going downhill (even on a bike I feel out of control).
This vacation just seemed like the time to try something new, though I started having second thoughts after hearing some of the warnings from family and friends:
“You want your pants to have a higher waistline so when you fall they don’t get filled with snow.”
– Ski shop guy selling us our gear
“Oh, you’ve never been skiing? Well, don’t get hurt from too many falls!”
“Just remember to bend your knees so you don’t stiffen up and fall down the mountain.”
There was an underlying theme to all of their advice—I’m going to fall down. It was inevitable. Not an if, but a when.
I think going into it with that attitude actually helped me get over my fear and just fling myself into learning how to ski, and after more practice, I improved and eventually really enjoyed it. And yes, I did fall. I went down on day one at ski school at least twice, and a few times throughout the week (never serious bone-breaking tumbles, mind you, just ski-crossed slips). By day six, I was doing runs in a quarter of the time it took me at the beginning of the week, and more importantly, I was loving the experience of conquering my fears and challenging myself to do something brand-new.
That experience is something I’m looking forward to bringing into my professional life as well. I’m going in to any new venture with the expectation that I will stumble, whether it’s spitting out a tongue-twister and ruining an on-camera interview or receiving bored slow-claps after giving what I thought to be a riveting presentation. When you prepare to do something for the first time, it’s almost freeing knowing that you might not land the best performance. Hopefully there’s always going to be a next time, so you can practice more and then improve.
So let me ask you this question: What new thing would you attempt to do if you knew you would fall?