Illustration by Fabio Consoli
Even if it might seem scary, now is the time to embrace new challenges!
It’s always easy to reach for what’s familiar, but sometimes life tries to give us new experiences, new joys, and new opportunities. We just have to make room for the new.
About 15 years ago, a couple of guys I life-coached wanted to take me skiing in Whistler, British Columbia. It was the last thing I wanted to do at that time. I was traveling a lot, working with a lot of clients, and it would require me to move a planned meeting with Stevie Wonder. But these guys wanted to pay for everything and put me up at an amazing resort. It would be a group of about 20 men, and the plan was to ski during the day and do fireside chats in the evenings.
I fought it until the very end. I watched videos on skiing—something I had never done—and started going into negative places in my mind. “I have so many things coming up,” I thought. “What if I get injured? There’s just no way.”
Well, I ended up going, but I still wasn’t convinced. I kept thinking, “How did I get myself into this? ” When we arrived at the resort, I saw medical personnel bringing people who had needed rescuing down the mountain—twice. I’d convinced myself that skiing was cold and wet and just caused injuries.
Then one of the fellows who had invited me unknowingly changed my mind-set. “There are intermediate, advanced, and black-diamond courses,” he said. “I want you to take two days of ski lessons and build your confidence. Then we’ll go together and enjoy the intermediate course. It’s OK that you’re not a skier and we are.”
That was all I needed to reframe the experience, and to realize that some of the things I’d convinced myself about skiing were not actually true. I made a major pivot and changed my course toward having an unforgettable time. I met so many amazing, humble people, and we shared some Kumbaya moments.
By the second day of lessons I was getting better, and by day three, on our intermediate run, I had so much fun skiing back and forth, enjoying the mountain views and the fresh air, that I never once thought about any higher slope levels. I thought the guys were going to put me down for being unable to keep up with them, but instead they were encouraging. Whatever I had in my head prior to the trip never took place.
As a life coach, usually I’m helping people set weekly or monthly goals, but there are times you have to pivot in the moment because things are moving quickly. You try to restart and avoid reaching for the familiar.
When I made room for this new experience, it enabled me to have new conversations with the group that hosted me, covering everything from their lives on the slopes to their lives on Wall Street.
What’s more, I made it down the mountain without getting injured—which gave me a feeling that stayed with me for several years. I realized that I had been throwing up roadblocks that proved to be irrelevant, when what I should have been doing was taking a chance outside my comfort zone, in order to find a new perspective.
As the new year begins, I recommend looking for opportunities to reset your mind-set, as you would with your phone or computer, and make room for the new in your life. You just might add a viewpoint you never realized you had, one that, ultimately, will lead you down a new path that you never knew existed.
Tim Storey is an author, speaker, and life coach. Learn more about his motivational messages and his newest book, Miracle Mentality, at timstorey.com.