The chairlift swayed with the gust of wind. Gone were the blue skies and sunshine of the day before. I could no longer see the stream running through the snowy woods below. Sky and slope all blended into one surreal, suspended space. As I ascended the mountain, the excitement of the fair-weather day before was replaced by the tickle of nerves – I hoped I could successfully ski down the mountain.
These last weeks I have been thinking about what it means to trust. There was something about this ski experience that brought trust into focus. I’m not an experienced skier, and to be honest there was a moment as I anticipated the journey down that I was not sure of my ability to navigate what was ahead.
I know this feeling well. As I’ve pushed my personal and professional boundaries in the last years there are always these same moments of doubt. Can I handle this? What if I fall? What if I fail? When I live in this trying-to-figure-it-all-out head space, I tense up and there is less access to my normal capacity. Aside from that, it is not an enjoyable mental state to be in.
As I started to ski downhill, I realized this focus on less than great visibility and on falling or getting hurt was not helping me at all. With my body tensed and me second guessing every move, I was much more likely to have an accident. I consciously chose to relax and focused on trusting myself, my ability to ski and to adjust course in the moment should I need to. This choice to relax and lean into trusting, made a big difference to how well I was able to navigate the journey down. It turned out to be quite uneventful, and, although challenging, I was even able to enjoy it.
In the next months I have some new personal and professional challenges ahead. Instead of trying to anticipate every step and have it all perfectly figured out, I’m leaning hard into trusting that I already have what I need.
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