Two years ago, I made a decision that changed my life.
I know that sounds pretty dramatic, but I believe it is true. You see for 8 years, I had been confining my cross-country skiing to a run called “Stable Flats.” As the name implies, it was flat. No hills.
The lack of hills was important to me because I was terrified of them. Terrified. I’d start to hyperventilate just thinking of going down one.
Then, for some unknown reason, two years ago, I decided that I’d had enough of Stable Flats and it was time to move on. I found myself on a run called “Biathlon.” It’s where people who compete in biathlons (including some Olympic hopefuls) train. I probably shouldn’t have been there, but there I was at the top of Biathlon, poised at the edge and about to descend.
I started shaking and sweating and I couldn’t breathe. I decided to turn around and find another way down.
I took exactly 3 strides in the opposite direction and then I stopped. Looked back at this terrifying descent and thought: “No way. I will not run from this.”
I turned, skied back to the edge, said a prayer and went down it. It was both the most fun that I’d ever had on skis and the most terrifying.
Since that day, I have intentionally sought out the hills that seem too big or too scary.
You know what I learned?
- That I LOVE the challenge.
- That my skiing only got better when the challenge got bigger.
- That most of these “big and terrifying hills” are only big and terrifying the first time down them. After that – for the most part – they become beautiful and gentle reminders that I can only succeed if I have the courage to try.
- That my only limits are those that I impose upon myself.
What have you learned from surmounting a challenge or fear?