Having been downhill skiing for many years, this winter we decided to have a go at cross country skiing for a change. After all, it is supposed to be a much lower impact sport and therefore kinder to our not-so-youthful-any-more bones. At the same time, it is heralded as one of the best aerobic exercises that you can do, which we were enthusiastically looking forward to. So we set off with high hopes of learning a new skill and benefiting from a week of strenuous but low impact activity.
The reality was slightly different. First of all we had to wear tights, get used to completely new equipment, then discovered that we were confined within narrow tramlines. Learning to move along the flat, and even uphill, was a doddle; figuring out how to stop when going downhill was a bit more challenging. The first time I came to a sprawling halt apparently moved the mountain, and my coccyx continued to become very familiar with the hard ice! Sitting in the very welcome jacuzzi in the evenings I had time to reflect on life coaching and the similarities between learning to cross country ski and life….
- Falling over hurts but if you really want to get anywhere you just have to get up and give it another go.
- Just as you start to feel confident, your feet will be swept from under you. It hurts even more and you just have to get up, brush yourself down and try again.
- Fear of falling / failing can stop you in your tracks and you just have to take a leap of faith knowing that you CAN do it.
- You start to enjoy the ride, you know what you are doing and you are having fun.
- You fall over, you have bruises on your bruises, you hurt, and your pride hurts. You have to get up, brush yourself down, figure out what went wrong and keep going.
- Eventually, you feel that you have got it all worked out. You have the confidence to set out on increasingly challenging trails, you are whizzing along the tracks and enjoying the most fantastic views that the majority of people never get to see.
- you fall over (right in front of the restaurant!). Nobody notices. You pick yourself up, brush yourself down and keep going!
Throughout our week in the beautiful Dolomites, we were coached by a fabulous instructor, a 22 year old Italian lady who has been cross country skiing for 18 years – who was also 7 months pregnant with her second child. With her support and encouragement we did learn a new skill, found wonderful new places, laughed a lot, swore a bit and ended the week vaguely competent and with a sense of achievement.
Coaching is a process that enables you to move forward from where you are now to where you want to be. Sometimes in life and work we also need that support and helping hand. That’s why I offer coaching while walking. Going for a walk and talk detaches you from the paraphernalia of life/work, gives you time to clear your head and think coherently. The flow that your body gets into while walking also helps to put the mind into flow so that new ideas and solutions can emerge – and it is a far less painful experience than cross-country skiing!