In February of 2019, I decided to learn how to snowboard. At 41. This was one of my trademark stubborn moments where I say, “Easy? Pfft! Gimme the hard way!”
I spent so many hours learning how to fall and get back up (yes, that’s me above, and yes, those are things you actually have to [re]learn). And, ugh, it was painful. I was sore in muscles I didn’t know existed. I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I couldn’t troubleshoot why I wasn’t getting any better at the sport. Until my December 2019 trip to Tahoe.
I was trying to stand still when the mountain wanted me to keep moving.
My problem was that I wasn’t taking enough chances. I wasn’t trusting my edges. I was trying to stand still when the mountain wanted me to keep moving. A snowboard uses its toe- and heel-side edges (the literal metal edge of the board that touches the snow in the front and back of your boots) for control—steering, speed, balance… everything. And I was so terrified of taking a hard fall or gaining too much speed that I wasn’t pushing myself far enough out of my comfort zone. I had to let myself slide when it felt weird, hold my balance for just a second longer, and get my body used to a new comfort zone.
I had to take risks and get my body used to a new comfort zone.
It was scary. And then it was exciting. And then it was damn satisfying. I finally found the best posture for me, and I discovered it by relaxing. Who’d have thought? And I have to work at staying relaxed, at not tensing up and trying to force things, at leaning in to the momentum. There’s a life lesson here.
So my challenge to you—starting off this brand new year, all bright with possibility and potential—is to stretch past your comfort zone a little. Find that balance point between falling and standing still. Maybe even let yourself (controlled) skid a little. Don’t be afraid of speed, but respect your limits.
Let yourself skid a little. Don’t be afraid of momentum.
If you don’t push your boundaries, who will? If you don’t challenge yourself, how will you grow? Your new comfort zone (and the happy explosion of growth that comes with it) is just on the other side of fear. What edges can you try balancing on? And have you gotten too comfortable in your routines? Push yourself in 2020 and set clear, actionable, achievable goals. Then celebrate them and push on for even more. You got this!