I am thrilled to be joining my friend Matt Mosteller “Powder Matt” (Senior VP of the Ski Resorts of the Canadian Rockies) to speak at the Mountain Travel Symposium Young Leaders Summit on April 7th.
This sold-out event is an exclusive virtual program for young professionals under the age of 35 who have a passion for the mountain travel industry.
The name of the talk I’m giving is:
Make a Commitment.
I have been using mountains and snowsports as means to create powerful leadership lessons for many years.
My first book, Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons from the Slopes, provides six mantras that tie together skiing and leadership. This article will expand on three of those mantras which relate to creating a vision in life and then setting goals in order to achieve that vision.
Mantra #1: Zoom Out for the Best View
Having a perspective on where you want to go and why can have a profound effect on everything you do. This mantra is all about visualization and manifestation based on best practices from the world of sports.
Mantra #2: Plant Your Poles/Set Your Goals
Having a long-term vision is a great place to start, but breaking it down into manageable, digestible steps is what enables you to actually move forward. I’ll share some ways to ensure you stay on track along your journey.
Mantra #3: Commit/Throw Yourself Down the Mountain. No holding back. Let go. Let gravity and courageousness allow the journey to unfold.
HOW TO ZOOM OUT
We might think that a first step is taking action when creating a vision for your best life, but the reality is that inaction/being still is the best route. I encourage leaders to take time each day (ideally twice a day) to sit in stillness and meditate. Why?
To answer this question (why meditate), let’s play a game of “what if”:
-What if I had the ability to make a conscious choice about what type of thoughts I’m going to enact through my behavior and speech?
–What if I weren’t running from one thing to the next, always feeling overwhelmed?
-What if I could show up knowing that I have the inner resources to work skillfully with whatever is presented?
-What if I could act from a place that is grounded, contained, present, and aware?
-What would be the ripple effect in other areas of my life and for other people?
If we can reflect on these questions clearly, then, naturally, we will be motivated to put aside the time to create a meditation and/or mindfulness practice.
From a meditative state, then ask three questions about your life vision.
- “What are your God-given gifts?”
- “What are you passionate about?”
- “What is a critical need in the world that is waiting to be met?”
General tips about creating a vision for your life:
Pick your head up and take in the world around you. Put down your phone. Enjoy the scenery.
Begin your projects, and life in general, with the end in mind. Determine your vision and frequently revisit it: See it, feel it, taste it—know it viscerally through your mind and your heart.
Write your vision down to give it even more clarity and power. Let the universe help you out along the way.
HOW TO PLANT YOUR POLES/SET YOUR GOALS
Taking in an expansive view from a mountaintop is one thing, but being able to descend from the top safely is another thing entirely.
Setting a vision for what we want to achieve in life is a great start, but we must be able to take the vision into mind and then create actionable, measurable steps that we feel are attainable.
A vision—whether it’s for work, wellness, or life overall— can often be so overwhelming that it prevents us from moving forward.
It’s easy to face the same problem when looking at a long, challenging ski run in its entirety; it seems like simply too much to handle. I’ve learned that breaking down a ski run into a series of manageable turns—each with its own pole plant—is the way to overcome the fear of starting the journey. Pole planting describes how skiers use poles when executing turns. To maintain speed and control, it’s important to firmly put the tip of your pole into the snow on the inside of a turn. This gives you a pivot point to work from as you change direction.
Make sure to write down your goals. This step will help you prioritize your goals. As you write them down, you will have the chance to evaluate which goal is more important and which can wait, and plan accordingly. I like to keep my goals in a picture frame on my desk, and I have these goals across various areas, for example:
You can apply the SMART method to each goal. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-specific.
One of my favorite ways to track progress to a goal comes from the work of John Lee Dumas and his wonderful The Freedom Journal.
I encourage you to buy his pre-formatted journal or make a process of creating your own journal. Here’s how to do it:
First, create your timeline (is it a 30-day journal? 90-day?)
Then, create your template for each morning entry and each evening entry.
Sample morning prompts:
I am grateful for:
In (X) days I will (state your goal):
The #1 thing I will focus on today to meet my goal is:
Action steps I will take today to meet my goal include:
Something fun that I will do today is:
Sample evening prompts:
Something fun/serendipitous/amazing, etc that happened today was:
An obstacle that came up today was:
A way to overcome that obstacle moving forward is:
I’m excited about tomorrow because:
General tips about setting goals for your life:
-Break down your goals into manageable pieces. Life is long and should not be rushed.
-Focus. Quiet your mind to allow for greater productivity and creativity.
-Balance proactivity and receptivity. Don’t always try hard, try easy.
HOW TO COMMIT/THROW YOURSELF DOWN THE MOUNTAIN
Even if you have all the other tools in place—a good attitude, foundation, vision, goals, and a means to learn from failure— you can’t learn to succeed until you learn to commit. Following your gut and then being able to commit, based on what your gut is telling you, can be scary.
What I love about skiing is that it forces you to let go and let gravity help you. As you move into a turn, it is essential that you release your weight down the mountain, letting the edges of the skis flatten so that you can cruise smoothly.
Before living in the mountains, I would hear the phrase “just let go” and wonder, how?
With skiing, you practice the art of letting go every single time you turn. It reminds me of what Baron Baptiste wrote in Journey Into Power about trying hard, which “invites strain and struggle,” and trying easy, which “gives you the levity and freedom to fly.”
This yoga-ism holds true when skiing. Trying easy means learning to make a commitment to the natural forces of nature. Being afraid creates struggle, and struggle creates more fear. Getting past fear opens up the possibility of skiing with ease and grace, almost like dancing. The feeling I get when I am skiing with freedom is a sensation that is the closest to what I imagine it feels like to fly—exhilarating.
General tips about making a commitment:
–Face and embrace your fear with the knowledge that you can transform it into courage and, ultimately, into love and success.
–Engage in activities that connect you with something bigger than yourself.
For more information about the event, please see: https://www.mtntrvl.com/young-leaders-summit