Sledding, Risk, and Doing What You Love

It’s the dead of winter in Seattle and it's snowing here. It's snowing a LOT. School is canceled, and we haven’t driven our cars in a week.  Our days have mostly revolved around sledding and sitting in front of a fireplace.

I LOVE sledding. It’s the perfect activity; allowing you to teeter on the edge of risk, some real, some imagined. I’ve been watching my daughter learn to love sledding over these past days and I've realized that how she approaches sledding is exactly how I approached starting my business. 

Understanding how we (collectively as humans) approach risk, and then examining how we individually learn and grow from it, is a fascinating exploration. What can I say, I nerd out on this stuff. 

On day 1 of Seattle's "Snowmageddon", we eagerly convened with all our friends at the base of the steepest hill in the neighborhood. It was beautiful. The hill was covered in perfect powdered snow, and a few rogue snowflakes fluttered about in the 30 degree weather. My 3 year old daughter had never sledded before, so she watched, and watched, and watched. I watched reluctantly beside her, baby on hip, thinking that at this very minute a mom in Sweden was probably sledding WITH her 9 month old. 

By day 2, my daughter was talking about sledding all morning, and when we got to the bunny hill, she proceeded to sled on her own. Her first time down, she started about 10 feet from the bottom of the hill on a dingy little beginner sled. She was so happy when she felt the thrill of sliding for the first time. By day 3, she graduated to the fast sled, starting half way up the hill, feeling the rush of speed on the way down. Each run, she started a little bit higher.  By that afternoon, she was at the top; sledding solo, catching air off a jump at the end.  

Naturally, my daughter learned to sled. She started small, and worked her way up in gradual increments, building up confidence, and trusting the process. Many times, she had to let go, feel the fear, and do it anyway.

Likewise, I too, did not start my company at the top of the hill. If someone had told me I would have to send out newsletters to 20,000 people, sell 20k coaching packages, and create 10 courses on mindset coaching, I’m pretty sure I would have felt overwhelmed. It would have felt like a long way down to the bottom. I would have viewed the challenge as being bigger than me. It’s not that I didn’t have really huge goals, but if that was the only option, I’m not sure I would have known where to start. Truthfully, I may never have started.

But I didn’t start where I am today. I worked my way up to it. I started mid way up the hill, tested myself, trusted myself, and found my footing. Then, I went up a little higher and made sure I could do that; I took measured risks and pushed myself to go up higher even if I wasn’t quite sure I was ready.  I felt scared a lot but I kept going. 

The thing is, I’m not even at the top of the hill yet, but I see now that if I had started there and thought that was the only option, I may never have ever gotten on the sled.

Getting started doesn’t always mean you do the hardest, boldest, biggest thing first. Sometimes you start on the slow run to remind yourself that you can do it. Then, you keep going. A little bit more, a little more risk, doing a little more with each action.

You HAVE to keep GOING; because no matter where you are on the hill, to progress, you have to go a little higher. 

Where did you start? How far have you come? Where are you going? No matter the size of the hill, you have to start somewhere. So take a step, feel the fear, do it anyway.

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