In the spirit of full disclosure, it was a Midwest version of a black diamond run, which is a far cry from an Alpine version or a Rocky Mountain version. Nevertheless, it was beyond my skill level and I knew it before I even hopped onto the lift.
At the top of the run, I had a few choices and they ranged from essentially sitting on my skis and scooching down the mountain a little bit at a time or simply all out going for it. I chose the middle option, which I often do with many choices that I consciously make. I decided to try to control my speed and do the best I could to reach the end of the run safely.
With the benefit of hindsight, I will tell you that I think I made the right decision given my options, but unfortunately I did not execute the plan very well. The end result, while not disastrous from the standpoint that I was able to stand up and live to tell the tale, was what I believe is referred to in the skiing world as a “yard sale”. That sale was conducted over what seemed like a one-hundred-foot stretch of mountain with gear strewn haphazardly throughout.
Even though I did not achieve my goal of staying upright throughout the run, it was pretty thrilling at the start. In fact, I reached the peak of excitement seconds before I began my tumble.
All of this left me thinking about the importance of staying on your skis, not just while skiing but metaphorically every time you face a new challenge. If you can stay on your skis the whole time, you will extract the best from the situation and minimize or eliminate any of the harm that could come from it.
In my example, I had other choices and could have dealt with my challenge in a different way. Many times, however, you won’t have much of a choice amongst the circumstances you face and since you often cannot choose the circumstances you will encounter ahead of time, your only choice is to develop the strength to handle whatever circumstances come your way.
Sometimes, your best option is also the safest option. Sometimes, it isn’t, but the goal remains the same. Stay on your skis and finish the job and, while you’re at it, find your pace and try to learn a few things along the path.
If you ski too slow, you probably won’t achieve much progress and you certainly won’t get your heartrate up. If you ski too fast, you are likely to miss a few things and you are much more likely to get hurt especially if you haven’t mastered the necessary fundamentals and skills of skiing along the way.
I think there is a lot to be said for finding the right speed in your life and how you go about living it and the idea of being on skis, as opposed to trekking or marching, helps to smooth out the vision.
How great would your life be if you could figure out how to glide smoothly through it, adjusting your speed as necessary, handling the hills and the valleys accordingly?
Maybe you have figured that out already, but if you haven’t, go find your mountain to conquer and remember to stay on your skis!
Be sure to stop by Scott's Spot on Patrolmen's Dispatch for new articles and musings each week from Arney's ongoing Serial Decision Maker series. You'll also enjoy financial tips and techniques, as well as breakout novellas, starting with his recent Super Hero series, which opens with Fear Is Our Enemy.
Scott Arney has served as CEO of Chicago Patrolmen's Federal Credit Union (CPFCU) for the past 14 years. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, CPFCU is a full-service financial institution which has been serving the financial needs of Police Officers and their families since 1938. CPFCU recently opened the National Police Credit Union, a marketing division of CPFCU, which is the first and only full-service financial institution created solely for members of the national Fraternal Order of Police.
An avid thinker and, truly, The Serial Decision Maker on a daily basis, Arney spearheaded the development of CPFCU's Financial Planning and Education Center (FPEC), which is distinctly designed to help educate and empower others to be the best they can be. According to Arney, better decision making skills make for better leaders in both personal and professional endeavors. And, through the extremely talented team of both in-house staff and strategic partnerships with local and national organizations, the FPEC continues to work with individuals, families and businesses in the law enforcement industry to learn and leverage lifelong financial management and personal decision making skills.