Punches Thrown, A Bruised Butt, A Lesson Learned

So today I wanted to share a stupid story with you and share the lesson I learned.  It all started last fall actually, let me tell you about it…

You might remember that Paul and I were in San Diego in the fall of 2011 (you probably don’t but anyway) for my Mastermind group meeting.  We stayed an extra couple of days and made that our holiday.

During that time I fulfilled on of my life goals, which was to try surfing.  It was so much fun!  We spent lots of time getting pummeled by waves, but I did get up a few times and it was the coolest thing.  I will definitely try to do more when I get the chance.

The point about the surfing is that I surf ‘goofy’.  Now most of you know I am goofy already, but in this case it just means that I surf with my right foot forward.

On that same trip we walked for miles along the boardwalk (not actually any boards – it is paved from what we saw, see photo on left) from Mission Beach to Pacific Beach – it was beautiful.  Once at Pacific Beach we decided to get some longboard skateboards and skate back down to Mission Beach.

I love that skateboard and every time I ride it, not only do I get some looks (since you don’t see many 43 year old women longboarding to work J), but I always remember that beautiful fall day in San Diego – – ahhhhh the memories.

To my point though…I skateboard goofy.

Now, when I started snowboarding about 4 years ago we relied on Dad’s old slides of me slalom waterskiing and sometimes I put my right foot forward and other times it was my left – guess it just depended on how I felt that day.

Since left foot forward is considered ‘regular’, I went with that.

The Surfing/Skateboarding Epiphany!

Then the epiphany from surfing and skateboarding came that, ‘Hey, I am GOOFY’ that is how I should snowboard.

Last winter we had minimal snow at best and I was busy getting the family home ready to sell, on the market and sold after the sudden loss of my Dad that summer.  Thus, there was no snowboarding last year.

Fast forward to Saturday night…trusty snowboard set up goofy and off we went to the local ski hill for the first outing of the year.

The hills are small, but it was not very crowded, actually a great place to get out for a few hours.  So there I was at the top of a hill I have skied and snowboarded literally hundreds of times without giving it a second though.

I knew the set up would feel a little different, but I was not prepared for what happened next.  I started down the hill, initiated my first turn and fell hard on to my knees.

Okay, no problem I told myself, it is going to be different.  Up I popped, initiated my second turn and fell hard on my butt (thus the bruised butt).  I kept telling myself it was okay up until about the 17th fall on the attempted 17th turn.

Don’t Freak Out

Then I threw some punches at the snow and just sat there on my knees trying not to freak out completely – picture the David Bannister trying his hardest not to turn into the Hulk.  I am pretty sure that is what it looked like.

Paul arrived to patiently remind me that – ‘We are just out here to have fun, don’t be frustrated’ which was true, but at the time I was having none of it.  I was too busy being frustrated.

Falling Like a Leaf

Then he suggested that I  just ‘fall like a leaf’.  He was right, I was doing something completely new and I was trying to jump the fundamentals and go straight to mastery.  I needed to go back to the basics and falling like a leaf was a technique I used when I first strapped on the snowboard.  It is a drill where you stay on one edge and just zig zag down the hill to work on balance and edge control.

So on the next run I just fell like a leaf – – I fell like a ton of bricks a few times as well, but a lot less than the 17 times on the previous run.

On the next run I fell like a leaf and made three turns without falling.

As we continued run after run I was reminding myself of all the basics – go from an edge to a flat board to the edge, stay low, be patient – I was saying these in my head over and over.  They were so basic I had forgotten about them, but by going back to those basics I was linking turns by the end of the outing.

The Lessons Learned…

So in addition to the stupid story about how I bruised my bum and had a fist fight with the snow, the lesson that I took from this experience and what I want to remind you is don’t forget the basics.

When you are learning something new, it does not matter how good you are at what you can already do, that has no bearing on your expertise in this new movement or technique.

Go back to the beginner’s mind – focus on the very basics.

The second lesson is this: being frustrated takes focus and concentration that you could be using to refine your skill.  The solution is the same – go to the basics, focus on that.  Do them well and then add a layer of complexity.

Maybe that goal shouldn’t have gone in, but it did, so focus on the basics – low stance, glove open, eyes on the puck – and stop the next one.

Cool – have a great day gang.