There was a turning point in my life, that shaped my future and without it I probably never would become a pro. I’d like to share what I believe is the hidden secret to becoming the best you can be.
If you are struggling, feeling like you’re not progressing as fast as you could or are blocked by your own mind maybe this article is that turning point for you.
This happened somewhere around 1993 …I think. It was winter, dark winter as they always are here in Finland. I had just started snowboarding.
Really all I had done was a lot of falling on my face. Guess you can’t call that snowboarding.
Anyways, I’d tried pretty much anything to learn snowboarding before even setting my foot on a real board. I skateboarded during the summer and because the winters here in Finland are long and cold, I needed to figure out something to do so I wouldn’t bore myself to death.
My buddy and I took the trucks off our skateboards and set up some logs on a hill to slide on. Now this was before I had tried a snowboard and this is where my success in face planting begun.
Motivated by our incredibly non existent success, we decided to hit the slopes and rent snowboards. With very little success again, going up or down the hill.
Of course this just fuelled the fire and, I reluctantly went to a snowboard school tale between my legs. And it would’ve been great had I learned something. I was so scared of coming down the hill, having my feet glued to this ridiculous piece of plastic, that it just wasn’t happening.
Maybe it had some kind of personal issues with me cause it bolted straight into the trees on the side of the hill once I set my foot on it. If no trees were available there was always a person I could ram into, to kill my speed.
Hence the solution to face plan. Less collateral damage. I’m a pacifist, what can I say. Face planting was perhaps not my greatest invention I agree, but effective at stopping me never the less.
It didn’t help at all that I had this sizzling hot brunette (the snowboard instructor I took lessons from) holding my hands trying slide me down the hill. My teenage mind was racing between her striking brown eyes… and my board of course.
Back On The Drawing Board
After series of tries, nothing seemed to work. Until… until of course another brilliant idea. Trust me this one was far more genius than the face planting strategy.
There were these local snowboarders who were light years ahead and they were able to do some incredible tricks. They were my biggest heroes. I’m sure you can imagine when you started your sport and you were amazed by these incredible athletes who could effortlessly do these awesome tricks that you could only dream off.
I got an idea to use propaganda and unethically bribe my biggest idol to give me 30 minutes of his time, to teach me how to snowboard. My bribe was nothing less than a bag of french fries. I know I know, a brilliant idea right.
Well I was desperate to get rid of my fear of going downhill and that was probably weeks or months worth of my savings.
SELF LIMITING BELIEF’S
Well, I must’ve done something right, because he reluctantly agreed to give me a few tips. So we got on top of the hill.
My knees were shaking as I was looking down to the bottom. I had no idea how to brake or control this missile my boots were strapped on left me terrified. My idol probably saw the desperation on my face and hopped back up to me.
He sat me down and told me “Don’t be afraid, trust me, you can do this. You can do anything you set your mind to. You can overcome your fear, just hang in there. Put in the effort and you can do this. I believe in you.”
Just think about that for a moment.
Imagine your biggest idol agrees to give you a personal lesson to teach you the skill you’ve always wanted, and they tell you that “I believe in you, you can do this!” How big of an impact would that make to your life?
You’ve probably been through some rough patches in your life and maybe you’re going through one right now. And I’m sure you’ve done some incredible things and had awesome adventures too, right.
You are alive and that’s what matters.
And you haven’t just survived, you’ve lived. And sometimes living means taking a little beating from the odds. Really, it’s just the life making sure you are serious about your path. In my case it was face planting days on end.
Sometimes all we need, is just a little bit of help. A word of compassion or encouragement.
A tap on the back maybe. And then sometimes, we need the help of an expert to pull us free from the swamp we’ve gotten ourselves into.
If I hadn’t sucked up my pried and asked for help. If I hadn’t taken the action and built up my courage to go talk to my idol. If he hadn’t said those words to me. I probably never would’ve become a pro.
When my idol told me that he believed in me, something clicked. Seriously, it was like finding the missing piece of the puzzle.
You know what I mean when you have that “aha” moment. Magically that fear just vanished from my mind, swishhhhh.
Instead of being in my head and thinking of all the worst case scenarios I was in the present moment, seeing clearly everything around me as I inhaled deeply and felt relieved. The fear was gone and I stood up with new found determination and started riding downhill.
Until I face planted again of course, but it didn’t matter anymore.
I was making progress. My fear wasn’t holding me back anymore. Making mistakes was part of the game and I was one step closer to figuring out how to control that damn plastic stick.
I want you to know. Just in case you never get to hear this from anyone else. I believe in you 100%. You CAN do it, just hang in there!”
Of course I was hooked. And I don’t know how you got hooked to your sport, but I’m sure you can remember that moment and how stoked you were.
SIMPLE STRATEGY TO IMPROVING
If you can’t do it, find someone who can.
Ask for help, find books, training, personal guidance and let’s leave the ego and pride aside. Never did any good to anyone anyways, right.
If you can’t do it, find someone who can. And trust me, there’s always someone who already has figured it out and is happy to show you the way.
But of course it’s important to be smart and respectful. Even online. Famous and skillful people are busy. Everyone wants their attention and for most of them if they were to answer all the fan mail, they’d never get to practice their sport.
Let’s not be energy greedy vampires who just sucks people dry without ever giving anything back. If you decide to ask your idols help, give them something THEY NEED first.
Figure out what’s important to THEM and if there’s a way you can help them out. Granted my “bag of french fries” bribe wasn’t exactly the best thing, but all that matters is that it worked. Maybe it was exactly what my idol needed and he just happened to be hungry and I just timed my offer right. Figure out what you’re idol is hungry for.
Or you could always just ask them straight up “Hey I’d like to ask your advice.
Can I help you in any way, in exchange of your time?” Heck, if you need to, bribe them with food or throw money at them to pay for their time.
What would you do, if today was a special day, and anything was possible for you?
Really what would you do? Spend a moment to think about that…
Once you have an answer, figure out a strategy what you need to DO to get there. What ACTION do you need to take? Do you need to let your ego aside and ask for help, get training?
That little action I took, that bag of french fries and sucking up my pride to ask for help was one of the obstacles I took responsibility to overcome. It can be that small of a thing.
Without taking the action and doing it, I might not be here telling you this story and have the success I’ve had in snowboarding.
If someone tells you that you can’t do something, don’t listen to them. They either care for you and don’t want to see you suffer, or they don’t want to see you get ahead or for some other reason. You know better what you want and you’re belief will literally carry you over mountains. There is always a way to make your dreams come true. ALWAYS.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Know this. I believe in your 100%. I believe you can do anything you set your mind to.
You may not have the skills your need yet but that doesn’t matter, you can learn them. Be resourceful, look for solutions and be kind to others.
I have no doubt that you will reach the goals you want in your sport whether it’s to learn new tricks, film a killer video part or win the X-Games or any other prestegious contest in your sport.
Believe in yourself and believe in others and let them know it.
Be resourceful, there’s always a solution you just may not have found it yet and someone else possible has.
Make mistakes, from mistakes you learn invaluable lessons that you couldn’t without making them.
Everything is a skill and if one human has done it then it means so can you. You just need invest your time, effort and often money to pay for someone’s time to learn those skills.
Help others and encourage them because the small gesture you do for them, may just be the critical break you’re hoping to get from someone else. Someone once believed in my and now I’m passing it on to you.
I believe in you and YOU CAN DO THIS!
Now go out there and find those solutions to the challenges you are facing right now, keep believing in yourself and if there is know one else out there that believes in you, know that I do!
You absolutely CAN do anything you set your mind to.