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Learning to Ski Has More Parallels Than Just Turns

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Learning to Ski Has More Parallels Than Just Turns

I learnt to ski this week. And while doing so, I found many parallels to running a business.

Skiing was something I’ve always wanted to try but never had the chance. Driving up to the ski fields I was full of confidence and fantasised carving the black diamond runs in no time.

I hired all the equipment I needed and was fitted by an expert to make sure I had the best chance finding my feet. My feet were measured for my boots and my height for the right skis and poles.

Next, one of the best decisions I made was to get a private lesson on the day I arrived. Chloe was a great teacher. She knew exactly what she was talking about which gave me the confidence immediately to do what she was telling me to do.

I followed her tracks as we zig-zagged down the soft sloping run. I fell. I got up and then I fell again. Each time I fell, I worked out what I did wrong and tried to avoid doing it again. I tried so hard to stay in control that I slowed everything down with long turns trying to stay sideways to the sloping ground.

The slower I got, the harder it was to stabilise. I needed to commit to the slope, trust my ability to turn and let gravity do the work.

Do you see some parallels to running your business?

Get the equipment you need

If you need a computer, get a good one. There’s nothing worse than a laptop that doesn’t start up quickly or hangs all the time. The time you save in lost productivity will quickly pale in comparison to the investment in quality equipment. Don’t use the accounting system your accountant wants you to use just because they want you to. Find a system that fits your business, not theirs. Do you need to invoice from your phone? Scan in and code expenses on the go? Find the processes and to make your life easier and then find the system that helps you do that.

Get a mentor

Learning from the instructor was so much faster than trying to figure out skiing on my own. One of the best decisions you can make is to find a business mentor. Someone that has done it before and you can have confidence in following their advice. Sure, the slope may be different, but the principles are the same. This is a person that has already made a lot of mistakes and can help you avoid the same ones in your own business.

It’s ok to stack it

If you don’t make mistakes in your business, you’re not taking enough risks. Making a bad call in your business is as likely as me somersaulting down the slopes with my arms, poles and skis flailing everywhere. It’s not only a certainty, its progress. Learn from your falls. What went wrong? What will you do differently next time? Don’t give up, put the skis back on and be willing to fall again. Scrape yourself off, learn from it, look to where you’re headed and go!

Trust the slope

Hopefully, there are times in your business where things just seem to be going in the right direction quickly. Deals are done, networking is paying off, leads are flowing, and the bank balance is growing. When things seem easy, the temptation is to take the foot off the pedal. This is actually the time you need to lean into the downhill slope. Quote more, leverage those network connections, tweak your marketing to find new lead channels and invest financially to grow your business. If you stop looking forward rather than leaning into the turn, you may slow to a crawl and have trouble getting momentum again. Capitalise on gravity, don’t work against it.

Hit the slopes; you may be surprised how much fun you have.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Deb
    Reply

    Love this Justin. I totally agree, its easy to ease off when things are going great and everything is flowing. When you are in flow this is the time to lean in even more. Its the same as swimming in the ocean. If you swim in with the tide its far easier than waiting until the tide turns 🙂

  • Justin Murray
    Reply

    Thanks Deb, great analogy!

  • Valerie Orton
    Reply

    Well done Justin! I’ve been skiing all my life and have taught heaps of people. You were taught well and I like your parallels with running a business. It’s a shame there is a photo of a guy with a snowboard instead of excellent skis! 🙂 I’ll complain to Carla!!

    • Justin Murray
      Reply

      Thanks Valerie! You make a good point about the photo 🙂

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