It’s been a few weeks now since Whistler Mountain closed for the season and it feels as though I’ve temporarily said goodbye to an old, faithful friend.
Whistler Mountain has been my constant companion this past season, just as it was when I was a kid racing on the ski team. After 100 days skiing — a far cry from the handful of days I’ve done in the last 20 years — I think it’s safe to say that Winter 2015/16 has been a transformative season for me in more ways than one.
Here’s what I knew at the beginning of the season: I needed to get out of the way of my business and trust in the systems I had built up and honed over the last 20 years. I needed to learn more and start thinking about the bigger picture for my business. I needed to get in shape, that much was clear when I put out my back in the early season. I also wanted to ski and reconnect with the magic of the mountain. And I wanted to spend more time with my kids.
It was so easy to see all the things I wanted out of life, personally and professional. Getting them, however, seemed infinitely harder. Until I set my mind to it.
So, this is what I did.
Most days I drove the kids to school. The next stop was Pika’s in the Roundhouse for my morning coffee and replying to emails. Then, I would put in my earbuds, start my latest ebook, and put my head down for the hike up Flute Bowl. Sometimes it was just for one lap; most of the time it was more.
My young sons, 9 and 7 years old, joined me one day; that was one of my favourite days this winter. Another favourite day was when my six-year-old niece joined us. One day I hiked up with 78-year-old Albert van Citters after meeting him on the chairlift and striking up a conversation; that was a particularly memorable day. Most times, however, I was on my own — learning, exercising, reconnecting, focusing.
Before I knew it I had skied 100 days, dropped 30 pounds, and read 30 books. My businesses in the valley and beyond were outperforming previous records. By all measures, I had achieved my goals… and then some.
These, however, are just the numbers. Beyond the numbers, something much more powerful happened over the course of my winter season on Whistler Mountain. Business came into sharp focus. The more I read and the more I considered what I was learning, the more obvious it became. I now know what I need to do; the path has become clear on how we are going to scale up the business and drive it forward.
In many ways, it took the journey of the past season for me to see the way.
I realized too that you can’t underestimate the power of goal-setting and the feeling of accomplishment of meeting or exceeding your goals. One hundred days skiing and dropping 30 pounds and stepping away from the daily demands of my business was a daunting feat at first. In the end, however, all it really took was just putting one foot in front of the other, up the mountain.
Day 100 was bittersweet. I was sad for it to be over, really pleased to have done it and seen it through to the end, and totally resolute and pumped up for the road ahead.