“There is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. No one is ready for a thing, until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be belief, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief. Closed minds do not inspire faith, courage, and belief.”
Napoleon Hill, Think & Grow Rich
“Dad, can you help me ski race faster?” said my oldest child one winter’s day a few years ago.
There was so much conveyed in that one simple question. It told me all about the desire and passion for skiing that was taking root in my son. It told me that, as Napoleon Hill says, he didn’t just wish to go faster, he was ready to do everything he could to make that happen. He knew there was a path for him to success, and by simply asking for help, he was ready to take the first steps down that road.
Well, he didn’t have to ask me twice. I felt confident that I knew what it would take for him to be fast and more importantly, what an incredible way for me to connect with my son; I was excited about the journey ahead.
“Yes, of course,” I said. “I can show you how to be faster.”
That was two years ago, around the time he had his first race at a competition in Sun Peaks. He was about 30 seconds off the fastest kid which in ski racing is a LONG time.
We began by breaking it down to an algorithm for what needed to be done. A plan of attack, so to speak, the same way we approach our business. If we want to develop a successful beer festival, what steps do we need to follow to see that through to our desired result? If we want to hire the best leaders around, what’s our path to get there? If you create an algorithm that makes sense, people buy in and then follow the algorithm and you’ll find success.
The algorithm for getting faster on skis falls into four areas: mental toughness, physical strength, equipment, and line. The first step is to get up on the mountains as much as possible — time on skis. I did everything I could to make that happen. Next we started discussing line. We got two long ropes and placed them around the gates, one taking big, wide turns and the other hugging a tight close line. We then straightened both ropes and he could see that the wider line went twice as far. I then asked him if he wanted to race his competition the length of one of the two ropes, which rope would he choose. This allowed for him to better understand the importance of the tightest line possible. When we talked about choosing his line, he could visualize exactly what we were talking about and what he needed to do. It was starting to make sense in his mind’s eye.
As for equipment, that takes routine and discipline, making sure your skis are waxed, your edges sharp. Physical strength is all about eating right and getting a good night’s sleep before race day. Eventually working out and building strength will play a big part in his day-to-day to again hold the tightest line possible. It seems obvious but if it’s not part of your game plan, it’s easy to let things slide. The mental toughness is all about focus. Don’t get distracted at the top by the kids throwing snowballs; that will throw you off your game.
If you do these things, you’ll see results, I told him.
We just recently returned from this seasons’ Sun Peaks competition where I watched my son win, beating the very kid who beat him by 30 seconds two years prior. And it hit me: This wasn’t about winning at all. This moment wasn’t even about skiing.
This was two years of hard work and sticking to a winning plan.
What a lesson for a 10-year-old in realizing your dreams and goals if you really set your mind to it, whether that’s going fast on skis or succeeding in life.