I get this comment quite often. Sometimes from people that are handing me work, sometimes from the clients themselves.
"What do you want out of this lesson?" I ask every client.
"Oh, I don't know, I want to get better at skiing for sure, but I like to just kind of take it easy. I want to stay on the groomer. The bumps scare me. I can get down anything, I've done some blacks, I just don't like feeling scared. I'd rather we just have fun today and if you have some tips along the way, go ahead and give them to me."
What did that person just say to me?
I don't think that they were telling me that they don't want me to teach them, I think that they were really saying something like this:
"There is something that I like about skiing when I feel in control. When I take a lesson, I often get put into positions where I feel out of control. Feeling out of control scares me. I'd like to feel more in control more of the time. Often times trying to get better for me includes a period of feeling more frightened."
This person is actually begging me to teach them! But I think that the place that we get stuck is in meeting someone where they need to be met.
This person doesn't want to and isn't ready to learn something on unfamilar terrain. That person is telling me clearly that they don't understand how to make a turn that consistently feels like they are in charge of their skis. Their skis surprise and frighten them.
This person, I believe, is telling me that they need to understand what the ski is doing on the snow, why it does it, and how to do it in a way that is easier, feels safer, smoother, and more comfortable.
They need to know why they turn! They need to know what their own reasons are for turning, and then I like to talk to them about other reasons you might turn. What does turning do?
Then, they need to come to a place where they are willing to let go of their ideas of what it takes to become a better skier. This often has to to with helping them be a bit gentle with themselves. This client, to me, is often very judgmental of themselves, they care coming to you with a story in their head that they are a bad skier, that you have to have been skiing forever to get good at it, that to get better you just have to be better at accepting being scared, that their friends or family resent the fact that they need to go slowly to feel safe, so they are often pushed to a speed they are uncomfortable with.
I like to start here by explaining that speed comes with proficiency. I don't like to spend most of my day scared and feeling like I'm about to explode, I'm sure my clients don't want that feeling either!
This weekend, I had the lovely opportunity to work with an amazing group of people who all wished they were better, but were facing similar issues. They couldn't dedicate more than three or four days a year to skiing, so they needed broad strokes on the fundamentals that allowed them to experience the mountain with a feeling of more freedom.
More thoughts on this coming... now, back to my incredible Organization Seminar! (Oh MAN do I need this!)