Today was another day of Demo Team training... this is the team of people that are training to try out for the team in just a little over 800 days.
Our group is really a unique experience, its a group of people who want to work together, without a captian or a leader, but as a bunch of like minded people who ski around together with a common focus and a discussion on our beliefs.
Today, we delved into fore/aft pressure. The group had a meeting the night before to discuss their beliefs on fore and aft pressure, and lay everything on the table before tackling the issue on snow the next day.
I missed the indoor meeting because, well, sometimes I'm brain dead and I left my lights on in the Bronco because I have to climb in and out of the passenger door because the driver door is stuck shut, and the "Your lights are on, dumbass" dinger doesn't ding if you open the passenger door. So.
My point is, I joined the group this morning (late after forgetting my boots at home... that's the subject of another post on responsibility and reliability), I noticed something interesting. The group wasn't talking like it had in previous sessions. I wasn't sure if they'd all decided to do a clinic with Schanzy as the leader, or if everyone was just tired and brain dead, or what was going on, but the energy was bizarre.
We skied around together working on stuff, and everyone was thinking the same thing, but no one was saying anything. I talked to Schanzy about it at lunch, and because he's constantly trying to step back from the leadership role and throw it back to us, he said, "Why don't you do something about it, then?"
So I did. I opened my big mouth. And the result was lovely, we talked about some really important things.
We talked about permission. That this group is a place where you have permission to ski badly, to fail, to fall, to look stupid, not to demonstrate perfectly. because we are trying to learn about our own skiing, and create it as we go, and if we are afraid of doing it "wrong" or saying it "wrong", then we won't be this creative, free, supportive force that we can be.
We agreed to hold each other accountable. We all agreed to approach everyone in the group and ask them about the dreaded "Grey Zone" by asking this question: "What is your perception of me?" I think we may then do an indoor session where each person goes around and gives the distilled version of the common perceptions, both good and bad about themselves from the group, and their plans for growth in that area. This is a dangerous, but important piece, and must be handled with grace and trust.
We talked about what it means to do the thing that scares you the most, like approach someone or talk to someone to get their perception, and we talked about the fact that having permission in the group to say the "wrong" thing in your MA, or in your concepts, or in your beliefs allows this group to be a safe place to practice all of it.
Jax offered up that she was terrified to be in the group. That coming to the group had made her feel like shaking and crying and that she threw up before she got there.
I asked her if she gave herself a win for coming anyway, and she looked at me, a bit surprised.
Taking your wins, I believe, is one of the most important things you can do. You have fear. We all do. People with courage are not people without fear. People with courage are people who feel fear and move through and with it.
Jax showed up in spite of her fear. To help diminish her fear in the future, she needs to give herself the win of showing up. I was scared, and I came anyway. I give myself permission to feel fear. I give myself permission to ski badly. I give myself permission to make a mistake. I give myself permission to look like a fool.
And when I am brave enough to do all of those things, I enter a place where I can have a beginners mind. Open. Not expecting to be perfect. Willing.
And therefore, able to make change in a huge and significant way! And EVERY time I take that risk and move through it, with EVERY step up the mountain, up the hike into the bowl, every turn in front of my peers, every word in front of the MA group, every pole plant in the bumps that I risk in spite of my fear, I tell myself, good job. You were scared, and you did that anyway. This means you are stronger than you thought you were. Do it again.
I just want to say thank you to the group for showing up this afternoon. For taking risks and working to put ourselves out there. For making a space of accountability, where we are expected to try hard, hard enough that we look or sound foolish, and that the judgment is removed. There is only room to get back up and try again.