Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Practice of Sorrowful Self Indulgence versus Productive Positive Thought

I didn't get the job in Portillo. I haven't been talking about it on my blog because I didn't want to jinx the slim possibility that I could get hired on to this amazing ski school! This is a VERY competitive place because it has amazing terrain, incredible training, and a really involved, dedicated management.

I speak some Spanish, and I've been working on getting better at it, and I also knew that for me to be a viable candidate, I'd have to line things up in my life so that the director of the ski school could count on the fact that I'd be able to come.

To that end, when my summer jobs called me up in March to ask if I'd be giving massage at the St. Regis or managing the stables at the T Lazy 7 again, I turned them both down. Then, the boy's dad agreed to move down to Colorado to live with the boys in my house while I was in Chile, if I got the job.

Those items accomplished, I began to work even harder on my skiing. I know that the level of skiing in that small ski school is at an incredibly high level. I had come close on the RMT, and I had another shot at becoming a trainer this year.

I worked really hard on changing my skiing, on taking personal and professional feedback and on developing myself. (I'm growing up! Yay!). I bought a pair of Republican golf shorts.

I was ratified as a trainer for the ski and snowboard schools of Aspen in the beginning of April (WOW!!), and I was really psyched! What a year its been! One more hope for the year, and that would be to get a job in Portillo.

The 50/50 came around (PSIA's national academy) and I had the chance to ski with Mike Rogan for a few days before hand during a photo shoot. I got invaluable coaching from him, and tried hard to show him my best skiing.

Then I got the chance to interview with Robin, the director at Portillo. We had a great talk, the school sounds even more amazing than I had thought, and one of the things we talked about was what a tight, tiny team it is there. Living in close quarters for months on end. As tough as she painted it, I was left with even more desire to be involved in something as unique and special as this place.

I knew that the chances were slim. But I hoped none the less. I was really fortunate to be offered a position in New Zealand, and Megan and I talked about other options as well for training for the summer. There is Mt. Hood, and there is the idea of raising enough money to go to Portillo with Kurt for a month and just training ourselves, just in case I didn't get hired.

When I got the email from Robin saying that I hadn't gotten the job yesterday morning, I was sad. I was sitting in Main St. Bakery in Aspen thinking, I'm not going to cry. Its silly to cry. I knew it was a long shot to begin with. I wasn't crushed, as I know that creating a team in an environment like Portillo is a balancing act for sure, and I am either what the director needed to round out the team or I'm not.

But oh. The questions it raised. What does this mean for my future? Why wasn't I what she needed? Am I fooling myself? Am I being ridiculous? Does everyone know I'm a nutter but me? Is my enthusiasm to improve and play more with more people really difficult and annoying? Was it my blog? Should I not be writing? Is that holding me back?

Accepting that there wasn't a spot for me there was disappointing, but it also is the reality. So here I am. No job and no place to live for the summer. Moment of panic.

And then there is the fear that came with it. Questions and fears like a tidal wave again. Am I not good enough? Have I not been working hard enough? Should I just give up? Who am I fooling anyway?

These thoughts are not productive or helpful, they won't allow me to improve my skiing or stay on track with my goals. I worked as I sat there weighing my need to feel sad and disappointed against the fact that I could be out skiing and improving my skiing right now. Getting the job or not does not change the fact that to improve my skiing I need to be out on snow working in a focused mind set on turning.

I got dressed and went up to Highlands, where it had been dumping all night. I got on snow around noon, and me and my struggling headspace went out on the snow.

Kurt and I have been reviewing video every day for the last three days, frame by frame. Taking about three hours a night to review nine minutes of footage, and compare it to video of Katie, and of some world cup women. This has been an incredible experience for me, I've never been able to get this diagnostic with my skiing.

The closest would have been when I was in Hood with Dave Lyons. But at that point, I understood so little of what I was trying to do, that while it was really helpful, my concept and ability to change was still on a gross level.

We used to do it in skating every day, skate, get videoed, go in, watch video, take notes, do dryland reinforcement of the new movements, bring it to the ice the next day, skate it, get video. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

My skating changed rapidly under this diagnostic opportunity. Having that in skiing with a greater depth of understanding was awesome!

The result: I have a really important change to make in my skiing (again). Mike Rogan saw it during the shoot, so did Ron LeMaster, so did Ron Kipp so did Cindy Lou, so did Megan. Its been a mystery all year.

I've been trying to get after it through means of counter, forward lean in boots, hand position, inside half work... but the root cause doesn't seem to be located.

During the course of all of this video work, Kurt and I have found some solid, repeating issues that seem to be causing the problem. Identifying the cause and effect relationship that's creating the issue was crucial, being patient enough to see it, analyze it, compare it to the same turn in a higher level skier, taking down the books and reading the physics, understanding the concept, now I have three simple things that will take some dedicated effort to change.

After my email from Robin, I had a choice. I could stay with my job, that of changing my skiing, and get out there and train, try to enforce these changes, or I could sink into self pity, assume I'll never be good enough, and give up. Even just for the day. It would feel so good to give into it, to wallow around in it.

I could call a friend, cry, have tea, be hugged, go home, mope around the house, wish I was skiing, be pensive, consider changing careers, or I could SUCK IT UP, take my lumps and get after it.

Nope, I didn't get my dream job. We often don't. I don't know why I didn't get it, (and I did send an email asking what things factored into her decision, so that I can take that information and work on it, developing myself for a better shot in the future), but I didn't.

It doesn't change the fact that I have things to do in my skiing. And so out on the snow I went, first chair ride up, iPod in, feeling sorry for myself, and catching myself doing it, letting go of that indulgent behavior and pulling my mind to the change I was going to try to make.

It took two runs of dedicated effort, but I was able to pull my headspace together. I worked hard to put myself in a productive state of mind that focused on training, trying to see this as an opportunity to perform under duress, and get constructive even if my heart wasn't happy.

I was alone on the mountain, Kurt wasn't there today, no one was, and that was a good thing. Without a crutch to lean on, my job was to find my courage and be enough for me. Stand on my own two feet and get to work. No whining, no complaining, no indulgent behaviors that would draw energy away from the turn I was trying to make.

It turned out to be an incredible day, so valuable! I proved to myself that I can do it, I can hold myself together, my self worth was not defined or affected by not getting the job. I was able to begin to make this change in some terrain.

My little sister showed up and rode her board along side me, silent and happy to be out in the pow. It was nice to have her there, another opportunity to just be with her, not leaning on her, just trying to be present with her. She held space so beautifully for me, and I felt myself let go even further and focus more.

Then, I took a freeski run with Andrew Rumph, my training partner and friend, who DID get hired in Portillo. He threw a HUGE, glorious, gravity-defying 3 into Sodbuster on our first run, and that was the final straw on any sadness I might have been holding on to.

Fluent in Spanish, an incredible skier and a great teacher, Andrew is going to get to live his dream this summer. I'm so very very very happy for him. Letting go of wishing for me and flowing into happiness for him, we celebrated.

Laughing and skiing our brains out, we celebrated his hire, his wonderful summer, how far his skiing has come, how much he inspires me and everyone around him, and how much we love to ski together.

It turned out to be a glorious day. I hope to work in Portillo for the ski school some day. For now, I'll be raising funds to get myself there in August and train my brains out!

And now... back to work!

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