“If I’m just gonna be the slowest skier on the team, and everyone is gonna have to wait for me, then I don’t want to be here.”
His voice trembled as he nearly shouted the words at me from across the ski trail.It was late in the day, the temperature was dipping uncomfortably below zero, and I had already sent the other skiers out to complete a series of training intervals.
Yes, he was slow. Yes, he was holding the group up.
I saw the indigence in his body posture. He was pissed. Pissed at me for telling him this ski team would be a good fit, pissed at himself for already committing money to ski with a team that left him in the dust. Pissed that he felt out of shape, ego wrecked, and past his prime. He was pissed because this damn sport was way harder than he had expected.
He wanted to quit.
This was embarrassing.
This. Was. Hard.
“I know,” I said. “And you are failing to acknowledge that every one of these skiers was the last person on the team at one point, including me. The difference is, we’ve accepted that this sport is hard, and we keep moving forward. Being the slowest person on the team is a good place to be because it means that one day, you’ll be one of the fastest. Now let’s go, I’m getting cold.”
He did not leave the team that night. He kept skiing, even taking on additional training days. He’s not the slowest on the team anymore, either.
Can you imagine a person who never falls on their ass a million times, is never the slowest on the team, and has never experienced ego-obliterating frustration?
That person sounds boring. And they will never be the fastest.
So do something really hard today. I hope you get uncomfortable and a bit resentful. Bonus points if you’re feeling ZERO motivation to do the hard thing.
I’m good with falling on my ass a million times.
How about you?