Holly Wood

How positive psychology helped me overcome my fear of skiing

by | Apr 4, 2022 | Mindset, Positive Psychology

Bit of a different one for this marketing and business blog – but one I feel compelled to share, as I think it’s incredibly relevant to us all, in a plethora of ways!

As The Flourish Mentor®, I pitch myself as a “marketing and mindset mentor”, as I’m passionate about women solopreneurs developing both their digital marketing strategies and their mindset for success.

As a mentor, my sessions are based predominantly on my lived experience in growing a brand and business over the last 10+ years – I’ve tried and tested everything, failed, built resilience and am now flourishing as an entrepreneur. My Psychology Masters and Certification in Positive Psychology Coaching, have given me even more depth and insight into this side of the coin and I now have a toolkit that I can draw-upon with my clients, as and when needed.

Scene set… you’re probably wondering how skiing fits into it?

Well, let me explain… (by the way, if you’re a podcast person, you may want to go & listen here instead, as I did a whole episode on what I’m about to share with you)…

How Positive Psychology helped me overcome my fear of skiing

In a nutshell, I’ve spent the last 12 years trying and failing miserably, to ski. I’ve kept trying because my husband and his family are very accomplished skiers/snowboarders and so we take regular trips to the slopes. And since my two kiddies arrived, it’s becoming a very important part of our futures, as we both want them to grow up with that skill/lifestyle. So, I’ve battled with not being able to ski over the years, alongside the fear of missing out on years of family holidays and fun memories being made. And, quite frankly, I’ve hated it! I’m not a thrill seeker or adrenaline junkie, I didn’t grow up with winter holidays and as a 35 year old mum of two… I’ve got the fear! It’s completely out of my comfort zone and I’d much rather be hauled up on a beach somewhere with a cocktail or exploring a city, very much on horizontal land! This most recent ski holiday, came well into my studies of Positive Psychology and following successful integration of the tools to develop and grow myself as an entrepreneur, I realised that I should take this self-awareness and apply it to skiing! It was certainly worth a shot, right?!
“It’s completely out of my comfort zone and I’d much rather be hauled up on a beach somewhere with a cocktail or exploring a city, very much on horizontal land!”
Well, I was right! I spent a couple of months, working through the things I’m about to outline for you, leading up to the ski holiday and spoiler alert: it worked! This is the first ski trip in over 10 years, that I’ve truly enjoyed, made progress and left, wanting to go back.

Want to know how positive psychology helped me overcome my fear of skiing?

I did these 4 things:

How positive psychology helped me overcome my fear of skiing - By Holly Wood

1 – A lot of work on my self awareness!

What does that mean? Well, I realised, when I sat down and gave it some serious thought, that I had A LOT to unpick when it came to my relationship with skiing. And that recognition has come about because of me really being in-tune with who I am as a person, my strengths, my lesser strengths and my values.

It was like peeling an onion, but I realised there was a lot going on, including: lack of confidence and trust in others, feeling like I couldn’t communicate how I truly felt about it with my loved ones (who so badly wanted me to enjoy it!), feeling pressured and being pushed outside of my own comfortable pace and boundaries, not feeling supported or understood… and so on. A lot right?

When I started to recognise and acknowledge these things, it finally gave me the power and control to address each one and make some changes.

2 – Channelled my Growth Mindset!

There’s one thing you can never say about me and skiing… that I quit! Nope! I tried and failed multiple times over 12 years and kept brushing myself off and trying again. I was building resilience over time, but I was getting pretty knocked-about too! Emotionally, I was knackered with it all, anxious and deflated. But what I recognise now, is that I have growth mindset. I just needed to apply it to skiing, like I do in my business, for example. So all the negative self-talk that I’d started to conduct around skiing (“you’re just not designed for this”, “you’ll never be able to do it”, “there must be something wrong with you” etc. etc.) was actually demonstration of a fixed mindset. I’d given-up on myself and my ability to ski. When I began to apply the Positive Psychology toolkit I’d equipped myself with, this started to change. I began to say positive affirmations out loud to myself before my ski lessons – things like: “you are going to be a good skier”, “you are going to love your ski holiday” and “you are meant to be a skier”. And I noted my self-talk and when it slipped into negative, I’d reframe. Simple, yet so effective!

3 – Used Positive Psychology coaching to discover what joy in skiing looked like for me!

As a Positive Psychology coach myself, I understand the importance of being coached. So as well as a coach, I’m a coachee of the science too! And this really helped me when it came to identifying what a joyful ski holiday would actually look like to me. Part of the problem had been me fitting myself into someone else’s vision and experience of a ski holiday and what they thought I’d want to do (the majority of which was way out of my comfort zone). So I went back to square one and started to visualise the ideal skiing holiday for me right now. Which looked something like this: lots of fresh air moments, reading in the sunshine, al fresco eating/drinking, playing with the kids in the snow, quality time with my family. When I could really identify with that holiday, it started to feel far more appealing. The ski lessons would hopefully integrate themselves into that vision, but if not, I still had a lot of joyful moments to work with!

4 – Realised the importance of one-to-one guidance!

I wouldn’t have been able to have such a successful trip if it wasn’t thanks to two amazing coaches/instructors (shout out to Karl at Chillfactore and Lynne in Flaine). Just like with my business, I knew the power of guidance and one-to-one teaching. So that’s what I did! I invested in some one-to-one ski lessons, here in Manchester before we left and then out in Flaine on the slopes. I identified two people who took the time to get to know me, understand my feelings about skiing (my communication strength came into play here) and nurture my learning experience, at my pace. I didn’t feel pressured to reach certain milestones by certain times, I was never pushed beyond what I was comfortable with at the time and I felt supported every step of the way. This was so key to me actually enjoying myself when out on the slopes. And the result of all this Positive Psychology? I left the trip, able to ski in parallel down the nursery slope comfortably and confidently. I didn’t progress beyond that slope to the bigger ones, because I didn’t feel ready. Instead, I worked on my technique, banking more and more turns, until it started to be thoughtless. I removed the fear and I left on a high. And I now KNOW, that I will be a skier. Maybe not the best one you’ve ever seen, but a skier nonetheless. I can see it in my future, I can see the fun family holidays and I’ve tackled one helluva obstacle by using Positive Psychology.

Pretty awesome huh?

How positive psychology helped me overcome my fear of skiing - By Holly Wood

I’ve only scratched the surface of the power of Positive Psychology with this experience. But now you’ve read it, what challenge in your life do you think you could apply the tools of Positive Psychology to?

I’d love to know!

I work with women solopreneurs all across the country, virtually and occasionally in person too.

I have bespoke 1:1 programmes, a membership community, courses and many other ways to help you truly flourish in yourself and your business.

This is how you can ways to work with me. You deserve to flourish too.

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