5 Steps to Successfully Start Over
Author: Skratch Labs Taste Agent & International Ski Guide Donny Roth
When the cookie crumbles, we end up with more of a mess than we want. It’s easy to stress over the crumbs and panic that you’ll never put the pieces whole again.
Life is full of unexpected setbacks. As an athlete who deals with depression, I have spent quite a bit of time learning to overcome the types of setbacks that knock me on my ass. As an international ski guide, I apply these lessons to my professional and personal life. Overcoming a setback is a process – it is not just a matter of persistence or avoidance. This is my process.
Turn your back on the problem and there's a good chance you'll slip right back into it. Have the courage to face the things that scare you the most.
Step One: Take Time to Understand.
This is the worst stage because it’s the most difficult. You can skip it, but doing so will bite you in the ass later. As much as it sucks, we have to spend time with the situation and ask ourselves: What happened? How did we get here?
When a skier crashes, the natural inclination is to pop up as quickly as possible and continue on, as if nothing happened. The problem is that popping right up, ignoring the problem, means failing to learn from the situation. Failure to learn means failure to anticipate and recognize the hazard in the future. So, we are doomed to repeat the cycle. When we find ourselves in patterns we'd rather escape from, it's because we haven’t dedicated the necessary time to figure out how we got into this mess in the first place.
One of my counselors always encouraged me to "stay down." He would tell me to envision myself laying in a heap in the snow and then say, "Don't pop right back up." He tasked me to reflect on the situation, the events that led to it, and how I felt at the moment. It’s painful. But if we want to grow, we have to absorb the lessons available to us.
Step Two: Rally the Team.
There is no need to go it alone. Cyclists understand that sometimes we need to draft off teammates and surround ourselves with a strong group of people we trust. We all want to be the hero, out in front, taking the wind in our face and pulling everyone behind us – but no one can do this all the time.
Sometimes we need to let other people help us. The key is knowing who to rely on. Who's on your team? Ask these people for help. Simply stating that we need a hand is a call to action, a critical step bringing us closer to resolution.
Step Three: Find Your Strength.
Start with the core. The goal isn't to perform well, yet. We need to get back to the gym or the yoga studio or wherever we go to feel strong – maybe even powerful. Harnessing our physical strength reminds us that we do recover, maybe even gain, and this translates to a positive outlook about the future.
Good partners make uncertain situations easier to deal with. We go farther with friends.
Step Four: Get Back on the Horse.
But take a low-stress approach. Get back into the mountains for fun. Run or ride - alone or with someone who makes us smile. Go on a date with someone we know we're not going to marry, but is fun for now. We need to remember the joy that life brings us, when we allow it to.
Step Five: Leave Your Baggage Behind.
Pursuing your next goal is a new situation. Previous setbacks and failures were the catalyst for lessons learned and strength gained. They are not predictors of future pitfalls.
By definition, the most rewarding things in life require the most effort. Sometimes, no matter how much we've prepared, no matter how calculated our preparations, our efforts don't yield the result we want. We get knocked down. Avoiding this, never risking the setback, means the reward will never come.
Success is not an absence of obstacles and setbacks. Success is the ability to overcome and keep going.
You've seen a million sunsets, but you know each one is different. Wherever you are, you've never been here before; and you'll never be here again.
About Donny Roth
Donny is an AMGA-certified Ski Guide and owner of Independent Descents. He chases winter from Colorado to Canada to Iceland to Chile, which means he hasn't seen a proper summer since 2003. Follow his adventures on Instagram @independentdescents.