When asked what the most amazing experience of your life has been at the age of 37, I think you’re meant to say “the day I married my soul mate”. Or maybe “giving birth to my first daughter”.
These are not the answers I give.
My answer: giving up my job to do a ski season at 27.
I left a very good job at an amazing company. I left a relationship that was on the verge of becoming something significant. I left a beautiful flat in London, my friends and family, to move to another country where I knew no one. Not to mention the fact that I would be the oldest seasonaire in town.
Logically my decision to give up a lot of what made my life great to step into the unknown was pretty crazy. I got that feedback both externally, from friends and family, and also internally. My inner critic was going crazy asking me what the hell I thought I was doing upsetting the apple cart, giving up everything that was good in my life for a totally unknown, risky, out-of-the-comfort-zone experience.
My goal was crystal clear. I wanted to ski every day until I could ski with ease. And I knew what I needed to do to achieve it.
And so the decision was easy, right?. Clear goal, clear idea of how to achieve said goal. All that was required was to execute it.
But there was so much fear. Fear that I was messing my life up, making a big mistake, ruining my career, taking the easy way out of by stepping off the treadmill of life.
I felt the fear and did it anyway.
In the course of my 37 years as a human it is probably one of the craziest, most illogical, risky, “off-piste” decisions I have ever made. And yet it’s the one of the best experiences of my whole entire life.
And it wasn’t the best experience because it was hedonistic and enjoyable with no real responsibility and hours of freedom. It was the best experience because it was a challenge. But I had chosen it of my own free will. I challenged myself to learn a new skill, to make friends with people who were outside my normal social circle, to live in a confined space for 6 months, to do a totally different job to the one I was qualified to do.
It was the complete reverse of the life I had left – in the mountains I had so much time and so little money. I had very little responsibility and the opportunity to indulge a passion for hours on end every day if I wanted to.
I learnt so much about myself and what I love to do / not to do. I learnt about what made me and other people tick. I learnt that I have a strong desire to help and nurture others.
And I fulfilled my dream of being able to ski with ease and to have the freedom of the mountains. And that stays with me forever.
Are you passionate about something? Pursue it.
Are you afraid of something? Face it.
Are you out of your comfort zone? Go further and deeper in.
If you have a goal for 2018 that scares the life out of you, I promise you that is the goal which, once you have achieved it, will give you the most satisfaction and reward.
In a world where we are conditioned to stay on the treadmill, to conform, to be risk-averse and stick to the sensible options, I challenge you to go “off-piste”.