Conquering a Challenge! by Cheryl Oakes
10/21/2011 1:18:16 PM
Two years ago I tried
something I had never tried before. I entered the Mt. Dew Vertical
Challenge ski race. My first race was all new to me. I had never raced
on skis, never in a
slalom and never in a crowd of all ages from 5 year olds to 70 year
My heart was pounding when I reached the gates during my first race in
2007. My purpose was to have fun, but in the process I discovered the
same kind of feeling many of us have when we encounter something new
In January 2009, at Sugarloaf
Mountain in Maine, I raced the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge slalom
course. My youngest son raced at the same time I did, he was on his
snowboard trying to best his record. I started out with him, but soon
was pretty far behind him, but I keep at it. I was almost as nervous
as the first time I raced and throughout my race I talked my way
through the slalom course to the bottom. I kept reminding myself that
I could keep going fast and not to slow down until I was past the
finish line. By the time I was at the end of the slalom course and
still standing, I was thinking about whether I had beat my old record
and if I had improved. My goal for the entire year had been to beat my
previous time, and since I moved into a new age group I hoped I could
be first in my age group.
While I was racing this year, I was
reminded that when I am presenting to others, I have to imagine that
there are some in the
audience who are feeling nervous, scared, and probably that "just get
me out of here before anyone notices how little I know feeling". I
think all presenters who are mindful of that nervous feeling will be
able to reach some timid members in the audience and encourage them to
try something new with purpose.
am happy that I have kept at my own Vertical Challenge for the past
three years. I am happy that each year I have gotten a little bit
faster. I am happy and surprised to report that I did win my age group,
FIRST PLACE. I have a medal to prove that I won, but just knowing that
I kept at it was enough for me. As much as I enjoyed winning, I am
confident that I will remember the nervous, heart pounding sensation
that accompanies trying something totally new and out of my comfort
zone. If I can take that to each professional development event that I
am involved in and share, I hope those in the audience will gain some
confidence that they too can conquer any challenge. I will be right
Oh, by the way, my son not only won his age
division but was the fastest snowboarder on the mountain! Way to make
his momma proud!
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