"Growth demands a temporary surrender of security"
- Gail Sheehy
I finished my unexpected (two week) stint as an Ski Tour guide throughout Japan. As a quick recap, I got the job 1/3 of the way through an expected Ski Tour vacation, when the organizer of the trip (a fellow named Jason) told me that he needed another guide, and would I be interested in a free trip (yes!) in exchange for leading a group of 7 intermediate - advanced skiers around the ski mountains of Japan.
So, I said yes, and despite being only half qualified** I had a great time, and generally folks seemed to really enjoy being in my group.
** I have multiple levels of ski coaching certification, but I've never skied any of the mountains we visited in Japan. Good ski coach, lousy tour guide :)
What did I learn?
On the expected side, working is totally different from vacation.
In a really positive way the purpose I felt each day went up significantly, I really felt like I was helping folks improve their powder skiing, and did my best to enable them to have a great vacation. One of the gentlemen in my group paid me an incredibly nice compliment saying "Alan, you are putting such good karma out into the universe" and that he really enjoyed skiing with me. And this was from a CFO!! Not generally known to me as the most karmic of people.
"Alan, you are putting such good karma out into the universe"
Throughout my working life, I know that I've always got a huge charge out of positive feedback, and this was no different. The group was incredibly kind, appreciative, and thoughtful. One of the nicest gestures possible was from Milan, whom I talked to about "Time On", and then he proceeded to read my blog and discuss it with me. I was so touched and grateful.
But I was definitely slightly more stressed and slightly less free. I had to be more risk adverse on the ski hill, and was always stopping to watch, check in, and get feedback from the group. I was more concious of helping pack the vans and work on logistics which made for a lot less downtime.
And then, I didn't want to compromise time at night with my new friends, and as I result, I had a really hard time keeping up my Japanese lessons and my meditation during this two weeks.
I optimized for nights out with friends and spent my days working. This felt eerily like other times in my life.
Overall an amazing and lucky experience.
Would I do it again? In the ideal world, I would rather trade my off-piste related skills (designing a website, online marketing) for a free ski trip, than working on the hill. I think this would allow me to revel in the ski time as "time on" and still feel like a contributing purpose led individual.
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