Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Leap of Faith

Standing on the edge of the Cornice at Mammoth, I look at the precipice of the run I’m about to undertake. I watch skier after skier complete their first turn off of the edge and disappear below.  The sun beats down on me. It is a perfect day for skiing.  For the first time in recorded memory the wind is not howling on this ridge so I can take a few moments to look around, to appreciate the beauty of where I am.

Then I turn my mind back to the run in front of me.  A big group has just gone. It is my turn.  I feel my heart beat faster, those few familiar moments of fear as I prepare to drop into the bowl I can’t see.  I trust in my skill on skis, my experience, my strength.  Yet still there is something awesome about having to take this kind of a leap of faith into that which you cannot see.

I take a deep breath, and I drop from the cornice.  The first few turns are so steep, but the snow is perfect.  I gather speed. I can only hear the sound of my skis speeding over the snow as faster and faster I carve my turns.  My legs, my body respond on muscle memory alone.  I am 100% in the moment, nothing else on the mind.  Just this.  At the bottom, I feel the exhiliration the rush of doing something that seems a little crazy.  There is no lift line.  I go again and again, different runs off the top, the same moment of fear, the same exhilaration at the bottom, until my legs scream that they can take no more.

There are days I walk into situations at work that seem so terrible, terrible beyond anything most can imagine.  I feel a similar moment of questioning, of anxiety.  Am I equal to the task placed on me?  I allow myself to question it, but only for a moment that is all that fear gets.  Then I’m calm and collected as I direct the team.  I trust in my training, my skill, my knowledge, my colleagues.  In those moments, my focus is similar, I am 100% in that moment, yet the two experiences couldn't be more different.  It is a leap of faith of a different kind.


Jabulani said...

I read somewhere on another medical blog the surgeon say that there is always a little fear when he does an operation, irrespective of whether it's an operation he's performed loads of times. The fear is good because it reminds you that each operation is different with potential problems of it's own. However, you have to approach it with a confidence in your skill and your team and you will then be successful. I believe this is true for all of us whatever our walk of life. A little fear is a good thing - it prevents complacency.

Oh yeah, and I'm jealous about the skiing too :-/

Kim Tracy Prince said...

This is a great post, Lisa.

Dr. Lisa said...

Thanks Sian and Kim!