3 things I learned on a snow scooter and a dogsled

A few weeks ago I was in Lapland, the scenery was breathtaking. A thick pack of snow, not too cold, a beautiful bright sky and even sunshine. That was the scenery in which I, together with 30 other women, went out on a trip. After a short initiation in snow scooter etiquette and the basics of the behavior of a husky in his pack, we started exploring. I never expected that during that first half hour on the snow scooter and later at the back of the dogsled I would encounter myself.

I tried to enjoy it. I did, but boy did I have to fight first. A thousand little devils rested on my shoulders. Self-leadership was the theme of our trip, or better everything you can do to make your light shine as bright as it possibly can. And with that comes crossing boundaries.

 You might not believe me, but in my most authentic state I’m actually a bit of a scaredy-cat when I’m encountered with things I don’t know. I’m even a bit scared when I go into the carwash, worried that I might hit the installation, even though that has never happened so far. I would never have registered if one of my clients, a very cool lady, didn’t tell me that she registered and asked me if I wasn’t going to join. I had a thousand good reasons to not go: wasn’t it going to be -37°C? I don’t have the right equipment for that. Aren’t my lenses going to freeze stuck in that cold? Can I be away that long from my family and work? Isn’t it a little crazy, spending that much money on a trip about self-leadership? Isn’t this going to greatly impact my ecological footprint?

It’s wasn’t –37 when I was there, my outfit was more than warm enough, my lenses stayed put and my skin didn’t freeze off. The trip was pretty cool and really beautiful. I took 3 lessons home with me, all the way from Lapland.

Learning is always a bit uncomfortable
We tell it dozens of times a week to the people we coach, and it also still applies to myself: learning is always a bit uncomfortable. I had a tough first half an hour, because I’m kind of a control freak: I definitely do not want to make mistakes by incompetence. I never want to, so also not on a snow scooter or a sled. But sledding is rather easy, snow scootering is a bit more complex. But still: even that bit of discomfort is not too bad. And I learned so much. Once I trusted the process I could really enjoy the trip.  

Falling over is fine as long as you have a soft landing
In deep snow you can quite literally fall over with a snow scooter as well as with a dogsled. With a bit of bad luck, your dogs might run off without you. That’s alright. It doesn’t hurt, you’ll get back up again, and there are others nearby who could give you a ride if needed. Falling over is fine, as long as you have a soft landing. My ego needed some time to get used to that. The perfectionist in me made sure I didn’t fall. Turns out I have a knack for driving a snow scooter in deep snow. Having a soft landing also means looking out for the consequences and an eventual plan B.

Expectations disappoint, intentions never do
The most important thing I learned during this trip, is that expectations are pretty impractical. Have you ever thought ‘this is going to be the best party ever!’? Hopefully it was, but more often than not it leads to disappointment. When we give a training, we also set our participants up for disappointment: we ask about the expectations of the participants and secretly everyone, even we ourselves, expect that the trainer is going to deliver on them. Intentions are much more useful, for both parties. You don’t expect to have ‘the best party ever’, but you intent to make it a great party, and if it’s not, time to go home and do something fun instead. That is ownership, self-leadership and acting with self-reliance.  

Lapland is gorgeous, I can recommend it. Learning is something you can do everywhere. How will you create some ‘stretch’ for yourself in the coming weeks? Do you take full ownership of your growth? In need of a plan B, more growth or opportunities for growth? Get in touch, career coaching helps you take on your career with self-reliance. 

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