For my ninth birthday I had wanted an ABEC 7 low truck skateboard so badly but it only saw a ramp once in its life and my parent’s attic for the rest of it. I had retired from the sport before ever getting going. I never expected to pick it back up in my twenties when a colleague at work showed me an advertisement for a skateboarding class with professionals in the company sports magazine. I couldn’t stop wondering: Would I stand a trick on the skateboard if I tried it today?
To make a long story short, I took the class and I landed tricks I never thought I could perform. Along the way, I learned a lot more than just skateboarding.
Here are three takeaways from my late but great ‘skateboarding career’:
1. Partner up with the right people to fly high
My colleague got me to the class while the professionals on site helped me to find balance on the board and lean into the experience. Being mentored by these pros, who have perfected their craft, was incredibly impactful for me. You know, when people say, “don’t choose a job, choose a boss,” they understand that there is no greater leverage of a learning situation than being surrounded by people that care about you and want to see you develop your strengths.
2. Never let falling turn into failing
The beauty of skateboarding is in the high jumps and effortless looking tricks. You might know how to get from A to B quickly, but jumping to D, T and Z along the way is much more fun. I stopped trying to go off curbs or ramps because of the fear of falling; after all, concrete is not very forgiving.
I never realized that only when I stopped trying, my falling turned into failing.
During the workshop, it struck me that it had become my strategy at work to avoid any situation where I might fall.
I got comfortable with default modes of thinking and easy solutions but after the class, I have decided that I also had to become fearless of falling at work.
The knee and elbow pads cushioned the blows somewhat but giving up was never an option.
3. Love will take you places
When people saw my cuts and grazes, they found it hard to understand how I fell totally in love with this sport. Have you ever heard the saying “when you love what you’re doing you’ll never work a day in your life?” That is total BS. The reality is that you’ll work twice as hard, all day, every day.
When you love something you lose a sense of what is reasonable, which can be to your advantage: You won’t give up easily. Eventually, you will learn that,
As I make that perfect spin, land the trick I’ve tried a thousand times and revel in the intense feeling of happiness and pride – that’s what keeps me wanting more in all areas of my life.
I am fortunate to say that I truly love my work and I will work extra hard to refine my skillsets to capitalize on what I am good at; however, more importantly, I want to grasp the opportunities ahead to go out of my way to learn something new.
Learning to skateboard was definitely an eye-opener for me. Who knows what I’ll learn from my next company sports adventure.