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

In life it is crucial to have friends and role models that bring out the best in you. They challenge you to try new things, they offer guidance and coaching when you need support and they motivate you by celebrating even the smallest success.

Three young men standing together linking arms after a successful indoor skating session. Skaters, Skateboarding, Friendship.
A push in the right direction from a friend got me fired up for the challenge ahead. ©Niccolo Scelfo

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

Black and white photo of a skater boy wearing protective knee and elbow pads getting ready to skate. skater, determination, skateboard, hobbies.,
©Niccolo Scelfo

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.

3 COMMENTS

Please take note of the commenting guidelines.
You will receive an email to approve your comment.
Please take note of the commenting guidelines.
You will receive an email to approve your comment.

Thanks for your comment

You will receive an email to approve your comment. It will only appear after your confirmation.

Okay

Oh no! An unexpected error occurred.

Try again
by Erika 14.03.2018
Anthony, thank you so much for contributing this piece. Not only did I have as much fun on this workshop as you, I also took away an incredible feeling. That is - I had the feeling, but I hadn't brought it so clearly and eloquently to words (and therefore, to principles I can apply beyond the workshop) as you have. Thank you for helping me do this. On your point #2, I loved how we started the workshop by learning how to fall. Again, I didn't know why this was so powerful until you pointed it out here. As an aside, I got a skateboard from my husband's parents this Christmas because I kept going on about "skateboarding this, skateboarding that..", I will definitely be using the elbow and knee pads, but I will also keep trying even harder because of your blog post. Also many thanks to @niccoloscelfo for the heads up on this blog post and the photos!
Reply
by Tim 18.03.2018
Great post Anthony. I can totally relate to this from when I started skating myself many years ago. The most important point is to find a good crew and role models that can motivate you to keep pushing.
Thanks for sharing!

https://www.electricskateboardguide.com/
Reply
by Jens 20.03.2018
Hey Anthony,

I probably belong to the group that cannot really understand how skateboarders can be so passionate about something that is often so painful. You said it yourself: 'concrete is not very forgiving.' So I guess I will stick with snowboarding. Nonetheless, I really like how you took your learnings from sport to business. From the outside, it always looks easy when people make the next move in their career; however, you put it perfectly when you said: “Success is not a byproduct of fun, but it is a result of the persistence and blood, sweat and tears that you’ve put into it.”

Cheers, Jens
Reply