Learning the Hard Way - Don't Forget to Read the Map!

With a little one due this fall, I decided snowboarding with the team during sales kickoff back in February was not the best idea. But since I missed out this year, I thought I could share my first Snowbird experience (for the record I only learned to snowboard a few years ago) and these are the lessons I learned on the slopes that day:

1. Trails where they are still making snow means you'll be riding over ice chips, so just don't do it!

2. Riding through the trees is a bad idea until you are really good at turning. I am not.

3. You should never take your board off of both feet unless you have a REALLY good hold of it. (It slid right on down the mountain without me. This was while I was stuck in the trees).

4. The most important thing I learned was: Always read the map!!

Part of the VueNation team on Ski day.

Part of the VueNation team on Ski day.

 My friends and I decided to get the pass that included the tram and I figured I should use it at least once since I paid for it. There were a few runs that came down from that high on the mountain and one of them was blue with a black dotted line through it. Since blue is intermediate and black is hard, I figured blue and black was somewhere in between.

I was wrong. 

When I started down the hill I blew right by a sign that said "Expert Skiers Only". That worried me a little, but I saw my blue and black line and knew I was heading the right direction. As I rode confidently past the sign I finally saw the mammoth peak in front of me with the two of the smallest trails I have ever seen going off to either side .

I felt like I was in Lord of the Rings about to walk along the side of a sheer snowy drop-off, only I had a board strapped to my feet that had not been incredibly cooperative up to that point in the day.

It was then I decided to pull out the map again. It turns out, the blue and black line means something more along the lines of "You could be black and blue by the time you reach the bottom."


I stood at the crossroad of death with a decision to make: I could hike the path of humiliation back up to the top of the hill and RIDE the tram back down (I would be the only one making a return trip), or I could risk death and/or pain by taking one of the two paths ahead.

I pondered for a moment whether humiliation was better than death and decided it was worth the risk.

I obviously lived to tell my tale, and with just a few bruises to show for it. Along with lessons on snowboarding, I learned a good life lesson, as well. Often times I am quick to jump in and get something done, or head off on an adventure, but I don't always take the time to gather the information necessary to ensure I'm making a wise decision.

I had a map, but I didn't really take the time to make sure I understood it. I just assumed I knew what I was doing and continued on my way.

 As we walk into a new sales opportunity, or even a new customer relationship, do we always take the time to “read the map”, and understand the best approach, or do we jump right in and assume that we’ll figure it out as we go?

I learned that day that preparation not only leads me down a better path, but it also makes any life experience much more enjoyable.

- Rachel Cottle, Solution Consultant at HireVue