Toni Clark

Write Your Own Script

Learning to Leap

Jumping boy

I’ve been excited about woman ski jumpers competing in the Olympic games for the first time.  Even a still photo of US Women’s Jump team member, Jessica Jerome, in flight–with no “terra firma” in the frame—has thrilled me and made me think about what it takes to learn to leap, both on the slopes and in life.

Years ago I watched young boys learning how to ski jump in Idaho. I had a seat by the fire in the lodge, with a clear view of the training ramp on a wickedly cold day on the mountain. A handful of little guys—5 or 6 years-old at most—made run after run down the ramp and then skied off the edge into space until they landed hard a few seconds later and skied away. The ramp was not Olympic height of course, but it was high, and frightening enough. And of course not every boy’s run ended with a smooth glide to the finish.

A man sitting near by must have seen me shake my head with disbelief and concern. He said, “It’s a sport best learned before you learn to think. After seven or eight, it gets harder. And of course it helps that some children just love to jump.”

As a coach I’ve noticed that when my clients pursue something they really love to do they are usually more willing to persist–even when it’s uncomfortable, even when it’s difficult. Sometimes their stamina is astounding.

Is there something you love to do?  Try to suspend your immediate judgments about it and imagine how a day would begin if you organized a generous chunk of your time around that activity.  It may feel risky even to think about, even frightening. But if it’s really something you love to do, you might discover a leap worth taking.