Zia Savel Ltd Executive Coach Systemic Team Coach Coaching Leadership Aberdeen Aberdeenshire Scotland

I can do it!

Have you ever been in the position when you’re the worst at something?  You are brand new to something? Every move you make, you overthink?

That was me skiing – Each year we venture to Finland with the most fabulous snow. It is white from the sky to the ground. The snow is perfect, powdery, you can see the lines of the snow groomer on the empty slopes.

My challenge was I was taught to ski the snow plough way. Snow plough was the most excruciating ski technique you can imagine. It involves pointing your toes together, kicking your heels out and applying the greatest pressure you can imagine on your knees constantly.

My experience of skiing for years was in constant pressure and pain.

What changed?

The past couple of years, I have to admit things have changed.  I now enjoy skiing, the freedom, fun and fast pace is fantastic.  I can catch my kids and even get to the lift ahead of them.

Certainly, physical fitness had an impact, so I am fitter with better coordination and condition.

The key change was in mindset.  I previously was consumed about all the things that could go wrong and all my energy was going into stopping bad things happening. I had a closed mindset and was scared.  This impacted everything about my skiing, I was even grumpy on holiday, as I felt I was holding everyone back and I was useless.

Sadly, I suspect some readers may recognise how I felt.  Many will share these experiences in the work context.  That feeling of turning up, trying anything and everything you have to bring and still not performing well.

In the skiing analogy, this pattern carried on for years.

Mindset Shift

I had to own my own mindset shift and step into the place of possibilities and positively.

I watched Instagram videos, tutorials and many episodes of Ski Sunday.  The thinking here was to gain as many insights as I could, so I could make informed choices on the slope.  To gain a full awareness of how to be in control in ever changing conditions and with the changing dynamics of skiing with family and friends.

On day One I approached the slope with confidence and excitement, same with the 1st lift and it kept going.  We met friends we had not skied with in four years and they didn’t recognise it was me skiing.

When friends and family started to compliment MY skiing (wow) I was flattered and so proud.


There were wobbles, when I hit an unexpected pile of powder and when my kids said, ‘Let’s go through the trees!’  The wobbles allowed me to notice immediately when I went back to snow plough – my knees told me too!

The awareness was instant and I knew what I wanted.  I wanted to be confident, capable and faster than my kids, so possibly competitive is a good word!


Everything mentioned in skiing could be interchangeable with leadership.

Our past experience influences how we show up.  We need to be focused and committed on what we are leading for, even when things don’t go to plan or when things change around us.

Waking up to how we show up and being mindful of how we want to lead.

Being cognisant of the mindset we hold, when there is room to change our mindset and how to do this?

Realising we are human and perfection fluctuates.  In the most imperfect moments, we have space to learn and refine.  Showing up and trying to do our best is a good place to start.

Leadership is complex, dynamic and rewarding.  We need to pivot and show up with our best intentions.


If you are keen to refine your leadership, through exploring your mindset, please contact Zia Savel at zia@ziasavel.com

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