The Power of Quick Wins | Katie Proctor

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to take advantage of $30 Thursdays {and the fact that we get to define our work days} and hit the slopes for a mid-week break. We actually talked about doing this last week, but I always have a nagging fear start to creep in before I hit those first runs of the season and of course came up with many reasons why it wasn’t the “right” time to go.

But I knew I wouldn’t get away with it again this week, so off we went. And I know many of you might think it’s crazy that I get so anxious about something that’s supposed to be fun, but you’re talking to a girl who bought a book called Inner Skiing when she first moved to Colorado.

I’ve learned a really important lesson about myself through skiing, and it’s that I need one turn on the bunny slopes before I get on the main lift. Why? I need a quick win.

I need to get to the end of something to feel accomplished and confident that I can tackle what’s next.

Because nobody wants a repeat of the time I went straight for the big guns and took hours to get down a {very beginner} slope.

I had a conversation with Steph from the Courage + Clarity podcast earlier this week, and we talked about what it means to be brave. A previous guest of hers said something to the effect of “be brave, 5 seconds at a time”, which got me thinking about the start of my own business, which has grown primarily through word of mouth and social media. I vividly remember sharing my first vulnerable post, and feeling the need to run away. I’ve actually heard this called a “vulnerability hangover”, which is pretty accurate. I was overcome with fear about what others might think or say, and I even had to ask my own sister to check if anyone had liked or commented on it. Pretty stark contrast to now when I can post something and, no matter how vulnerable it is, I no longer feel the need for that external validation.

But that detachment only came from consistently putting myself in that position over and over and over again. 

It’s a lot like skiing for me. That first run yesterday was terrible. I was clenching my fists so tightly that I thought I pulled a muscled in both of my hands. But because I had conquered a baby run, I knew I could make it to the bottom. That quick win propelled me forward. And when I got to an overlook point that made me think “this can’t be a green”, I knew that I could be brave for 5 seconds at a time. And 5 seconds more. And 5 seconds more.

I kept repeating to myself “just look at what’s in front of you”, because I knew if I stared all the way down the slope, I would give up. The distance between point A to point Z was far too great. It’s a lot like starting a business. We start at the beginning of the path, yet the temptation is there to compare ourselves to people much further along. If you focus too much on the long, arduous road ahead, you’ll never get through the important everyday decisions that, when done consistently over time, will get you to the finish line. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t rush myself through the hard, trying part of actually skiing downhill and simply get to the satisfying feeling of having accomplished something at the end.

It’s the path that makes you stronger.

The bumps and bruises.

The perceived failures.

And the opportunity to do something brave, even if on the inside you feel anything but. 

Next time you’re in a challenging situation, ask yourself: “How can I create a quick win?” to give you that push to keep going. Same goes for your clients. How can you provide them with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment to keep them moving in a positive direction?