My wonderful girlfriend and I are back from a great week of skiing and snowboarding in Alpe d’Huez (she skis, I board) and I picked up a new little trick on the trip. Here I am just starting to learn it:
I’ve been snowboarding for a few years now, and I’ve always wanted to learn to jump! This year I finally got around to it, and it is loads of fun!
Now, I’m not just showing of my rad new snowboard skills – there are some points here about learning in the workplace. Here’s how corporate learning could improve by being more like learning to snowboard.
1: Learn by doing
I learned to snowboard by snowboarding. I didn’t attend a snowboard conference, seminar or training session. I have no manual, training video or snowboard simulator. Nothing beats learning by doing.
2: Learn as you need it
I haven’t attended a three-day snowboard training session that taught me everything a snowboarder needs to know, including fakies, 360s and ollies. I learned one thing and applied it – and only then moved on to the next thing.
3: Learn when you want to learn
Nobody tells me “Alex, today you will learn to ride moguls.” I learn what I want to when I want to.
4: Focus on where you are, not where you ought to be
When I keep my mind mostly on how good a snowboarder I want to be, I’m paralyzed by the gap I perceive, and I don’t get there. If I keep my mind on how good (or bad) I really am right now, I constantly improve.
5: Make it fun
If I’m not having fun, I’m not learning. It’s that simple.
6: Learn all the time – not just in the classroom
Last year I was on a really steep, uneven, icy slope. I was standing at the top of it thinking “Man, I really want my first couple of turns to work. If I fall up here, I’ll probably slide on my butt all the way down into the valley.”
So when I did my first turn, I did something new without deciding to do it: I pulled up the tail of my board halfway through the turn. It worked and I did a completely precise, perfect turn. I have no idea where that came from, but I clearly remember thinking “Whoa – that’s a neat trick.” I pull that one out of the bag whenever I really, really want a turn to work.
7: One little thing can make a huge difference
This year, I sprang for 2 hours with an instructor. It’s pretty pricey but definitely worth it. He looked at my style, and told me that it looked great but that if I moved my body up and down during turns it would work much better.
It took me about 15 minutes to grasp that, and it was a breakthrough. Suddenly my boarding was much more fluid and effortless. I did everything that I normally did, and that one little addition just made it work much better than before.
8: Learn from people who like what they do
The instructor who taught me obviously enjoyed both snowboard and teaching. You learn much faster when things are taught with passion.
9: Enjoy your mistakes
I looooove falling on my board. The more spectacular the fall the better. You can’t really learn if you fear failure. Very little learning happens without mistakes – or when you fear making them. Here’s Patricia enjoying one of her mistakes:
Following this advice, I’ve made enormous progress on my board. You’ve seen one of my first jumps in the video above. Here I am, later that same day:
Wheeeee! Next year I’m getting a helmet and a back shield so I can go for some serious airtime :o)