Strong Is The New Strong

Sitting amongst the 40-60 something women skiers this morning, one of the instructors, a young woman in her 20’s said “We all (speaking of the other young women instructors) hope we can be as fit as you all are when we are your age.” I have to admit, it’s pretty impressive to look around and see these incredibly fit, happy women walking around in their bathing suits – with confidence. No hiding or shirking here.  Not one of us has a perfect body.

What we all have are strong bodies, thanks to water skiing.

The strength goes far beyond our toned legs and pumped arms. We are all discovering (or rediscovering) that you get more of whatever you focus on. And that works for things you want and things you don’t.  Early this morning, I mentioned to the coach that the sound my ski made crossing the wakes was different on this boat versus mine at home.  She said she had never noticed it when skiing. When she skied right after me, she said “Now I’m noticing the sound my ski makes across the wake.”

She is probably not thanking me for that. It shows the power of our mind’s focus.  Unless that awareness makes her a better skier, she will probably learn to tune out that distraction.

On the other hand, one of the skiers discovered her strength on the lake with the short set up.  It requires the skier to both get up every time and then hold a strong and steady position as the boat whips into the course.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  Once she was aware of how strong she was in the start up, she took that strength down the lake and immediately improved.

All of us are out there with sore muscles, blisters on our hands and the occasional sunburn trying something new. Inch by tiny inch, we are finding inner strength to take a risk, ask for help, offer support, and yes, go around that next buoy.  We are growing stronger.

And “strong is the new strong.”  It says so on a T-Shirt worn by one of the women today, so it must be true!

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Lynn Carnes accelerates change and unleashes leadership performance in organizations, especially in context of challenges without easy answers. She loves to hear about how your experiments with these ideas turn out. To contact her or share your experiences email