Two and a half years later, I finally realize the irony to all of this. With an almost completed Master’s Degree in Economics and Finance and appearing in a photo with Tyra Banks herself, perhaps this is what Apres-Shred is all about. I originally designed this blog to conveniently follow myself through the shred life, recording all the local hang outs and secret treasures along the way. But, maybe, this is what it is all about. Snowboarding was my hobby, in a large way it defined me. It was my confidence and credence. Beyond the shredder was just a nerdy, normal girl with an undying passion for everything edible. But what else? I failed to see the real me. I failed to see the inner and outer beauty that defined me behind the goggles and the textbooks. Of course, what we do defines us; but, it doesn’t determine us. I have learned a lot from my mistakes, especially the value of mobility; however, we always have more to learn, and we always have something more to do. Perhaps if I didn’t end up losing my dreams, I wouldn’t have realized all the others I was meant to achieve. Maybe when life throws us curve balls, its for a higher purpose. I have met individuals who have influenced my life so deeply and made me a better person today; without my accident, I may have never had the opportunity. So, when life gets you down, always, always stand back up again and take a moment to realize all the other things you were meant to be. Never give up on yourself or your dreams. I may not have the ability to be a professional snowboarder anymore, but I am getting back on the mountain this year and capturing my passion again. My heart is in the mountains, but my mind is continuing to explore the world.
As you may have read from my other posts, this blog was created for my Marketing Management class at Champlain College. Today, I am supposed to reflect on my personal brand throughout the course of the semester.
Should we start with the good news or the bad?
We might as well get the bad out of the way.
How I imagined this blog, the purpose, changed drastically. Originally, I wanted to bring readers around New England on snowboard, skate and surf adventures filled with loco locals and fantastic food. However, life had a different plan. After tearing my ACL about one week into the project, I realized I had lost the true soul of my personal brand. I lied to myself and thought I could still keep up with the rad industry events, but when you can’t walk, its hard to keep up with just about anything. What I did learn from this mistake is a lesson I will keep with me forever, Never limit yourself.
Yes, shredding is my life and my passion, but I am so much more. An unforeseen turn of events may have lost the true soul of my personal brand, but I didn’t lose my soul. It took me some time to come to this realization, but after I hurt myself, I began to remember all the things that make me, well me. I was trying to brand myself on a single attribute, kind of like when a company brands itself around a single product or service only to later find out that it doesn’t fully capture the full breadth of the organization.
Though I could have posted more often or had more followers or even more than 54 visitors, I learned more about myself in these past fourteen weeks than I could have imagined. Now that I am finally getting better, I plan to bring back the heart and soul of my personal brand over the next fourteen weeks and fourteen weeks after that, but instead of just being another snowboard, surf, and skate blog, it will be so much more.
Now for the good.
I came into this project with no HTML knowledge at all. I am not saying that I have become an HTML guru, but I am pretty proud of myself that you can actually read the words I am writing… Of course, the comment section is a whole different story. (Any HTML gurus out there, feel free to help!)
Also, I got a hands-on experience with Google Analytics and Bit.ly. Google Analytics was actually a lot of fun to use… despite having only 54 visitors, I learned that more than one of those 54 people visited my blog 8 times! Through bit.ly and traffic sources in Google Analytics, I was able to see what sites referred readers to my blog. The coolest thing I learned from Google Analytics was that people were actually spending time on my site, which means that they were actually reading what I had to say!
All in all, I learned the importance of blogging. Before this project, I didn’t think much of blogs, but now I know they are consumers’ free market tool. It is through the internet that we can spread knowledge so much faster than has ever been done before and all at no cost to you or me!
Sometimes, I feel not good enough. Sometimes, I envy those around me. Sometimes, I really wish I could just surf, skate or snowboard. Nothing has left me feeling worse than dealing with these past few weeks. The spring shredding, the warm waves, long boarders bombing down Maple Street, it’s a part of me and without it, I feel lost.
With the real world looming around the corner in one more week, I can’t help but ask myself, what do I want to do? Who do I want to be? Where am I waiting to go… Please girl, let me know.
When you lose a part of yourself, it seems the whole world around you changes. Cut from the scene, cut from the love, the passion, the joy, the excitement, the shred, who am I?
I find myself waiting for someone to tell me my strengths, waiting for someone to tell me who I am. But I know who I am. I am me. I am the one with the drive, the motivation, the intelligence to pull myself through everything. I can do anything, I can be anything that I want to be and I don’t need anyone to tell me that.
It has been beautiful spring weather all around New England. To all those out on the mountain today, here are some words of wisdom.
Fear of progression is kind of like that childhood fear of monsters in the closet.
“Don’t ask yourself what will happen if you go to sleep—Ask yourself what will happen if you don’t check the closet.” -Source: Rohit Bhargava’s Personality Not Included
Get out there and check your closet!
You know that feeling you get when you accomplish something that you’ve never done before? Your heart pounding, breathing so deeply, your lungs almost hurt, and right as you feel as if you’re going to be sick, this euphoric bliss of happiness falls over you faster than an avalanche on a warm day in Alaska. (To every big mountain rider who has had the slosh nipping at their tail, you probably know this feeling better than anyone else.)
If you have ever felt this feeling, you also probably know it takes a few tries to get there. Greatness doesn’t happen overnight. I have learned through my time at Champlain College that it is easy to imagine yourself doing something amazing, the ideas are there, but the art of actually executing it, is a whole different ball game. It takes practice, persistence, and most of all baby steps.
Would you want to throw yourself off a 60 foot table top kicker and try a 540 for the first time? It is actually really scary even off a 35 footer because no matter which way you spin, you will be coming down switch. For anyone who isn’t familiar with snowboard terminology, switch is riding the opposite way from which you are most comfortable. To imagine it is one thing, to actually stomp it is another.
I’ve had a few school projects and bless my teacher for not having a heart attack, but I metaphorically threw myself off a 60 foot kicker because I could imagine myself doing it. Don’t get me wrong, this is ultimately the first step. Olympians before the games imagine themselves standing on the podium holding the gold, but you also got to have the skills and experience, otherwise you will crash and burn… Good thing the thousands of dollars I pay in tuition includes a fire extinguisher.
The key to implementing anything, whether it be a project plan, marketing campaign or 540, is to start small. Instead of bombing into the 60 footer, try it on flat land first and work your way up. It is easier to pick yourself up from a small fall rather than a devastating drop. After a while, you will get comfortable doing it on flat ground, then work your way up to the 35 footer, but you are still not ready for the 60. These are your stepping stones. Every goal requires a few stepping stones, that is just the nature of the beast.
The day you’re standing, waiting to drop into the 60, the fear of the unknown looming in the shadows, but you’re mind is focused. You have a goal and nothing is going to stop you because you’ve worked so hard to get here. You know what you’re doing, all you got to do is stomp it.
I started this blog for a school project to showcase my very own personal brand. Our first task was to dig deep down and find our real passion. This wasn’t a very difficult task for me because my life well…. Revolves around surf, skate and snow. Other than that, I focus all of my time toward school, eat and sleep, and as you can see from this blog… the shred prevailed.
So, I made it about one week into the project before cold, hard reality struck. Somewhere between the home fries and the freshies, I forgot the first rule of snowboarding: Go big or Go home… and needless to say, I was forced to go home.
At first, this was the end of my world. Nothing could be worse than no shred for 9 months… that’s only 3 months short of a whole year! My season destroyed… Not to mention the grand I dropped on season passes all around New England. (Thanks Loon, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf for being so rad!!! As for Stowe… no comment):
I was lost. Not only could I not snowboard, but also I was going to have to endure 9 months of living life run of the mill. As much as I love school, eat and sleep, there is nothing like snowboarding that gets your blood flowing quite the same way. The way the crisp mountain air fills your lungs on your first run, or the way the trees, mountains, and sky just tell you that you are finally home.
Between the physical therapy, classes and the on setting shred withdrawal, my teacher kept telling me to write about my injury. Stubborn me kept thinking no one wants to read/cares about my injury. That’s when I picked up Paul Arden’s book, Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite.
The remainder of my posts over this next week will entail the life-altering lessons I have learned from what I originally thought was the worst decision of my life.