Be Like Mikaela

Xperience Growthblogposts

Mikaela Shiffrin is considered the greatest slalom skier in the history of the sport. The 26 year old American Alpine skier competed in her 3rd Olympics over the past two weeks.

Entering into her 5th individual race in these Olympics, a feat very few have ever attempted, she had not won a medal. Worse, she fell and skied out in the 2 events that she is the best in the world at – the Slalom and Giant Slalom. She has never recorded two back-to-back DNF in slalom events in her career.

Mikaela’s final individual race was the Combine. In that event, skiers race in the Downhill and the Slalom and their 2 scores are combined to crown the winner. Mikaela was in 5th place after the Downhill portion of the race, putting her in gold medal position going into her best event – the slalom. Even if she raced it as a lesser version of her capabilities, she probably would have won the gold medal.

She didn’t. Once again she skied out of the slalom. Her 3rd ski out in Olympic events. In her 5 individual races she tallied 3 DNFs. 0 medals.

We should all be like Mikaela.

Why would I say that? After all, she – in her words – failed. Why would I want us all to follow in the footsteps of someone that experienced public failures on the biggest stage?

Mikaela had fears, doubts, negative images she couldn’t get out of her head and went out on the biggest stage, against the best competition, risking public scrutiny and aggressively giving it her best shot.

Reading this far and hearing her 2022 Olympic story, you might have forgotten how this post started, Mikaela Shiffrin is the best EVER women’s slalom skier. Her results in this Olympics doesn’t change that.

What allows her to be the best ever is her ability to experience fear, doubt, worry and go for the gold (literally) anyway.

After she skied out of the Slalom event earlier in the week – her 2nd DNF of the games after her first two events – she said in an interview that she was questioning everything that she thought she knew about competitive skiing over her entire career. Consider that for a second. Questioning everything you thought you knew about the sport that you’re the best in the world at during the Olympics. Can you imagine the thoughts and emotions that accompanied her train of thought?

If you think “well, that’s a crazy thought to have.” I get it. I did as well. Until I thought about it… Have you ever experienced a failure in something and thought “what am I even doing?” Yeah. Me, too. The difference, though, is most of us are not competing at the Olympics in the public eye as the darling of the sport while questioning ourselves. Consider the amount of pressure while pondering “what am I even doing?”

And, yet, what did Mikaela do? She went down the mountain anyway. Coming into her final event, she said she was having nightmares about the 5th gate of the Slalom race where she skied out earlier in the week. In the face of that fear, she put on her suit, locked in her skis, stood at the top of the mountain and went for it. All out.

And she failed. Again. We should all be like Mikaela.

You see, the result in a single race or even in a set of races don’t determine a lifetime of work. We’re all going to feel fear, experience doubts, question ourselves if we’re doing anything of importance. The question is are we going to shrink from those emotions and not go for it or give it our best shot and go all out?

When we choose to face those fears and go for it, like Mikaela, we’ll win in the long run. She’s the best ever because of her long history of facing mental and emotional obstacles and going for it. That’s why she’s the best ever. And that’s how we, mere mortals, can live to our highest potential.

Go be like Mikaela this week!