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The Unexpected Benefits of Being Forced to Slow Down

After a skiing wipeout put me on the sidelines, I had to change the way I approached my work.
| |Elizabeth Lavin
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It happened in an instant, but everything played out in slow motion. I was making my way down a steep run in early March when a skier in front of me unexpectedly turned and entered my path. It was my boyfriend, looking up the mountain to check on me. “I can’t stop,” I told him, in the moment before impact. 

It was surreally slow; that’s what I remember. I don’t remember the collision, my skis flying off, or careening down the slope. The next memory I have is lying on the ground, trying to shade my eyes from the bright sun.

Answers I gave to questions compelled our ski guide to radio for help. (I was confused and had temporary amnesia.) Ski patrols put me on a toboggan and took me to an onsite ER at Breckenridge, where I was diagnosed with a concussion.  

I called my twin sister the next day to get her advice; she had experienced a similar injury about a year prior after slipping on some ice. “You won’t realize this now,” she said, “but it’s a gift.”

I was banged up physically and felt overwhelmed with work that needed to be done and the pressure of others depending on me. But a few weeks into my recovery, I began to understand what she meant.

Forced to break up my work into smaller, manageable pieces, I brought a better focus and awareness to each task. Faced with limitations, I had to reevaluate the expectations I placed on myself. And having to rely on others taught me to let myself be cared for and made me even more grateful for those around me.

It hasn’t been easy. I had to be reminded to slow down as symptoms randomly recurred. I became frustrated when words didn’t come as easily as they once did. “Give it time,” my sister warned. “It’s like you’re trying to walk on a broken foot.” 

Through it all, I found that by eliminating a lot of the noise, I could more easily hear myself. And not being able to do all I want helped me see what I miss most—and what is truly important. 

Sometimes, losing your balance can help you find it.  

Author

Christine Perez

Christine Perez

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Christine is the editor of D CEO magazine and its online platforms. She’s a national award-winning business journalist who has…
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