Shannon Mahre (center) poses with ski instructors Sarah Longino-DeKalb (left) and Callie McGrath.

Something nobody really tells you when you become a mom — or parent in general — is that running a family is very similar to running a business.

Being a leader of individuals, whether they be your employees, your clients, or your children, is still being a leader — which means, no matter what scenario you are in, you will encounter struggles, you will encounter conflict, fear will inevitably show its face, and maybe most importantly, the way that you view these set backs and speed-bumps will result in your own personal growth… or your stagnation.

Bottom line? You can’t set goals for yourself, for others or for your company without knowing and accepting failure will be part of the journey.

In my constant pursuit of knowledge and personal growth, I always come back to the words and storytelling of Brene Brown. In fact, I still remember quite vividly the exact moment I heard the following quotes of hers while I was listening to her book, ‘Dare to Lead’, on audio as I drove home from teaching one of my women’s ski clinics at Snoqualmie Pass.

After adding some of my personal anecdotes and discoveries below each quote, my hope is that they may impact you just as much if not more than they impacted me. Enjoy, friends.

“Self-awareness and self-love matter. Who we are is how we lead.”

No matter what type of leader you are, you should always be ever-evolving, ever-growing with your experiences, the good ones and especially the extremely hard ones. How you handle failure and how you react when difficult situations arise show a lot about us as individuals and as leaders — and they play a large role in shaping who we are.

Great leaders are not born, they are created… and they are committed to growth as much if not more than every other person in the room.

“Daring leaders must care for and be connected to the people they lead.”

The most life-changing and inspirational leaders, coaches and mentors that I have ever had and continue to look up to care immensely for the people they lead. Not only do they care for them, but they create a space that is safe for ALL questions — and they promote vulnerability as a strength, instead of weakness.

We all have the ability to create a space such as this — for our children, for our clients, for employees, for friends — and we all should. Because you never know when this seemingly small act could make a huge, even life changing impact on the life of another.

“Courage is contagious.“

Fear, failure and self-doubt are all a huge part of what I help women with when I am coaching — no matter the sport, no matter the season. And in every scenario where someone is scared — of falling, of failing — and they are doubting their ability, I am there, to do my best to not only give them the skills they need to succeed, but the confidence to do so successfully not just one time, but many times after.

In my experience, being scared and having courage usually go hand in hand. Every time I have been scared — as a parent, as a an athlete, in business — it has always taken courage to get past what I am scared of.

But as I tell the women I coach, the base emotion of being scared and being excited are the same. The difference is when we tell ourselves we are scared, our body physically either: completely freezes up or we black out and cannot remember what we are supposed to do because we are thinking about everything that could go wrong.

But when we tell ourselves that we are excited instead of scared, our mind can clear, and our body can better focus on what we need to do to get through the situation that we are in. You can bet that when we are on the top of a double black ski run, I’ve got a lot of my clinic ladies saying, “I’m SO excited, Shannon!”

This always makes me smile because not only are they are letting me know they are scared (and need my support), but with my support, they are committing to do the “hard” thing that on another day, they may have let stand in their way. That to me, is the definition of courage.

Being a parent takes courage. Being a leader takes courage. Following your own goals takes courage. Living a life that you are proud of takes courage.

Will there be moments, days, even seasons when living courageously brings failure or speed-bumps the size of mountains? Yes, absolutely. But no matter what path you choose in life, you will fail at some point.

So why not fail following the path you truly want, following the goals that bring light into your life? Because eventually, all of your failures, all of your growth and hard work will lead to your success — and it will be all worth it.

Choose courage. Every. Dang. Time.

Shannon Mahre writes a monthly column for the Yakima Herald-Republic. She contributes to Yakima Magazine and owns an outdoors company, Girls with Grit, that allows her to share her passions for skiing, running, mountain biking, standup paddleboarding and much more.

I’m Luke Thompson, a reporter in my seventh year at the YH-R following stints at seven publications in the preceding seven years. My primary focus is covering the many great prep sports stories in the Yakima Valley, as well as the sports at Yakima Valley College and Central Washington University.Ialso cover Pippins baseball and Outdoors features. After spending my childhood in Kansas followed by college at the University of Missouri and jobs at various papers in the South/Midwest, I’ve tried to make up for all those years without mountains by spending a lot of time in the Cascades skiing, hiking, camping, or just exploring on my own or with my wife and our dog. 

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