Mounting the Dragon

(LtoR) Bronze medallists Uzbekistan's  Soslan Tigiev and Russia's Denis Tsargush pose on the podium of the Men's 74kg Freesty
(LtoR) Bronze medallists Uzbekistan's Soslan Tigiev and Russia's Denis Tsargush pose on the podium of the Men's 74kg Freestyle on August 10, 2012 during the wrestling event of the London 2012 Olympic Games. AFP PHOTO / MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/GettyImages)

In summer training for a Freestyle Aerial skier, it's tough to simulate the experience of skiing off a snow jump. The closest thing we can find is a hard-bristled plastic surface, like a big upside-down scrub brush, that we call "the meanies" -- for obvious reasons if you fall. Aerial skiers are all apprehensive every time we make our way down the unstable plastic material launching us into the summer training pool.

I was training for a summer water-ramping competition one day, about to perform a difficult maneuver, when I caught the edge of my ski on the meanies, sending me off the side of the jump. Because I was knocked off-kilter, I didn't perform the maneuver I was intending. My coach, who was supposed to make the call on what I should do, was thrown off by my change in flight plans. I was disoriented in the air, so remained in a tucked position until I heard him yell for me to come out for my landing. His call came a second too late and I completely missed my feet, plummeting to the water on my back from fifty feet in the air.

Many people think that a water landing is much more forgiving than snow. I can tell you otherwise. I felt as if I'd been dropped on a slab of concrete. The wind was knocked out of me, I gasped for air, and proceeded to cough up blood... for two days. Unfortunately for me, the contest was also in two days, so I had no time to nurse my wounds. And there was no time to soothe my nerves. I was sore and achy and scared.

It turned out that the impending competition was all I needed to get "back on that horse." I had no time to complain; I had to get back up there right away. I can't imagine how hard it would have been without the urgency of a competition. We often need a pressing issue to encourage us not to throw in the towel. Whatever your setback, don't wait to leap that hurdle again. Remember that time is not your friend in this instance. You are going to have to tackle it again anyway, so why not step up now instead of letting it loom over your head and cause you to draw in more anxiety or suffering.

I know it's never easy mounting that "horse" again. My thoughts and concerns go out to all the victims of Hurricane Sandy -- those who are truly faced with the challenges of a comeback. It's more like a dragon that you need to remount. We are all here for support and to help give you an extra leg up.

Motivational Tips and Tools
As an Olympian, best-seller, inspirational speaker, and Biggest Loser motivational expert, I'm often asked for tips, tools, quotes and activities to help people reach their goals. I like to end all of my blogs with short tools that are driven from actual advice I've shared.

This week's tip:

"You take the struggle out of life, you take the growth out of the people." ~Warren Osborn
Remember that this whole process is helping you grow mentally and emotionally as a person. The challenges will help make you stronger and you'll find that it's not just the physical aspects you are enhancing.