Skiing above treeline and strategic leadership lessons

skiing above treeline

When 5” of powder blessed Breckenridge, CO, yesterday, I took this stunning video and wrote these thoughts. Here are three short perspectives on skiing above treeline, and strategic leadership.


  1. Flow is designed. Flow can be defined as that timeless psychological state when challenge and skill are in balance. Most people cannot imagine skiing double-black diamond runs down 1,500’. Most people should never try extreme skiing. Skiing above treeline, like any hobby, is an opportunity to experience ekstasis, that state of being literally outside of time and space.   Flow occurs when we take one turn at a time. We live in the moment. We proceed to a new place. Yes, you can design flow into your life. There are seven contributing variables for designing flow. Contact me for details or read this book or this book.


     2. Leaders are creators. Leaders build products or services. Doubt me? Then read any biography. Only those extraordinary leaders with an obsessive focus make the history books. Average leaders do not warrant attention in the history books or the biographies. How about you? By definition, leaders create value for their followers. And all significant leaders create great teams. If you were to say “yes” to that idea, or create something new, or delight a client, today, then you would see for yourself. One example of a significant leadership event in Nashville, TN is here.


     3.  Technology follows goals. Many years ago I climbed this mountain using backcountry ski mountaineering gear. It took all day. My goal was to experience grandeur. The adventure was exhausting but wonderful. Two years ago new lift lines made it possible to ascend to the same elevation without sweating. The technology followed my goals. Ironically, those ski trails are now called “Wonderland”, “Bliss” and “Euphoria.”   Get the point? There is plenty of grandeur to be found when we ski above treeline.


March is a great season for strategic thinking.


March is the season of heavy snowfalls, springtime flowers, new birth, opportunity, and clear intentions.


You may never ski above treeline. But you can certainly make smarter decisions about your professional and personal goals.


Some coaching questions include: (1) How can you design flow in your life or business? (2) What can you create today? (3) What goals will inspire grandeur?


Then let me know your answers. May you excel!


Doug Gray, PCC, CEO/Founder of Action learning Associates, Inc, today at 615.905.1892

Primal Quest 2006, Utah, Team, podium finish

For 10+ years I led wilderness expeditions and teaching groups and providing individual leadership coaching for Outward Bound Schools in 3 countries. Each expedition was a microcosm of values and behavior. The photo above represents an extension of those skills.


In 2006, I raced on a 10-day expeditionary adventure race, called Primal Quest. Our team of four traveled continuously together, over 600 miles, mountain biking, trail running, climbing, rappelling, canyoneering, kayaking, and river swimming through the wilderness near Moab, Utah. We finished and were featured on CBS Sports. Hence, the image reminds me of a good team experience.


Our primary team goal was to cross the finish line, and our secondary goal was to remain good friends. We accomplished each goal.


Now let me pose a leadership coaching question:  How do you measure excellence for your team?


     Team included Doug Gray (captain), Bill Jordan (hoss), Jennifer Rinderle (sparkplug) and Steve Deis (lead navigator).


In 2004 we finished Primal Quest Washington.


In 2008 we finished Primal Quest Montana.  Then we rested.  Because we were tired.


What are you waiting for?

We all need coaching at times.  Call Doug Gray, PCC, at 615.905.1892 today.

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