Why it’s Okay to Dream Big– and Fail

“Dream Big”. Sounds pretty easy, right? It’s something that coaches, family members, teammates, teachers, and friends have told me all my life. It’s something that I repeat often to younger skiers, to my teammates, and to myself. In theory, it’s really not that hard. You pick a dream goal, plan what steps you need to take to get there, and follow your plan.

The things is, having a big dream– and really, truly, believing in it– is a lot harder than it sounds. Joking around about dream goals is easy enough but to actually put in the years of hard work towards your goal and truly believe that it is possible is a whole other thing. Truly believing in and working towards your dream means that although you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success, there is also the potential for failure and disappointment. You have to admit to yourself that you really, really want something, and you have to accept the risk that it might not happen.

Sometimes, you can do everything in your power to achieve your dream goal and still fall short. Things don’t always go according to plan (really, though, life would be pretty boring if they did). In skiing, you might get injured or sick; you might crash in a race and break a pole.

Despite this risk, I’m a firm believer of dreaming big. Failure and disappointment can be tough pills to swallow, but in my experience they are so much easier to deal with than the regret of not really trying. The rewards of dreaming big and the fun of pursuing your dream makes either outcome worthwhile!

I experienced a big dose of disappointment at U23 World Championships last week. I had entered the event with the goal of a top-12 result, and finished in 32nd place. After having invested months of training, time, and mental energy into that race, failing to reach my goal was rough. Despite that, I am so glad that I chose to pursue my goal in the first place. Knowing that I put everything I had into that race has made it so much easier to pick myself up and move forward!

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Starting the classic sprint at U23s, proudly wearing red and white. (Apologies for the bad photo quality).

Following U23 World Champs, I headed to Eastern Canadian Championships for a weekend of racing at Nakkertok. I love the trails at Nakkertok because they are similar to the trails I grew up on in Athabasca; narrow, windy, with lots of twisty downhills and fun steep climbs. After some high-pressure racing at U23s, it was great to have a more relaxing race weekend. I was really happy to come away from the weekend with a gold in the classic sprint, a silver in the 15km skate pursuit, and a bronze in the 10km classic. While I was there, I was also able to go skating on the Rideau canal (for the first time!), visit the National Art Gallery, and go skiing twice in the Gatineau Park!

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Sprint Podium at Easterns
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Solo ski in the Gatineau Park!

I’m back at home in Athabasca right now, enjoying a rest week and having fun hanging out with my family. In order to make sure my foot injury from earlier this year fully resolves before next spring, I’ve opted to spend the rest of the season in North America where I can work with our medical team and get lots of treatment. Potential upcoming races include a Super Tour weekend in USA, some fun loppets, and hopefully World Cup Finals in Quebec City!

More photos from the past few week below:

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Classic sprint at Easterns (photo: Rob Smith)
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Patrick and I stoked to hang out with our awesome sponsor and friend Jamie Coatsworth!
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All smiles after snagging a silver medal in the 15km Pursuit. (Photo: Cross Country Canada)

 


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