Often, the most valuable outcomes in life come from experiencing challenges and prevailing.
Even though we inherently know challenges make us stronger, why do so many people have the tendency to quit when things get tough? What if the breakthrough was right around the corner and you miss the magical part by throwing in the towel?
The magic happens when you move forward through the obstacle and have the chance to grow: to transform and experience something uncharted, fresh, and exhilarating.
How would your life change if you approached your most daunting hurdles as if they are necessary and beneficial to reach new heights, do amazing things, and become the best version of you?
Jump on a bicycle and take a ride with me!
Imagine we are riding along and the wind is blowing against you—is it an obstacle? The answer is your choice: it can be… if you think it is.
The wind does many things:
- Pushing into a headwind makes you stronger.
- A gusting wind keeps you on your toes and constantly responding consciously and instinctively.
- A tailwind is a marvelous thing—you can tootle along briskly without much effort. It is easy! Although, when you pedal hard with the wind, hitting 35+ miles per hour is fun too.
Think about times in your life when you experienced each of these three states:
- Headwind– You are working hard. Maybe wondering when you will catch a break, if it is worth it, or if you can make it around the next bend.
- Gusting wind- A state of change and unpredictable conditions.
- Tailwind– Times when life seems to be flowing easily as if something is gently propelling you forward.
Take a moment and pluck a situation from your memory bank for each type of “wind.” When did you experience the most growth? What brought about positive change?
Chances are, the headwind and/or unpredictable times triggered the most change. Consider the gifts you received from those situations. What did you learn? How did you transform? How did this benefit others?
This is easy and fun
Back to the bike. When I ride, my goal is to be completely relaxed. However, sometimes “relaxing” gets thrown out the window when I turn into a headwind or I’m trying to keep up with stronger riders. My face is furrowed in determination. My arms are rigid with tension. My knuckles are white from the death grip on the bars. Why? Well, as when things get tough in life, our reaction to stress is so strong! We dig in. We fight. We strain.
Although, this reaction is generally not helpful. After realizing I am tensed up, I relax my death grip and tell myself, “This is easy and fun.” Would you believe that it gets easier? It does! Once I relax: all of my energy is permitted to flow through my legs and power my bike. My steering improves. My breathing slows. Being relaxed is so much more efficient… and more comfortable. It isn’t always easy to shift my perspective and relax, but the more I do it, the more effortless it becomes. This was not initially natural to me. Through being coached, I learned to apply this principle more easily. Now I coach my clients on this as well. Practice it: “This is easy and fun.” Notice the shift in energy. Continue practicing.
Recovery: A very necessary ingredient
Sometimes when the wind is kicking your butt, it is time to take it easy! “Wait, what?! But you just said pushing through the tough times is what makes the magic happen!” If this is what you are thinking, you are right. Obstacles often provide a means for growth, BUT, you must take care of yourself and recharge. Be open to evaluate situations and recognize when you need recovery so that you will be revitalized to charge ahead. This decision of whether to recharge or put your nose to the grindstone is very personal. Each situation is different. Through experience, you learn when to rest. Practice makes the decision easier.
For example, while on a recent ride, my legs felt like sandbags and I was struggling to keep up with my riding partner. I knew this feeling and it wasn’t “normal.” My legs were heavy because I was fatigued. Decision time: I could push through and keep going, but my body was asking for a rest. If I continued to try to ride at that level of effort, my future rides would suffer. So, I sent my partner on his merry way and turned around to peddle easily downwind. While happily appreciating my surroundings, I gave my legs a much needed rest. Years of riding and evaluating allowed me to make the decision. It’s not an exact science—you must practice noticing, feeling, deciding, and evaluating the results. Rest and recovery are keys to longevity.
And then there is drafting
Are you ready for a fun ride? Drafting is when a cyclist rides closely to the rider in front of him/her to make use of their slipstream, greatly reducing wind resistance and effort required. The rider in front notices no ill effects and, in fact, can experience a slight advantage. This makes it possible to go much faster and farther together as a unit. Drafting works with as little as two people, but it can work even better when a skilled group is working as a unit—imagine a flock of birds in a V-form. They instinctively make use of the same principle.
When is the last time you drafted in life? When have you worked with someone to get somewhere much faster and easier than you ever imagined? There are many different routes to creating a synergistic situation that will propel you and others forward. A coaching partnership is a great example: The relationship between a trained coach and a client creates synergy. The client soon generates even more synergy in their own relationships, creating a ripple effect. To experience the drafting power of coaching for yourself, apply for a complimentary strategy session.
We all know: There will be headwinds. There will be gusty erratic winds. There will be awesome tailwinds. It is up to you to take advantage of each:
- Use the wind to become stronger, smarter, and improve your instincts.
- Learn to release tension and relax to increase productivity.
- Recognize when it’s time to rest and recover so that you can be stronger than ever.
- Create a drafting situation- team up with the right people to boost efficiency.
…until the next revolution
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