I've recently taken on more responsibility that has changed the dynamics of my life quite considerably and I'm very excited about the opportunity. This has meant I haven't had the time to focus on some of the things that are important to me because "there are only so many hours in the day" and "I just don't have time for everything"... and other excuses. Sound familiar at all? So I've decided to do something about it and make a few changes so I can continue to live life at high speed and enjoy it along the way. One of the changes I made was buying a new motorbike (a Honda Hornet 900cc for those of you who know bikes) which is saving me an hour to an hour and a half commute time every day - that's huge!
It's been about ten years since I'd last driven a motorbike and I noticed I was getting a little nervous and over cautious going into sharp corners. I wasn't enjoying this feeling so I started to experiment and do things differently. Here's what I learned...
I discovered that if I focus on the ground directly in front of me I felt a sense of apprehension and I pressed on the breaks. But if I looked more ahead of me and trusted my peripheral vision I could take the corners faster, safer and feel much more comfortable during the whole experience. And it dawned on me that this is exactly the same for living life.
Often times we set a direction for our lives and run into a few uncomfortable bends in the road, dislike the "feedback" we're getting, and convince ourselves it's all too hard. After a few of these unsettling experiences we give up and settle for the "road more travelled"... it's safer after all. This feedback we're getting is our comfort zone doing what it does best, squeezing a little tighter to keep us safe. Now taking corners irresponsibly on a motorbike can lead to physical injury or even death so that uncomfortable feeling of fear is well justified but what about the feeling we get when we're about the take on something new in our lives that won't lead to physical injury. What's stopping us from moving forward? You probably already know the answer, it's the same feeling... fear. It's not fear of physical harm but fear of emotional harm - strange how the body responds in the same way, huh? So what's the solution?
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. ~ Helen Keller
The solution is exactly the same as taking on corners on a motorbike - focus on the furthest point in the distance and not on the obstacle directly in front of you. If we focus our attention on the obstacles or what can go wrong we tend to make it bigger than it actually is. We can become demotivated and take the easy way out or not even take those imperative first steps. However, if we maintain our focus on where we want to go knowing that there will be curves on our road to success, we are more likely to get where we want to go. Life is going to be full of sharp corners, potholes, roadworks and diversions because if it was easy everyone would be doing it and your 'it' wouldn't be as satisfying when you eventually get there. Besides, no one becomes a skilled driver by driving on straight perfectly sealed roads. Accept the challenges, welcome them even but don't become overwhelmed by them. Maybe slow down a little, see the obstacles in your way as they really are - not bigger than they are, or small as they are but as they really are. See how you want things to be (keep your eyes on where you want to go) and do whatever it takes to make it the way you want it to be... do whatever it takes to get to where you want to go.
Of course the natural reaction is to focus on the thing directly in front of us, of course it is. This is where it's vital to trust your peripheral vision as you go into those corners... you have to trust your inner resources, your skills, that have enabled you to get to this point in your life thus far. You have to trust.
"But coach", I hear you say, "what if I know where I want to get to but don't know how to get there, it's like I'm driving through a fog?" I might respond by saying it's not necessary to see the whole journey perfectly laid out in front of you. Even if your visibility is restricted to only 100m, keep going because as you cover that 100m visibility of the next 100m will open to you.
All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you ~ Walt Disney
Knowing what you know now: Ask yourself, what's your vision for your life? What could it be? What perceived obstacles lie in your path?
Knowing what you know now: How can going through what you're currently facing make you stronger in the future? What does your next 100m look like?