Given the choice between rough and easy, I’ll nearly always choose easy. That’s one reason you’ll not find me at obstacle courses on the weekends. I prefer smooth, level, and predictable, driven by a routine I’ve been using for quite a while. Are you like that?
The problem is, LIFE isn’t like that. I recently wrote for a client’s 2020 Annual Report, “The year started out OK, but trouble never asks ‘Is this a good time?'” We constantly deal with inconveniences, detours, setbacks, delays, (shall I keep going?)
2017 wasn’t 2021 (you may want to write that down) 🙂 but it had challenges. Many. About this time in 2017 I was beside myself, wondering “How in the WORLD am I going to get where I believe I’m supposed to take my life and my business?!” The challenges were many and the list kept growing. Frustration became bewilderment, became the beginnings of resentment. Not at anyone or anything, specifically, but at the hand life was dealing me. A poor hand in UNO is one thing, but life, business, livelihood – that’s different.
Then early one morning, gazing toward the East, waiting for the sun to wake up, a quiet thought arrived. “What if they’re not obstacles, Phil, what if they’re hurdles?” I thought about it more that day, and for several days following. I remembered some Spring days as a high-schooler, student managing for the track team, helping coach work with our star hurdler who we hoped would win state that year.
I found a fitting picture, added my new proverb to it, printed and posted it where I could see it often.
Whether I’m approaching one, glad I cleared this one, or looking down the track at the next, I’m to consider whatever-this-is as part OF the race, not some unwelcomed imposition or detestable obstacle. That just ruins today’s focus. Makes one cranky. Thinking that way will only keep me off the winners’ podium; no medal at the end of today’s race, that’s for certain.
Charging each hurdle brings a different outcome. Reaching for my personal best feels better; I might even hear friends in the stands cheering me on. When I can actually SMILE at the journey ahead, bring gratitude, optimism, skill, and strategy to the race … It might even make a competitor nervous!
I keep coming back to this saying as the year hints that it might be better than last – though not without its er-umm hurdles.
They’re not obstacles.
They’re hurdles. They’re part of the race.
Run to win.