Monday, 15 January 2018

Our Thoughts Hold us Back

Many of the lessons I have learned have come via my life long involvement in sport and physical activities.

Any Leadership or Management skills I may have acquired have been developed by being a part of sporting teams as a player and a coach.

On reflection, the desired outcomes of business and sporting teams are the same; each wants to develop team members to perform to the best of their abilities within the level of desire, commitment and determination they possess within themselves.

Our actions and reactions are dictated by two things, our thoughts and our feelings. On a strictly individual basis, one may override the other to different degrees. At the extreme ends of the scale, one person may always follow their feelings whereas another may ignore feelings defaulting always to the cerebral.

Most of us fall somewhere in between, and where we sit in the scale may vary depending on if we are at work, with family or relaxing.

I have written several times about the transformation I made when running and specifically when training each of my marathons.

When training, I now run a distance and a speed that honours how I am feeling whereas as previously I adhered strictly to a training program and as a consequence was constantly suffering injuries.

I have further followed my feelings in transforming my work life. Logically, staying in the Corporate world in a well paid moderately senior role made sense. However, doing so would have meant overriding some fundamental concerns I was feeling.  

As successful as these examples of being more “feeling centric” have been, I have struggled to expand this in to other areas of life.

However, yesterday I took a step forward.

I wrote yesterday referencing a 107 kilometre cycling event I participated in.
I first participated in this event in 2016 and did so with a fitness base that involved very little cycling. The event involves a lot of climbing with most of the first 18 kilometres being uphill. I struggled and suffered throughout the ride.

I returned much better prepared in 2017 and completed the course in a time that was more than an hour less, and really enjoyed the event.

As 2018 is to be the 10th and final edition of the event, I decided to do it once again and this time, I had no expectations. In 2017, it was a major cycling objective and I was fitter (and lighter) than yesterday.

My start line objective was to simply ride as well as I felt happy and comfortable doing so. If this meant it took 7 hours or 5 hours, I just wanted to enjoy it.

To put it another way, I was determined that each pedal rotation would be the best it could possibly be depending on how I felt. I was not saving myself for the next hill, the next push in to a head wind and when that came, I would simply do the best I felt capable of doing and if that was 10 kph or 30 kph, so be it.

During the ride, I adopted the saying “Respect the visual and honour the feeling”.

I completed the event in windy and at times cold conditions in less than 4 hours 30 minutes, quicker than in 2017. I also felt fresh and happy at the end, hardly fatigued at all.

This experience was a reminder that by way of our thoughts, we apply our own limits to what we can and do achieve and in doing so restrict our  capabilities and ultimately our happiness by the fears we allow ourselves to think.

We all have our own definition of what achievement is. To some it is measured by Corporate status, some by money and others by family, sport, education, travel or matters spiritual.

It is the fears we perceive and the limitations we apply by way of our thoughts that hold us back.

Think about it or better still, how do you feel about that?

No comments: