The past couple of blogs have been about how to turn complaints into changes for improved health and wellness.
Step 1: You realize there is work to do.
Step 2: You start to embrace the opportunities to grow through your stress.
Now, what are you going to do with all of that spiritual consciousness?
You are going to apply it to step 3: See a vision and take some action!
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”
– Joel A. Barker
Without bumbling through some growing pains, it can be impossible to clearly see what you want. There is nothing like a little (or a lot) of stress to help you connect to purpose. Putting together some action steps based on your vision for the future can make big desires for change feel manageable. Here’s a little story of how these three steps showed up for me exactly a year ago.
I was complaining that my body wasn’t feeling great. I was also complaining about not feeling focused. I had some time on my hands and wasn’t using it well. I wasn’t feeling especially rewarded for my efforts, across the board, in life.
That was the clue that I needed to see what I was hiding from.
Step 1: Stop hiding.
I wasn’t exercising regularly. I wasn’t allowing myself to see all the cool things I was doing with my life. I needed a new commitment, something systematic that could boost my self esteem. I needed to reach out for support. I was ready to try something new.
Step 2: See stress as spiritual consciousness.
I know that taking on something new, making a new commitment, brings a mix of excitement and resistance. There are two forces at once – let’s do this thing and let’s do that instead. Whatever I was going to do needed to be big enough to push my edges and allow in some discomfort. I knew that in working with the pain, I would transform. I was ready.
Step 3: See a vision and take some action.
My vision: Run a half marathon. Put in the time to build endurance. See what the sport of running is all about. See myself in a new way- as a runner.
The first action step I took was to find a race in order to pin down a time line. The next huge step was to hire a running coach. She and I mapped out the day to day action steps. Then it was time to do the work and evolve through the plan. I had just shy of 4 months to go from running 0 miles to running 13.1.
The types of stress I experienced in training were diverse. There was straight up not wanting to do it. There were competing priorities (ummm work?). There were some athletic challenges associated with how to fuel my body and allow for recovery between runs. There was the matter of boredom during the run and anticipation of the runs as difficult, time consuming, and physically taxing.
All of these stressors presented opportunities for growth. I deliberately focused on the rewards of the running, rather than the resistance. For example, the feeling of accomplishment becasue the workout of the day was complete. I experimented with strategies until I found one that worked. For me the winning combination was to run late in the morning, with a camelback, with plenty of time to cool down, eat, and recoup afterwards. I found a sense of belonging and camaraderie with others who were training for the run. This replaced the generalized sense of isolation that comes with being an entrepreneur. I had a greater purpose with the exercise. I was doing it for a specific and measurable outcome. My confidence as a runner was improving.
The day of the race I was super excited. All of the work had been done. All I had to do that day was show up and run. I learned that running is a practice in mindfulness. The mind and body are working together. There are messages to stop (so tired) and messages to keep going (you can do this). There are waves of emotion. My eyes filling with tears from excitement and joy. Anger at the limitations of my body (my hip flexors will never be the same). Relief and pride at finishing what I started. All of this, and you just keep going. Just like in life, highs and lows, acceptance and trust. Letting go. Doing the work.
Running this race was one of the best things I have done for myself.
It showed me that committing to weekly actions steps can lead to something so much larger than I ever thought possible.
The annual marathon is happening again this weekend. I decided this year not to train (to put the same committed focus into my business). The experience was transformational.
Run completed just before a massive downpour! Time for brunch!