Over the top of my handlebars, it looked like the steepest downhill I’d ever seen.
I went for an early bike ride a few years ago while on vacation in Vermont. Not too long after I started riding those unfamiliar roads, I came upon a very big hill. Maybe even a small mountain. I love the thrill of going fast on a bike with the cool morning air rushing at me. So I went for it and it was a big rush.
But after it was all over and I had slowed down, I realized quickly that my fun was about to be replaced by drudgery—the very long, unpleasant ride back up the road.
Have you ever faced a task so difficult that you didn’t want to try?
It is natural to feel overwhelmed, to doubt our abilities, or even be paralyzed by the thought of starting.
When I got to the bottom of that hill, I said aloud, “There’s no way I can make it to the top!”
Discouraged, I started the ascent. I could see telephone poles on the side of the road as far as I could see. I decided that I could ride to the 10th pole before downshifting to the lowest gear. When I got to the 10th pole, I thought I could make it a few more without stopping so I set a new goal of making it to the 15th pole before shifting. My legs were burning at the 15th telephone pole, but I decided I could ride to a few more poles. At the 18th pole, I felt I could make it to the 19th and so it went. By simply cutting the insurmountable task of biking up that mountainside into bite-sized pieces, I climbed the entire distance to the top.
A few weeks later, I was back in my office working on my business taxes. I had reports and receipts spread all over my desk and floor beside me. I felt overwhelmed and said out loud, “There’s no way I can do this!” As I walked away, that bike ride came to mind. That bike ride was hard – very hard. I reasoned that if I could make it up that hill, I certainly could finish this clerical work.
“I can prepare one more month before I take a break,” I said. And then I did another month. Soon I had finished a quarter and then a half.
The lesson is this: Discipline in one area of your life produces strength that you can use in every area of your life.
It is easier for me to push myself to do physical activity than to push myself in the office. Maybe you are the opposite. But the point is to find a place where you can push yourself to be better and then you’ll find those seemingly impossible tasks to be within reach.
Go ahead – stretch yourself!
Note: A recent Harvard Business Review article titled “To Improve Your Work Performance, Get Some Exercise” makes a strong case for exercise and productivity.
#Pausitivity #LeadershipDevelopment #PushMyself #OvercomeDiscouragement