As I write this, I’m fresh from a day at the athletics track – definitely not for me! My daughter made it to regionals and for once, she was happy for me to come and watch her (#miracle). Her events were hurdles and 200m running. I blocked out my morning so I could go and silently praised the flexibility I have within my business. I’m also human so there were a few niggling thoughts about what I ‘should’ be doing for work, which I acknowledged but didn’t act on.
The hurdles event was first – well, when I say first, I mean after 23 heats (no exaggeration!)
It is quite something to watch kids (or anyone for that matter, like in the Olympics) doing hurdles, isn’t it? Watching with baited breath hoping they don’t fall. Gasping as they knock the top of the hurdle but stay upright. Or when they knock it clean over and also fall and the crowd lets out a unanimous ‘ohhhh’.
Some were straight back up, recovering quickly. Others had done a proper tumble and were crying or holding the body part that they’d injured or both and stayed down for several seconds.
But all of them got back up and finished the race. A couple of times, the child was running alone when all the others had already cleared the finish line. The crowd cheered them on and clapped when they finished. And I can neither confirm nor deny whether my eyes welled up at that point.
My daughter had the (? benefit) of running her heat twice due to some kind of problem with the timer. Luckily she stayed upright for both heats.
Next (well, a couple of hours later and after another 23 heats!) was her 200m event. Again, she ran hard, as they all did. Again she finished in the back of the pack. And again it was abundantly clear who the Little Ath’s kids were (if it wasn’t the track shoes it was their streamlined form!)
My girl finished and couldn’t catch her breath for a good 10mins afterwards. She later told me how her eyes had gone blurry towards the finish line and her chest was all out of air. It had all the elements of a hard core training session (but if it were me, there would probably have been an almost spew as well, if past experience is anything to go by).That’s when you know for sure that you really have nothing left in the tank, right?
When she got back to the seating area, there were the friends that asked if she came first, the friends who told her how great she did (even the one who was in the same heat as her) and the friends who kept checking if she was ok. And in the true measure of childhood generosity, she had several offers of a packet of BBQ shapes; a sour strap or some chips to help her to feel better!)
So how on earth does this apply to business?
There were 4 themes that stood out to me today:
- Kids can cheer-LEAD their friends, even when there’s nothing in it for them.
-> In business this translates to community over competition and people empowering others. There is nothing better than surrounding yourself with people who have your best interests at heart, and don’t feel envious, resentful or bitter. Janine Garner talks about these people being your Cheerleaders in her book on who you need in your network.
- Children are often more resilient than we give them credit for – especially when there’s not a helicopter parent in sight and they’re left to work out what to do themselves. When a child fell, the teachers didn’t jump in; and officials didn’t run onto the track. They all just let the child work out what they needed – to finish or to withdraw injured. They all decided to finish.
-> In business, this is similar to when we embrace determination, grit and sheer tenacity to keep going, when it seems so much easier to throw in the towel. It might feel hard, you weigh up your options, and then you decide on the best course of action. Maybe after a cry, a break or chatting it through with your coach, mentor or biz buddy. Don’t let others rush in to rescue you – work out when you need help, and also when you can rely on your instincts, intuition and what works best for you to keep going.
3. It’s worth pushing through discomfort to realise what you’re capable of, that you could never have known until you moved through various iterations of who you’re being (aka the track meet progressions).
-> In business, it’s so important to do this in a way where you feel supported; can work through your limiting beliefs; can utilise tools and techniques to help you to navigate uncertainty and embrace massive stretches; and to let go of an identity that you’ve outgrown or that was never your’s to begin with (people pleasing; perfectionism; beliefs that are keeping you stuck and playing small; getting stuck in overwhelm).
Today was a gathering of the best of the athletically-adept in the region. Bit by bit, they grew their confidence; tamed their emotions and harnessed their courage.
If they only reflect on their achievements today, they may feel like they didn’t do well enough; they failed; they came up short; they were a disappointment etc.
When we zoom out and look at the big picture, they won all the ribbons in past events to get to here. And comparing themselves to kids who do these types of races / events week in, week out is an unfair comparison.
Much like comparing your progress as a beginner business owner to someone 5 years down the track. Or even someone 20 years down the track when you’re 5 years in. Or as someone with a side hustle compared to someone full time in the biz.
Our minds delete information all the time. We decide that it’s irrelevant, and choose a different area of focus instead. I see clients deleting so much information about what they’ve achieved, where they’ve made progress and where they’ve had a go. Meanwhile the majority of the population wouldn’t even dream of it. It’s deleted as being unimportant, and what they didn’t achieve is their biggest focus. Shifting your focus to noticing what went well; what you achieved and how you’re proud of yourself is so important.
Even if later there are some learnings, that’s ok! Just don’t let blinkered vision blind you to the brilliance you have also shown.
Even more than all of this, is the impact you inadvertently have on others when you dream big. When you persevere, show up and have a go. You inspire others not by the talk you’re talking, but by walking it; living it; BEING it. Maybe that’s your clients. Perhaps your own kids or someone who follows you on socials. It might be the person you met at a networking event at the beginning of their business ‘journey’.
So wherever you are in business (and life) right now, skimming the top of a hurdle, knocking one over and skinning both knees, soaring to new heights as you fly right over the top, getting a personal best with an incredible new time (target / goal) or dusting yourself off and moving forwards because you’re playing a ‘long game’, know this:
- you are never alone
- you are doing things most wouldn’t dare to try
- you are allowed (and encouraged) to ask for help when you need it
- stay the course, because it doesn’t all happen just because you ‘succeed or fail’ in any one endeavour
- fortune favours the brave – no matter how messy brave looks some days.
And now I think it’s time for my ugg boots. My feet haven’t warmed up all day after standing in the cold on concrete for those gazillion heats!
PS – If you’re looking for a mindset coach and mentor to help you to soar over your hurdles and get back on track with mindset strategies, I’m here to help. Feel free to reach out for a 30mins complimentary, obligation-free Clarity Call to see how I can help.
If you’re looking for someone who is honest, supportive, keeps it real, and helps you to transform your mindset in a powerful and profound way,
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