In life, there always seems to be another challenge or obstacle or goal to achieve. Sometimes they just happen and sometimes we create them either intentionally or unintentionally. No matter how big or small the challenge might be, it always seems to cause a lot of noise in our minds until we address it. This weekend my wife ran the Gate River Run here in Jacksonville - a 9.3 mile race that ends with having to run up a massive quarter mile bridge. It requires a lot of training to run a race of that length and it creates a lot of additional stress for runners knowing the massive green bridge is waiting for them at the end. In addition to that, on race day, it was cold and very windy which made conditions running on the bridge even more brutal.
I recently read a story that in the animal kingdom when the male lion gets old their teeth start to rot, and they aren't able to kill animals as easily. In order to get food, they recruit female lions and stronger young males to help them. When the lions get ready to hunt, the effective killers go hide on one side of a herd while the big, old lion goes to the other side. Once he's in position, he lets out a massive roar that sends the herd running in the opposite direction...just where the stronger lions are waiting.
Sometimes the obstacle in front of us is like a 'roaring lion.' Sometimes the problem in front of us just has bad teeth and a big roar. The problem is only deceiving us to make us think it is insurmountable. And, in fact, we would actually be better off running toward the roar - the very thing that frightens us - rather than running away from it. We have to be smarter than the herd!
Sometimes in life when something causes us fear we just try and ignore it, compartmentalize it, or do the opposite to try and help us cope. As painful as it may seem, sometimes the best solution is to address it head on, face the fear and push through because success is just on the other side of failure. Kind of like the buffalo that run towards the storm (versus away from a storm like cattle do) knowing that going towards the storm they will get through it quicker.
My wife was a champion this weekend as she ran towards her roar - the big green bridge - and created a feeling of accomplishment and pride by setting a goal and achieving it. As she was running up the bridge at the end of the race and her mind wanted to tell her how tired she was, she looked over and saw 3 young men that were pushing an elderly person in a wheelchair. It gave her the extra motivation to keep going and she even took a picture of them at the top of the bridge (see below). Isn't it amazing how life works that way sometimes? When you are going through your toughest moments life seems to always throw you a nugget to keep you going. We just have to be aware in the moment to recognize it and use it to help us persevere.
I encourage you to think about this story when you ask yourself the following questions:
What is it that is scaring you right now? Are you running from it? Why?
In closing, in the spirit of the animal analogies this week, I just read about the shark which grows to 8 inches inside of a fish tank but grows to 8 feet or more in the ocean. The shark will never outgrow it's environment and the same is true for us. Change your environment and change your growth!
Pictured below: my wife took this selfie when we saw her run by us between mile 4 and 5. Also, the picture of the young men pushing the wheelchair