If you’re just joining and would like to catch up on what I (and what you) might learn from my epic, 600 mile, bike-riding journey, follow this link https://bit.ly/2IESdHR to start at the beginning.
Our ride ended on a Saturday, 13 days, 600 hundred miles and back at our starting point.
That last day was just a short ride. One that I took by myself. My companions wanted to enjoy the final leg in a leisurely manner and I wanted to get it done and get back on the road for an 8 hour drive back to life.
As I drove, I had the opportunity to reflect on what I’d learned while planted in a bike saddle for 600 miles. About having courage to push past and through my own limiting inner dialogue, about the importance of accountability, self-leadership, and self-regulation. And about the precious gift that comes from creating time and space for genuine self reflection.
At various points during this epic adventure, I might have tumbled down a rabbit hole of frustration, disappointment and self-pity. Nowhere had these thoughts been more prominent than while pedaling the final 15 miles, into a slaughtering headwind. I reflected on the many times I truly wanted to quit, only to wake up the next day asking myself why not try one more day?. I spent the 8 hour ride consciously and deliberately reflecting on what I was learning or supposed to learn from these each of these events.
Here’s the thing too, we don’t need epic adventures to engage in this reflection process. Whether it’s a conversation that didn’t end well, a misplaced moment of anger or a failed project at work, taking the time to evaluate experiences makes us better people and better leaders of both ourselves and those around us.
There’s good reason to to get into the habit of this self reflection too. Why? We fail!
We fall off bikes, out of trees and down stairs. We date unhealthy people, get caught up in drama and unintentionally hurt friends. We misfire on hires, make poor leadership choices, have moments where we don’t show self-discipline, and we occasionally allow our irritation and emotions to spiral out of control.
Failure is part of the deal in success because if you do something enough, you’ll fail.
Sucessful leaders haven’t learned how to not fail or to keep bad things from happening. Quite the contrary. Successful, and effective leaders, have figured out how to accept, embrace, manage, and work with failure and disappointment. This is the essence of resiliency! Resiliency is how quickly we can turn something that didn’t go the way we planned into something useful and meaningful.
By acceping failure as something to be expected and embraced, we can minimize the disruption caused by the fear and judgement of failure if (when) it happens. Notice that I’m not suggesting that we can fully eliminate or avoid our fear or self judgement of failure. Fear and self-judgement are visceral reactions that are not likely to be eradicated from your lifes’ journey. No more than they were for me on that 600 mile bike ride.
The key is in our ability to manage our reaction to failure and disappointment. To turn a quit or give up mentality into curiosity or what if thought. Too often, people are so averse to the idea of failure that the mere idea of sitting with it for a bit and reflecting can be overwhelming. However, authentically being curious about our fears and setting aside judgement are liberating. And with that liberation comes the ability to push ourselves a little harder, try things outside of our comfort zone, and create a life full of epic adventure.
Mastering resiliency is key to continued success!
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