Preparing for the Redbud Classic bike event this past weekend, I drove the course to see where the tough spots would be.
Coming east on N.W. 63 past the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, I started to cringe as I encountered hill after hill the final miles to the finish line.
As I drove, I remembered how hard these hills had seemed in previous years and I began to feel worried. Being the first bike event of the year for me, I started to wonder if I could even do it. Maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea to drive the course after all.
The night before the ride, I lay awake thinking about how big those hills were. Plus, they were at the end of the ride, after I would already be tired and my legs fatigued. By morning I had worried so much I wondered if I should even ride at all. I began to doubt myself and all I could think about were those awful hills.
After a great start and smooth ride, I came to those final miles of the course. Would I be able to do it? It was time to stop thinking about them and just pedal. I took them one at a time, trying to not think ahead to the next one. They were challenging, but easier than I thought they would be. I cruised to the finish line feeling great.
What did I learn? The hills taught me a valuable life lesson. When I focus solely on the obstacles in life, they turn into huge giants that seem impossible to overcome. I begin to question my ability to navigate the challenges in my life and become consumed with fear and doubt. If I’m not careful, I can let fear talk me out of even trying to overcome difficult things.
The next time you face a significant challenge, be it in parenting, work or some other area of your life, try to focus on your strengths and your history of successfully dealing with difficulty in the past. Chances are, you are perfectly equipped to deal with the stress of the moment, because you have an excellent track record already!
Don’t let yourself be consumed by the fear that comes from making obstacles out to be bigger than they already are. Assess the situation, make a plan, and then go for it. You will likely be amazed at your strength and resiliency once you quit worrying and just do it.