I’m going to start out sounding a bit full of myself here, but don’t worry, I will then lay my flaws bare for you to point and laugh at – throwing stones, optional – so all will even out, and there is even an Hallelujah Chorus thrown in just for fun.
I’m good at a lot of stuff. I have enormous aptitude for learning new things and being very, very good at them. Examples of this include running fast, playing netball, playing the piano, speaking French, speaking Spanish, speaking Japanese, speaking German, sewing, cooking Indian food, playing elastics, and drinking a pint of beer faster than very large men.
But here’s the thing. I’ve never been particularly resilient. So I tried all of those things but gave them all up when everyone else worked hard and caught up to me (in the case of the beer drinking, it was probably for the best). I pretended – even to myself – to lose interest but the reality was I held myself up to an impossibly high standard and I couldn’t stand the feeling of not living up to it. Well, that’s one layer of reality. The next, even uglier layer, is that I didn’t like hard work or delayed gratification. I would simply take my bat and my ball and go home. What a sook!
This year has seen me taking stock of my life quite a bit and I’m quite determined to shake this flakiness off and move forward to a phase of my life where I decide what’s important to me and commit to keep working away at it until I achieve what I want to achieve.
And I think my training for the half marathon in July has been pretty much a metaphor for this battle. As I have written before, I first tried to run a half marathon in 2011 but instead I struggled with PND and gave it up. Now, PND is a serious and legit condition and I am in no way saying it wasn’t real, but I think it was another ‘convenient’ way for me to get out of really challenging myself and following through on something that is HARD and takes WORK, and requires a bit of grit and determination.
Last Saturday I had a 16km run on my training schedule and as I ran I had a lot of time to think. Sometimes I felt like stopping (especially when I realised the path I took was taking me all the way to the top of a mountain that looks out across the whole of Brisbane – hmmmm, smart!), but I kept telling myself that if I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how slow, I was taking steps towards my goal of 16km and eventually I would get there. And right there at about the 13km mark, I had my a-ha moment:
That’s it – that’s my life! I need to focus on the things that are important to me and just keep moving towards them – no matter how small those steps are and no matter how slowly I take them. Eventually I will get there.
Queue choir of angels singing the Hallulujah Chorus (see, told ya).
This will apply to my career, to my plans for my family, and to things that I want personally in my life. So that Aesop dude was right all along: slow and steady really does win the race. What a smart guy! I’m late to the resilience party but, holy shit, I’m happy I’m here. The company is excellent and I feel incredibly optimistic about my future (and a tiny bit smug, if you want to know the entire truth). I can’t wait to knock over this 21.1km in July, and grab hold of challenge after challenge beyond that because now I know I can. Fucking right!
*Brisbane friends: if you’d like to join us to see Alisa Camplin talk about building resilience at a Business Chicks breakfast on the morning of Wednesday 25 June, please email firstname.lastname@example.org asap. We are putting together a Champagne Cartel table – it would be great to meet some of you and learn a bit more about building resilience at the same time. More info here.
How resilient do you feel? Is it something you’ve had to learn or have you always been that way?