Sport wasn’t one of my strong points when I was at school. It’s fair to say I was the kid left until last when it came to picking teams! I remember when it was athletics season and every P.E. lesson was spent out on the track learning all the various disciplines.
I had just got the hang of running in the same lane around the track for the whole race when one day the teacher added a complete plot twist in the shape of hurdles!
It was still a running race apparently, except that now there were these barriers that you had to jump over to reach the finish line.
At first I thought they looked light enough to just run through, knock over and keep going. That didn’t really end well.
My next approach was to set off with great enthusiasm and then slow down before each hurdle, launch into a big, clumsy jump, stop at the other side and then start running again. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t win any of the races!
I started to watch the girls who were winning the races and listening to the instruction of my teacher and I noticed that they had a technique. They set off from the same foot before each hurdle and took a long gliding stride over the hurdle rather than my stilted jump. They were in the air at little as possible and when their feet hit the ground again they kept on running.
It took practice but once I understood there was a way to navigate the hurdles and they were actually part of the race and not just something that was getting in the way then it all fell into place. I don’t think I ever won a race but I stopped coming last, and had way fewer bruises!
We’d all like life to be a smooth running race with nothing getting in our way. We all know its not like that though. There are constant hurdles. The great thing is, there is a technique to getting over them. A way to lengthen our stride and believe in our abilities to overcome whatever is in our path.
Once we accept that the hurdles are part and parcel of the race we can adapt our stride to overcome them, to learn each time how to place ourselves better, how to glide over more smoothly and how to keep our pace when we're at the other side. We also build strength and endurance for the race.
Once we've learnt the right techniques, the hurdles that started out as an inconvenience have now become an opportunity to learn and become stronger.
A lot of life coaching is about discovering the techniques to overcome and navigate the hurdles that we face. Learning and practising these techniques means that you can run your race with a steady pace without being discouraged and you can clear those hurdles every time!