What a glorious spring day! I decided to take to my bike. I am lucky enough to live on the south coast, so a short trip over on the Sandbanks ferry puts me en route to Swanage. The Purbeck views continue to impress me. After the climb out of Studland, I sail down into the town itself, steering round the back so I can take in the length of the prom and spot the chip eaters, ice-cream lickers and paddlers on the beach. As I breeze along, I spot a couple shuffling along with walking poles, then another. I notice an orange label on their back, and realise what it is. These people were taking part in the Jurassic Coast Challenge – a 3 day, 3 marathon, trail run event following the South West Coast Path. They are on day 3, hence the shuffling. I see another and shout “Well Done Jurassic!” – a half smile meets me! That point is nearly 6 miles from the finish – so close to home, not much is functioning any more! That was me 3 years ago – I know EXACTLY how they could be feeling!
I started pushing then, up the hill back over the Purbecks. My mind started whirring; how I was now on the bike rather than running, moving faster, putting in spurts of efforts on the climbs, but taking in more of the views on the way down, rather than “head down lets finish this”. My revelation was a reflection on how life has changed since then. I learnt so much doing that challenge, about my mental toughness, endurance skills as well as the physical fitness I had built, but life very much was just that “keep your head down and carry on”. I’m not saying now is all smooth and rosy now, its very much like the ride, some hard effort chunks, followed by some respite of the other sides of the hills. I would say though, that today, I was much more in control on my ride, I had choice over my route, how long I stayed out soaking up the sun and whether I chose to stop for a break. Feels very much how I work now.
As we settle into the new “normal”, it can be very easy to forget the challenges we’ve achieved and overcome, see what we learnt from them as well as the new options it creates for us. I thought I would share my experience today, to encourage others to take the opportunity and benefit from the “power tool” that is reflection! Take a moment to look at where you are now, and where you’ve come from. What has changed for you over the last 3 years? If there’s changes that you want that haven’t happened, where could you start? Small things lead to cumulative big change…if you want it!
Sheela Hobden is a Coach at bluegreen Coaching. Following her own mental health battles, she now coaches individuals, runs training sessions and speaks at conferences. She has a real passion for helping medics and healthcare professionals take as much care of themselves as they do their patients! She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds ACC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified.
Find her at www.bluegreencoaching.com.