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 of people in running gear shuffling along with walking poles, then another, then more, like a trail of ants. I notice an orange label on their back, and realise what it is.
These people were taking part in the Jurassic Coast Challenge. This is a three day, three marathon, trail run event following the South West Coast Path. Being in Swanage, I know its the final day. This explains the struggle of a march! I see another and shout “Well Done Jurassic, keep going!” – a half smile meets me!
That point is nearly six miles from the finish – so close to home, not much is functioning any more! how do I know this? Because that was me, 3 years ago. I know EXACTLY how they could be feeling!
I started pushing then, on my bike, 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”. The life I led back then was also very much just that; “keep your head down and carry on”.
My revelation was a reflection on how life has changed. Completing that challenge taught me so much. Mental toughness, endurance skills as well as the physical fitness I had built. 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. I’m cycling in the middle of the day, because I can, I chose this lifestyle and made it happen.
As we settle into any 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.
In sharing today’s experience, I hope to encourage others to take the opportunity and benefit from the “power tool” that is reflection!
What has changed for you over the last 3 years?
- A couple of exercises:
- Basic reflective exercise
- What experiences have been pivotal for you?
- What did you learn from them?
- How did you apply that learning?
- What are you planning to do with your most recent learning experiences
- Repeat this process at regular intervals
- Keep a log of your thoughts and feelings as you experience new things
- Review the patterns for ideas as to what is fuelling your energy
- Basic reflective exercise
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 in whatever life or career conundrums they face! She is also a Mentor Coach and Coach Supervisor. She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds PCC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified. She challenges herself with ultra distance running and Ironman. Find her at www.bluegreencoaching.com or swimming in the sea, in Poole, Dorset
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