I had huge plans for the last week. I was ready. I spent hours planning and prepping. I motivated others to jump on board. I had a big event planned. Then BAM!—ICE—then SNOW—then more SNOW—then disappointment from those who I had inspired to transform in this new year.
Have you ever noticed how often you get really excited about something, start making a bit of progress and then BAM! Suddenly something happens to throw you off course. With fitness and health, its often an injury or illness. Or sometimes its an unexpected event. Unfortunately, many times its family or friends sabotaging us. I’m not sure why it is, but this always seems to happen when we are trying to make major change... when we are on the brink of transformation...when something is REALLY important.
It’s so frustrating. You start to question “Why me? I’m trying to do the right thing. I’m working hard. I’m trying to improve my life”. In that moment of frustration and discouragement we take our eyes off that which we truly want. We look down.
It’s at that point that we are in grave danger because all too often the result of the self-pity party is “Just forget it. What’s the point? Probably wouldn't have worked anyway.”
We stop looking forward. We look down. We stop trying. We just stop.
As a black belt, I’ve had to fight from time to time. Fortunately, I know going in that I’m in a fight. Punches are going to be thrown at me. I may get knocked down. There may even be some pain involved. But no matter what happens, Once
I get started, I have to keep going. I have to keep my eyes on my opponent. If I look down, I’m gonna get knocked out and it
will all be over. I have to fight back and I definitely can't stop.
With all the snow and ice and sub zero temperatures this week, I ask myself why in the world anyone would want to be a mountain climber. I cannot fathom why a person would even sign up to be out in such severe conditions. Climbing a mountain is a dangerous thing. Not many people will ever attempt to climb the highest mountains. It’s a crazy thing to do.
To do it right, you have to prepare a lot. You must be physically conditioned. You have to carefully plan for the weather and map out your route up the mountain. You must have all the proper provisions and equipment. Unfortunately, even after you spend months, even years preparing and planning, things will go wrong.
Ideally, moving up that mountain will be a steady climb. But most of the time, things just aren't ideal. Weather conditions, dangerous terrain, fatigue, and a host of other perils will affect your progress. There. will be moments when you fall and moments when you slide backwards and actually lose ground. When that happens, you cant stay there. You will die. you must keep looking ahead for those opportunities to get a good hand grip. You definitely cant look down.
"It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves."
- Edmund Hillary
As I write this, I am still excited. We didn’t stop. We slid backwards for a week but then thanks to a few snow days, we had time to come up with so many more ideas to make our program even more successful. We have an even better event planned.
So maybe thats why the obstacles show up when things are really important. Maybe we need to be slowed down a bit so habits really stick or so we have the time to really do it right. They might take us in a new direction where more opportunities will arise. And perhaps those challenges arise to strengthen us so we’ll work harder in the long haul and gain some wisdom and gratitude along the way. That is, if we don't look down.