Sports and their analogies are very prevalent in my thinking and writing. It’s not surprising as sports exists in every culture and at many different levels. Baseball and Football in the US. Soccer, Football to the rest of the world, in many, many countries. And every other year, the Olympics bring to the world sports that we don’t get to see every day. Sports participants have a relevancy in so many ways, you can’t help but draw from their experiences.
I saw an interview recently from Olympic ice skater Michelle Kwan who said when she started skating (at age 5!) her first coach spent a lot of time teaching her how to fall which really puzzled Michelle. After all, should she be learning to skate? What she later realized is her coach knew she’d be falling, and falling a lot, during her career and Michelle needed to learn that falling wasn’t fatal, that it was all part of the process and not really a big deal. She just needed to pick herself up and get going again. Falling didn’t end her performance. She had to continue. If she allowed herself to become paralyzed from fear when she fell or thinking she might fall, then that was what was going to end her performance.
Falling, and falling again, then falling some more, is what happens every day with almost everything we attempt at life. Those miserable 10 pounds (ok 25 pounds!)? So you had a bad day fueling yourself, that doesn’t mean you give up a healthy lifestyle forever. Yes, you know smoking is bad for you and you know you had a drag when stress got the better of you. So start right back on your no smoking path the next day. Those new business clients you were going to research for work? So maybe you spent the day on the couch channel surfing instead of diligently plugging away at the computer. Vow to do the needed work first thing tomorrow morning.
Learning to fall and not letting it stop you in your tracks is key to continuing your forward progress. You might as well admit it’s going to happen. How you handle this eventuality determines how successful you’ll be in your journey. And bruises, while not very pretty, do fade.