Running in Circles to Move Forward

change messages Sep 27, 2011

We may have clear goals of what we want in life – our career path, health, personal relationships – but often times barriers pop up that turn into deal breakers and end up derailing our mission.

As I was landing in Detroit today I was looking out the airplane window at large parking lots and was reminded of my vacation last month. As you probably know, I’ve made a strong connection between my physical health and my performance and resiliency. Without consistent exercise I’m more lethargic, less resilient, and don’t handle stress as well. I’ve made a personal commitment to exercise 5 times every week regardless of my travel schedule. When I go on vacation, I still continue to exercise, but will sometimes do fewer workouts than usual.

While in Africa we were staying at a hotel that had a gym and I was REALLY looking forward to a good workout as it had been several days since I was able to work up a good sweat. My partner and I followed the signs to the gym only to find out upon arriving at the gym that it hadn’t been built yet.

Good thing they managed to get those signs up though.

Plan B: We’ll go for a run. I asked the gentlemen at the front desk if it was okay to run through the neighborhood and they said it wasn’t a good idea because it wasn’t safe.

Okay…. Plan C: We’ll run the perimeter of the parking lot. The hotel staff stared at us the entire 45 minutes. They had no idea why the crazy Mzungu (foreign) women would want to run around and around and around while going nowhere.

How often in life does it feel like you’re doing the best you can, but things keep popping up in your path, and you’re running in circles? You’re giving your full and best effort and not making much forward progress?

When you stop to think about it, progress rarely happens in a straight line. It may not happen as fast as you want it, or it suddenly shoves you into an unexpected direction….  It’s all part of the growth process and the most important things are to 1) stay focused on what you want and 2) consistently put your energy toward it every single day, regardless of the circumstances. From a physiological perspective you're pretty much either growing stronger as a system or growing weaker, and it's completely up to you which direction you want to move. What's your choice?

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