What hill are you currently climbing? Are you traveling a new road for your life? Are you stepping out of what you have always done, and venturing into a new personal or professioinal territory? If these questions or thoughts are in alignment with the hill you're climbing, I would like to suggest that to reach the success you are after, keep looking down.
I learned this lesson while riding in a recent 90-kilometer bicycle event. It was the farthest ride I have done to date, and I wasn't sure if I could complete it. While I knew it was a trip I wanted to take, I was concerned that the length of the ride, combined with some very large hills, would be too difficult for me, even with proper preparation.
On the day of the event, and with the hills looming ahead, I pedaled away, traveling close to the group I entered with. After a few hours on our bikes, and after a quick lunch break, we knew the major hill was next. As it began, I lowered my gears, started up the hill, and positioned my bike next to my friend. As we climbed, I looked down at my front tire, focusing on the road below me, and on occasion, looked over to the site of my friend's bike to the side. As we rode, he began to speak words of encouragment. We can do this! The hill is no big deal.We are doing great. I bet the top of the hill is just around this corner. The only response I could utter back was We are not getting off our bikes!
By looking down, and surrounded by his encouragemnt, the hill that I feared, didn't seem so bad...until I looked up.
When I looked up, and though we were still encouraging each other, I could now see how steep the hill was. Because the road twisted, and trees surrounded the road, it was hard to see when it might end. Immediately my mind spoke: You can't do this. This hill is too high for you. Maybe you should get off your bike and walk. What happens if you can't make it? With each thought, and with the sight of the hill in front, the pedaling took on new effort, and physically I began to feel I wouldn't make it. So I simply looked down again.
I noticed this pattern throughout the ride up the hill. Each time I looked up, the task at hand felt too difficult, and my mind would overwhelm me. When I looked down, my mind would quiet, as I concentrated on the pedaling, the point of the road that I was on, and the words of encouragement I was being surrounded with. When I finally looked up again, we were approaching the top of the hill, a hill I didn't think I would be able to climb.
What did traveling up the hill remind me?
1. To focus on what I have to do right now- stay present
2. To be mindful of the people who I let surround me.
3. There is a mind/body connection.
4. Use lower gears when going up a hill.
5. I like bike riding.
May you climb well! William