Yesterday I rode my bicycle from Detroit to Flint. When we took off, I was at the front of the group, but about a quarter of the way into the ride as the heat and hills intensified, I found myself falling behind. The organization hosting the ride had set up a system for safety where there was one van leading the group and another at the back of the group. As I fell farther and farther behind, I was putting the rest of the group in danger by creating such a great distance between them and their protection. To address this challenge one of the leaders told me to take a break. He loaded my bike on the back of the van and I rode inside for the next several miles. I began to feel overwhelmed with emotion and was on the cusp of tears because it meant so much to me to finish this ride for such an important cause.
Not long after I got in the van, we stopped to pick up another rider who had experienced the same fate. We began talking and realized that we both hadn’t eaten a real meal that day, and that we hadn’t trained to the extent that such a feat required. We shared our disappointment at being pulled from the ride, but then decided to shift our energy and use our time in the van to properly nourish and hydrate ourselves. We also made a pact that if we were given the opportunity to ride again, we would make it to the finish line.
Shortly thereafter we got our chance. We joined another rider who understood our pain because he had the same experience during the previous year’s ride. We paced ourselves, encouraged one another, and successfully completed the final half of the ride.
This experience taught me so many valuable lessons that align with the support and space that I aim to create for women and leaders in my work. We push ourselves to complete overwhelming challenges, often without the proper training, nourishment, help, and rest required to achieve the outcomes we desire while keeping our wellbeing intact.
Here are some strategies to support you as you move through obstacles with ease along your journey to your desired destination.
Design Your Development. We are often thrust or elevated into positions such as being leaders or parents without a guide or the skills that we need to be successful. Investing our time and resources into training and consistently practicing what we’ve learned will help us to invite more ease and flow into our responsibilities and our lives. When I signed up for the Ride for Equity, I knew that an intense level of training would be required, but I allowed everything else in business and life to push that important priority aside. I quickly learned my lesson and that there is also a cost when we don't put in the required time and energy necessary to achieve our goals. Not only do we let ourselves down, but also hold back those who are around us, like our families or our teams, in the process.
How will you design your personal or professional development plan?
Savor Your Sustenance. Our bodies and our brains need a certain amount and type of nourishment and fuel to keep us operating at peak performance. This might look like literal food and hydration, but it can also be what we feed ourselves figuratively. On our personal and professional journeys, what we consume, or the lack of what we ingest can adversely impact the energy that we need to sustain ourselves over time. Not having enough positive social engagement or taking in too many deleterious social media posts or news stories can completely throw my day off track.
What is your mental maintenance meal plan?
Relief and Rest. One of the biggest challenges that I’ve seen many people face is the ability to ask for and receive help. This leads to pouring so much time into work that there is little time left for rest. Allow yourself to be relieved of tasks and responsibilities that someone else can do just as good as or better than you. When I was getting a bike tune up in preparation for the ride, the technician told me that the type of tires I had were designed for trails, so they would require me to exert extra effort on the roads. I declined his help and immediately felt the weight of the added resistance. Accepting that relief would have given me the rest I needed to sustain my energy throughout the ride.
What will you allow someone to help you to do?
This week I challenge you to seek and accept opportunities for development, nourishment, relief, and rest to engineer ease in your personal and professional life.
I am designing a personal and professional development plan that will support me in showing up as my best self.
I am practicing self-sustenance by getting the nourishment that I need for my mental and physical well being.
I am open to receiving assistance so that I may rest.