Day 3 of the North Coast Trail. The eyes didn’t want to open in the morning, the legs were screaming and the bruises were starting to form. Another day of strapping my life on my back and heading out to tackle the mud. We were aiming high, with a goal of 13km. And trust me, this 13km (which turned into 8km) was not a breeze. On the map, it looks completely do-able in a few hours. But just wait until you’re scrambling up the side of a mud slide using a rope, hiking pole strapped to your heavy bag, hands sliding with mud. It’s not that easy. I was tired. Blissed out but tired. If you came out of the woods and saw this beach, you too would stop 5km short and camp here. I couldn’t believe this was our private beach. Only a few hours from Vancouver, plus a whole bunch of sweat and hard work. Wow.
I was struggling through the hard patches, when Mandy came to my rescue. She mentioned to me something she learned in a mountain bike lesson last summer – Scan, Pick, Commit. The strategy is this: always move forward, constantly scanning your next move, deciding in a certain direction and sticking to it. No turning back. No hesitation. It’s with hesitation that accidents tend to happen. It slows you down, makes you second guess yourself and keeps you stuck. Mentally and physically frustrated.
Life on the trail got a whole lot more fun when I decided to scan, pick and commit. I started chugging along. Laughing harder, moving faster and feeling stronger. Scanning, picking and committing. Through the swamp. Sure I still fell back sometimes, but the mud and slippery rocks were there to catch me. Sometimes painful, yes, but all in all, this strategy was the way to go. It was MUCH more fun. More challenging, more adrenalin inducing and overall just a better way to move forward. Something so simple, but it helped my mental AND physical game ten fold.
You know me by now, and you know that I like to relate things to life and goals in general. And what better an example to use than something I love doing so much, that can relate to almost every aspect of our lives. Yep, you guessed it. It made me think:
Goals. Long term goals. Challenges. If you know where you’re getting to, then the journey becomes all the more fun. It allows you to focus on each movement, since you know the direction you’re going. Constantly moving forward, toward your goal. Scanning your surroundings, not hesitating against this momentum, and picking a direction. Committing to it. Trusting it. Using the momentum to push you forward. To propel you forward into your next step. No looking back. Just smiling at the fun you’re having in getting there.
Picture yourself (or me if you can’t see yourself in a patch of obstacle course type mud) at the beginning of a tricky terrain. You see rocks, trees, patches of knee deep mud, slippery green stuff, you name it. This looks intimidating, right? But you know you have to get to the other side. You know there’s a beautiful beach waiting for you, with wine and chocolate to boot. So you put your head down, smile, and go for it. You’ve scanned what’s ahead, now there’s no turning back. The more you use your momentum, the easier it actually becomes to balance in every which direction. You start to learn tricks and ways to make the obstacles work in your advantage. This boosts your self-esteem, wanting you to take on more challenges. Go for longer distances. Rather than over thinking each step, you trust in yourself to move forward. To take the risk that yes, you might get hurt, but you’re having fun while trying.
Now picture this North Coast Trail mud swamp as your life. Put a goal that you desperately want in your path. Actually and physically visualize this goal in front of you. All of those so called ‘obstacles’ in getting there are ahead of you. Instead of worrying or wondering, you go for it. You try. You learn. You use each opportunity to lead you into the next. You gain experience. You gain wisdom. And in doing so, you show everyone around you just how simple it really is. To just scan, pick and commit. That’s all.
If you want something so badly in your life right now, don’t over think it. Don’t worry about those obstacles until you get there. Because you’ll have all of the momentum, energy, experience and awesomeness gained form the steps before to lead you through. And yah, you might fall a time or two, but you only learn. Maybe a few bruises, but they always heal. Time heals everything. So go after it. Grab your vision, and go after it. Commit to it. Nothing is stopping you. Just trust.
Smile with your heart!