For Instructors

Stumbling block or Stepping stone

A few years ago at a WSSC I presented a ride with this title. The message is self-explanatory:

When faced with an obstacle do you regard it as a roadblock or do you have the capacity to look past the initial annoyance. Can you search for a greater meaning using it as an opportunity to move forward. 

To this day that particular ride remains very close to my heart as there were people present in that room that were going through their own personal difficulties and together we cried for ourselves for others and found higher ground. Through the story of others and using examples of how life can kick you when you are down we channeled the determination we would need in life and put in our legs as we proceeded through a ride that was also a stumbling block itself.

Today I had a small stumbling block...I got a flat tire. Literally five minutes into my ride I went over a small pothole and blew the back tire. I was obviously annoyed especially since I was on my way to meet my riding crew.

Somehow riding for nearly 6 years I've never needed to change a tire on my own. In fact in all my riding even when I was a kid and rode a mountain bike I've only ever gotten a flat once and my friends helped me change it.

When I started racing I paid a guy in a bike shop to teach me just in case. Recently before my Ironman event I had a refresher but until today I never had to test my ability.

It is difficult to know what we are capable of until we are put to the test. I knew I had paid attention in my one on one lesson but until life presented me with the challenge face to face how could I know if I was capable. 

In turn because I had never been tested I lacked confidence and faith in myself. Today though I surprised myself. I not only changed my tire but I declined the help of a very nice person that offered their assistance and I said

"I've never done this before but...I think I’ve got it…I’ll be okay"

And I was. So I wiped off my grease covered hands got on my bike and rode off much happier than when I had stopped.

Often even though the stumbling block is annoying and it stops us in our tracks of doing what we set out to do, at that point we have an opportunity to embrace the potential. Today my potential was to overcome my fear of not being able to change the tire – I agree this is not a huge life changing moment. But if I didn’t get the flat then I wouldn’t have been able to be proud of my success.

Even though the flat tire was initially annoying - the result actually made me grateful for the flat.

When we are caught in the middle of the "poop-hitting-the-fan" it can be difficult to see what the greater good is. However I honestly believe that with every stumbling block there is a clear stepping-stone if we are prepared to search for it. We may not even see it at first but there is always one there...eventually.

So whether your stumbling block is a flat tire, a broken fingernail or a chronic illness there has to be a lesson within the process for us to seek and find its purpose in self development.

Why should we? Why should I try and find a glimmer of light amongst the darkest of difficulties? 

So we can find peace.

It is also called acceptance. If we can accept the unexpected, embrace it and make it our own then we can move forward more peaceful and happier sooner than if we wallow in misery of the situation itself.

Also another approach that I like to take is nothing will ever beat me or hold me down for long. We may stumble, we may even fall but we always get up...we have to.

Anyway that’s my little two cents worth for today and in the meantime I'm high fiving myself for changing my first ever flat tire....

Woohooo! :)




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