I loved track and field (and likely in high school I may have taken it just a titch too seriously). Always wanting to get in the extra mile, or find the perfect shoe, the most idyllic shorts. The thrill of walking onto a track where the air was thick with doubt, confidence, triumph and tragedy – second to none! Being amidst the circus-like activity of warm ups, warm downs, and personal bests was for me one of life’s greatest experiences. There was something about the fact that there was no turning back. When the starter said “ready, set,” and then fired the starting gun – he wasn’t kidding, like ever! You had to go! You couldn’t say, “Hey, hold on I just need like 5 minutes”. Not to mention that overwhelming scent of A535. Just a whiff of that stuff still brings back the pre-race jitters, in a comforting and jittery kind of way.
But nothing stopped me more in my tracks than the hurdlers. I was in absolute awe, as they would thunder by. It seemed counterintuitive to put a series of roadblocks in front of you and demand that you still run as fast as you could. As a middle distance runner I was all about smoothing it out, and gliding. I would agonize when I would watch how the hurdler’s slightest clip of a spike could sent a hurdle clattering to the track. Sounding so catastrophic. But most of the time, the truly amazing part was that the runner seemed to barely notice the clanging and clattering of the fallen piece of metal. Always fiercely focused on the next hurdle and not the last. (Forget living in the moment, this was living in the nanosecond!) Eyes fixed clearly and cleanly on the finish line, never altering their gaze.
All these years later I realize that the hurdlers were truly on to something. We can all hurdle through business and life – with or without the fancy spikes. It just depends on whether or not our gaze is firmly planted on our goals, or the roadblocks that will invariably be on our path.
Do you hurdle?