Once a week I enjoy creating a weekly challenge for my clients. It hits their mail box on a Wednesday just before lunch…the hump of the hill of the week. It is aimed at inspiring and encouraging people to have more, be more and do more.

Each challenges addresses a new topic and a recent one was called ‘follow your best advice’. It shared an assumption that we all have inner wisdom and the content encouraged people to listen to and take their own good advice.

A few weeks later I went on a bike adventure that spanned three days, and covered 120 miles of off road biking in the rain. It is known as the Sandstone way. I decided to put this particular coaching challenge into practice and discovered that my light bulb moments from this epic journey were also transferable to my life in general.

I felt compelled to share these lessons with you.

The importance of being prepared:
Having failed to make the time to organise my equipment in advance of the event, I discovered on the wettest weekend of the year that  my waterproof jacket zip was broken. This prompted me to reflect on the benefits of being prepared – a tough lesson to learn.

Safety net planning:
In advance of this event, given that it is notoriously difficult, I was worried that I might not be able to complete it.  Asking myself What is the worst thing that could happen here? Checking what was worrying me the most helped my mindset hugely.

Once you work out what your worst fears are, you can create a contingency plan to manage should this situation arise…and then get busy doing it anyway.

Take time to recharge and refuel:
If you are planning to sustain yourself on any endurance event, (or any journey in life) regular rests can recharge you and vastly improve your energy, outlook and your potential to complete. As a ‘finisher completer’ I sometimes I find myself being tempted to push on to get to the end of the task. You can risk become so focused on the end result that you can miss opportunities for much needed rest.

Work smarter not harder:
In life, it is always worthwhile to ask yourself if there an easier way to get the result that you want. I learned this the hard way on the Sandstone way cycle route. When passing several fords that were approximately one foot deep, having a strategy was helpful. I watched my bike partners gain speed and propel himself through this aquatic obstacle. He lost speed halfway and found himself knee deep in cold water.

My approach differed. My cunning plan involved finding the shallow point in the ford and going barefooted with my bike and back pack over my shoulder! Hilariously we discovered a bridge to our right that provided the means of moving forward without wet feet!

This was a valuable and humorous reminder that in life, it is vital to choose the easiest solution. Work smarter not harder- find the bridge!

Get in the right gear:
I learned on hills that once I find the most efficient and manageable bike gear, it can actually become enjoyable. This is transferable to all sorts of challenges. If you are going to sustain yourself for the duration of any event or project, use the gear that keeps you going forward with ease and enjoy the ride!

Have a theme tune to keep you going forward:
Find a method of distraction to help you keep a positive mindset, I found having a theme tune along the way helpful and fun. Finding an uplifting melody like The proclaimers 500 miles had me immediately motivated. I want to ride my bicycle by Queen also made me smile and finally on hills. The only way is up by Yazz was on my mind during hill climbs.

On the last leg of the journey which was the wettest and most challenging day, I found the final countdown by Europe helped me out. So note to self – having a positive and meaningful theme tune can help you stay focussed on any mission.

Blinkers on:
When the road ahead felt challenging I discovered the value of keeping my head down and looking no further than just ahead of my front wheel. This meant that I could give my full attention to what was doable in that moment, rather than anticipating future obstacles and then assuming defeat. I was able to continue by focusing on each moment… and then the next… and so forth.

Choose your team wisely:
In different aspects of life, it is always helpful to have a team. Experience has taught me the value in having the right people by your side when you undertake any challenge.  A buddy with a sense of humour,  (especially at that point where you want to throw your bike over a fence), someone who stays calm, demonstrates belief in you, or reminds you to keep perspective is invaluable. I wonder what sort of people you would value on your team in life and how they might make a difference?

Enjoy making new friends:
The people you meet along the way become part of your story. They will be curious about what you are trying to achieve, share their stories with you and they will also cheer you on. They will inspire you and they will be inspired by you. It is important not to underestimate the value of this.

When doing triathlons, and spectators shout their words of encouragement, without fail, my energy is raised. This makes me smile. It reminds me that people around you can be your cheerleaders. It also reminds me to be my own cheerleader.

Recognise your triumphs along the way:
I began my cycle journey by thinking about all the miles ahead of me and wondered if I was capable of completing them. Giving my attention to each mile that passed and counting them was highly motivational for me. I decided to apply this approach to life in general and this is serving me well.

As I reflect on my progress with all things, I find it helpful to recognise my small successes. It helps me to self motivate and to congratulate myself rather than berate myself for the things still left to do. Perhaps we should do this more, choose to have a victory list or a triumph board instead of the dreaded ‘to do’ list.

Enjoy the ride:
Most importantly – life is finite and time is precious. If you choose to create a challenge in your life, choose to enjoy this rather than tolerate it. Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Being outcomes driven can prevent you from enjoy the moments along the way. Stop to enjoy the picnic, sightsee, eat the cake. I believe that this is essential in all journeys in life.

I wanted to share my ‘lessons learned’ from a biking escapade with two best hopes in mind. If my notes to self can be helpful to others, then I would regard this to be a great outcome. I also wanted to remind you that life lessons are always transferable.

My question to you…what are you learning in life that could be transferrable in other situations in your life? For example could learning to grow a business help your personal relationships to thrive?

Life does not come with an instruction manual to guide us and thank goodness. We are all unique and the ‘university of life’ is a continuous work in progress.

Instead of feeling that we should have mastered life, let’s keep on learning and from each other and loving all the moments along the way! 

#100% Pure Polly – Living Life’s Adventure…
I plan to dedicate my next blog to getting out of your comfort zone – Don’t let fear be in the driving seat
In the meantime I wish you all a fun, happy and energetic month. Want to know more about how to live your life’s adventure?