One of the truest statements I ever heard is “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Think about that for just a few seconds and it will blow your mind. I mean there are days when I feel like my head wants to explode from all the information that I am dumping into it, and it’s only getting worse. The challenges we face today are enormous compared to the ones we had when our grandparents ruled the world. And everyday it gets exponentially harder to “keep up.”
Pretty much every week, I have mentioned in some way or another the fact that I am a newly divorced singled dad. Why do I do this?? Well mostly because it’s who I am and where draw my inspiration from. And I write from my heart, not my brain, so obviously I tend to gravitate towards stories that involve “feeling” as apposed to anything very analytical. I know that out there as I type this to you, there are hundreds if not thousands of classes going on that are using all sorts of analytical stats to drive and push their classes. I’ve only done this type of class a few times and it was all during the week of a Royal Caribbean cruise I took. And I LOVED IT !!! But even if I had access to teach my classes with these tools, I know I would still rely heavily on my style of teaching, which is to reach into my students feelings and emotions to trigger their inner drive. Its what has always worked for me and TO me. I told you the story about the Goo Goo Dolls song and how I play that when I need to use anger in order to push me further.
So the focus of this weeks post is about Challenges and how some are predictable while others are not. All thru our days we face challenge after challenge after challenge. And the “Predictable” ones have become just a way of life. In other words, walking up stairs is a challenge. Not eating too much is a challenge. Some of you are married and staying together is a challenge. And what I have found is although I LOVE a good challenge, the predictable ones are what push us into a false sense of comfort. Nothing worse than thinking you “got it handled” and let your guard down only to get kicked in the teeth because you(we) got lazy. Well that’s exactly what happened to me this weekend. A good ole ass kickin because I thought I could do what I have done my whole life, even though my circumstances have changed drastically.
I’m the oldest of 5, and if I had time I would explain in more detail but let’s just say none of us share the same father. Two of my siblings were adopted and the other two have different fathers. I was told at the age of 31, and over the telephone, that my “Dad” wasn’t my father. Talk about a shocker. My head almost exploded with the flashbacks of memories and times when things “didn’t seem right” and how I always questioned why I never felt a strong bond with my dad. But I always related it to the fact that I was just so close to my mom that I couln’t have the same closeness with my dad. It’s the story I told myself, and deep down I think I always knew. In the way you just instinctively know how to breath.
Anyway, being raised by a single mom, I watched her work 3 jobs and raise us. I learned early on a very strong work ethic. Work long and hard, and hope for the best. It’s always been my way. And before I met my wife I was a 60 to 80 hour work week kind of guy, did lots of volunteer work, kept my house clean, found time for everyone and everything. And I kept that up until, well…. this weekend. I think I finally broke. I think it finally hit me that I am not 30 anymore, I am not single, and I am a SINGLE DAD TRYING TO DO THE SAME THINGS I DID WHEN I HAD 1/4th the responsibility !! Hand to god, I have been working 100 hours a week trying to grow my business. I am the dad who when the kids are home and not in bad, I am on the floor playing or sitting at the table coloring. Nothing comes between me and my time with the kids. So how do I still work 100 hours a week ? Well, I work while they are in school, I pick them up and get about three hours of play before bed, then once they are tucked in I come back down to my office and work till 2 or 4 am. And I have done this for 6 plus weeks. Why ?? Because “I love a challenge” and this challenge is predictable right ? I mean, I know how to work hard, I know how to go without sleep, and I KNOW I love my kids and this is for them so they can stay in a good school and have nice things. Well, this weekend I had one of those moments when you just feel something break. Metaphorically speaking of course, but it was like something in my brain just stopped working and the rest of my mind got together and had a meeting. And the result of that meeting was that I needed a reality check. A challenge whether it be “predictable or unpredictable” is only good (healthy) if there’s a chance you could WIN or fail. When you put yourself in front of a challenge that’s simply impossible, then it’s no longer a challenge, its just stupid decision making. And that’s what I have been doing. I needed to sit down and decide what I was going to cut out f my life so that I could HAVE a life. Otherwise my kids will grow up and move out, and I will have nothing left for me in this house. And that’s NOT how I saw my life playing out.
So how does this relate to spinning?? Simple. Use it metaphorically and it means that as an instructor I have to ask if I am setting unrealistic parameters for my students. Of course when I scream “Drive those legs till they fall off,” everyone knows that I don’t really want their legs to fall off. But how about when I tell them to push into a zone 5 for way longer than they should and then not give them enough recovery?? What happens when I am having a great day on that bike, feeling invincible, and setting goals (challenges) for the people in the class, some of which may not be having a stellar physical day but due to their type A personality tries to follow me anyway ?? Do they push till they break ? And if they do, how is that beneficial to anyone, most of all them? I know I do this way to often, and my reality check this weekend kind of helped me see that sometimes I forget that even the greatest challenges still need a ceiling of some kid. That we can choose a peak to reach for but it still needs to be an actual peak ? If I pointed out the top of a mountain and said “Walk to the summit” most of us under the right conditions could have at some point done it, given the proper tools and training. And for those who are gonna say “NOT if your in a wheel chair, I call bullshit because I saw the documentary of the guy who build a contraption where he peddled with his arms and a whole team of people escorted him to the top on it.” Now THAT’s a guy who faced a challenge. But if instead of a mountain, I pointed to the Moon and said “walk to that” then you’d look at me like I was crazy. I can;t in my wildest dreams ever imagine any scenario of ANY technology that could make that possible. See where I am going ?
As an instructor I think I have to do a better job at defining challenges in my class. Make them difficult and somewhat “predictable.” But predictable ONLY in the fact that you can see yourself under the right circumstances being able to do it and it being something that you would need to hit on all cylinders to do it. Something that takes hard work, dedication, sweat, drive, and all the other adjectives we use to describe people like you and me who want more than a couch potatoes life. Because this weekend I learned that no matter how hard I try, how much I give up, or how much I love my kids, there is still a point when my body, my mind, and most of all my spirit just says……enough.
Thanks for listening.
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