I played a lot of sports growing up. I just loved the thrill of competition and the mental and physical challenges. Out of all the sports I played, soccer was my favorite, but I had the most success with track (which I loved, too). I started out as a pure sprinter, but then switched to the hurdles in high school and college.
The transition to hurdling was a major challenge. Physically, hurdling requires balance, controlled power, and strength. It also requires mental flexibility. If you come to the hurdle too fast, you have to change the way you jump, lifting your knee just a little higher to ensure you clear the hurdle, but not too high, or the extra time in the air will slow you down and you’ll have to make more adjustments at the next hurdle. And then there’s the humility needed to survive falling over in front of everybody, because that happens, and it’s every bit as embarrassing as you’d think it would be.
Looking back, I see a lot of parallels between my hurdle endeavors and my later life experiences. You might think some of them are kind of obvious, like “when you fall, get back up and keep trying!” Except, in a real race, that’s not always the best thing to do.
Misjudge a hurdle and you might hit it and fall over. Sometimes it might make sense to get up and keep running, but in most events there just isn’t time. In the 110m high hurdles, for example, a good high school or college race is over in 14 seconds, sometimes less. There is no way you can get up and still place. Some might see sitting there for a bit as failure, as being a quitter, but I see it as admitting reality. Taking your time getting up—checking to make sure you didn’t hurt yourself—is just plain smart. There will be another race.
The same thing definitely applies in other aspects of life, including business. As important as it is to be able to get up and try again, if the race is over, it’s just smarter to admit it and reassess your situation. You can lose a lot of time, money, and opportunity trying to win something that’s really already over. Instead, get ready for the next race.
There are other things I learned from the hurdles that seem a little counter-intuitive, too, like don’t just keep your head down and work hard. If your head is down, you won’t see the next hurdle!
But if the lesson is obvious, it’s not much of a lesson, is it?
This article about balance was written by Rudy Redmond. Rudy is on the Business Development team at KazCM. The content marketing company inside KazSource.
Interested in creating content for your business? Chat with Rudy.