About a month ago, I was hit by a car while riding my motorcycle. The car side-swiped me and took off. My bike bounced off the car, shot out from under me, and I rolled under the car. Amazingly enough, I stood up, picked up my bike, and got to the side of the street without any problems. All I had was a small bit of road rash on my elbow. I was lucky!
However, I'm not writing this to acquire oohs and ahhs, but to discuss one important lesson I learned from this incident that applies very well to life in general. The basic lesson I learned here was that, now that I am confident in hitting the ground and surviving, I have actually become a much better rider. Of course, they do say that there are only two types of motorcycle riders --- those who have gone down, and those who have not.
--- Change and Balance ---
At the beginning of many of my coaching sessions, my clients ask me why things fall apart, out of the blue, once they get moving along in their lives. Believe it or not, there is an answer. It has to do with balance, lessons, and traversing new and unknown paths. In all cases, the only time we encounter challenges is when we decide to move forward toward a new goal. In our movement, we throw our environment into an imbalance causing a chain reaction of events around us to push balance back into the situation.
We usually see this surge for balance as a problem, challenge, or issue and then back off to fall back into the safety of the original situation. But, realize, that such surges are merely in response to your own desire to change. When you initiate change, your environment creates an equal and opposite force against change. It is called "nature".
--- Crash and Burn ---
Once we are able to overcome the initial inertia of change and move forward, we inevitably encounter challenges that will cause us to stumble and fall. Such challenges are not in place to cause us to quit, but are there to wake us up and make us realize that we can endure much more than we thought we could and still continue along our path. Falling enables us to see our own character and abilities to prepare us for the future challenges. This is a stair-step approach to bettering ourselves and becoming stronger in our resolve.
However, the important part of falling is that you learn how far you have to go to hit the ground. In many cases, we fear falling because it's going to hurt. Indeed, wiping out at 50mph is painful, but survivable. But, once you know what it feels like and can maintain your wits when you hit the ground, getting up and doing it again is easy because you know that you will survive. In the end, you are better able to pursue the ultimate goal because you are no longer afraid of falling, or failing.
--- What's next? ---
I once heard the saying, "if you fall on your face, at least you were moving forward." It's an interesting statement because, the only way to fall forward is if you have forward momentum when you fell. It's an excellent view to accept when moving toward a goal as it can help make the potential falls easier to bear. This, because, inevitably, we will fall. But, so many times we get caught up in the negative aspects of failure, or falling. Instead, view it as a wake-up call or a way to desensitize yourself so that you can focus on your goal. In this way, future falls won't be so dramatic and our fear of falling won't get in the way of achieving our desires.