Life is full of stops and starts. Sometimes, it seems like we just get going and something happens to discourage us. It’s a part of every movie and every hero’s journey. The hero discovers a worthy endeavor and sets out to find the treasure or rescue someone or find their way home. Then, they discover that the journey is tougher than they thought, and the hero often returns home defeated. For some of us this is a cycle that happens every day.
We long to hit our stride and find the sweet spot to life. I have never been a good sprinter. They don’t talk about 5.0 in the 40-yard dash as memorable. But when I would run distance there were times when I hit my stride and enjoyed what can only be described as one of the greatest experiences of life. I also felt this is my young computer career, my 20 years in ministry and my subsequent business career. But, the first and purest example for most people is when we finally learn how to ride a bike. Everyone that has ridden a bicycle knows that feeling, and hopefully, we experience it often in life.
But, there are some realities to hitting our stride.
There is a training period that is hard.
Many times we realize after the journey is complete that some of the things we considered setbacks were really part of the readying for what we would experience in the journey. When I was on the football team, I needed to experience some things in practice that would get me ready for the real thing where I could hopefully hit my stride. Usually when the hero enlists a guide, the first they do is stress that the hero do some more training. Think Rocky Balboa or any of those movies.
There is a pressure to run someone else’s race.
Often, we imagine those around us know how to get where we want to go, but the they may be following someone else that barely knew where they were going. In a society, we often norm up to whatever the rest of the group is doing which might help in some areas, but it is no way to develop authenticity. And we cannot run someone else’s race. Finding our own groove, staying in our lane—you pick the metaphor—we have to run the race that is for us.
There is really nothing like hitting your stride in a race or in life.
Most people have found their stride at least once in life and probably multiple times. We can’t keep going back to that experience and trying to relieve it. We must find the new journey and stay on it long enough to be trained and find our path. Imagine yourself in full stride coming down the backstretch and envision it every time your training is hard and your journey seems long. It will come to you when the time is right.
Someone said about me the other day that I seem to be finding my stride as an author. I hope they are right, but I’ve learned to be patient and I am learning to be open to new ideas and new practices. Each new discovery requires more practice and more determination to stay on the journey. The next time I feel like I’ve hit my stride, I want to be more aware and more grateful and take it all in. Then, as many have said, I can just enjoy the journey that gets me there.
I also hope for you that you find your stride in an honest and genuine way.
I believe the best way to find the path is through presence and authenticity. And that is why I always say:
Be where you are, be who you are, be at peace.