My friend and colleague Lizzie Prior cycled in October from Lands End to John O’Groats – one end of this island to the other. A thousand miles in twelve days. Along the way, when she was able, she kept a diary of her insights and experiences.
I have been thinking often, in recent weeks, about what it takes to commit to something over the long term, particularly if it’s a project that is important but will entail hardship or discomfort as well as joy and fulfilment. Lizzie has written wonderfully about what she learned on this subject from her cycling.
I’m reproducing her whole post below.
Take your place – you’re more likely to succeed if everyone knows where you stand. They know where they stand too.
Follow for as long as you need to – and lead when the wind takes you. The humility of following is a quality you need as a leader. Take advantage of those who lead. Benefit from the slipstream.
Always assume everyone is doing their best.
Faith is real, it’s the perfect match for fear.
Run with the pack you want to be part of even if you don’t feel ready and you’ll be enveloped. It’s how humans work. Physically behaving like what you want to become before you’ve made it is a great experiment.
When it feels uncomfortable, get over yourself. Don’t let the super ego take you out of what you want to be in.
Know that who you really are is far more capable and resourceful than you can understand.
Let your environment become you somehow – join with the landscape, be the path, embody the journey. And keep pedalling in the direction you know you want to go. There may be walls to pass through but if you keep going they will surely pass.
The ups and downs you can see in the distance are never the same as what you have perceived them to be. When you get there they look totally different. And something else is required than what you thought.
The stuff you have and use has a huge impact on you, as does what you put in your body.
When you’re in for the long haul, be generous to yourself and resist being a slave to comparison and competition. Self compassion and kindness are enduring and necessary for your well being.
Find a mantra, a saying, a practise to remind you of your intention to carry you through the difficulties. At times you won’t be able to feel the point, so you’ll need to have a powerful way of reminding yourself of your point, the meaning and the path you’re on.
Never underestimate the power of being connected to others on the path who get you, who make up your community and who laugh with you through the challenges. The true meaning of camaraderie.