13 September 2011 By Rachel’s

Overcoming The Challenges of Life

If you were to pause and take a few moments to reflect on your life, what would be the things you were the most proud of? Was it the easy stuff you hardly gave a thought? Or were they experiences where initially you fell short on the goal? Perhaps once, twice, or even many times over you had to stand up and try again before achieving your vision? ?Maybe there were goals ultimately you didn??t reach, but in the process of trying you were led to something better?? The things that challenge us can evolve into our greatest achievements.

I can certainly relate to this. As can every human being out there.? I think of life like the ocean. I think of everything it takes to make a wave.? No, it doesn??t take an easy straight line. Riding as currents, swirling this way and that.? Darting around and through obstacles, it never arrives as a wave or splash onto the shore without a journey.? And once it finally hits the shore, the water doesn??t just stay there. Ebb and flow.? Sometimes the water comes in calm and peaceful, a gentle break on the beach before retracting. If you were to swim in the calm water most likely it would be delightfully refreshing. Easy. ?But what about swimming when the ocean is stirring with a vengeance? ?Perhaps the shore can no longer be seen. If you were out swimming in turbulent waters, you may lose sight of direction completely. Lost and afraid knowing you wanted to get back to the shore, but it was out of sight.? The more you panic the less likely you will make it. But, if you calm yourself, search for a high landmark and work with the tides, you will make it.

When you do, it most likely takes more than a few dunks by massive swells.? Redirecting multiple times as you are tossed about. When it is all over and you are safe, you will have learned a lot about yourself. How determined you were to reach the shore.? You may have even found a more beautiful piece of beach as the water finally pushed you onto safe ground. What if you had fought and struggled and ultimately given up on getting back?? That becomes the difference between the people who are able to rise above their challenges and those who drown.? It is a decision each of us has the choice to make.

In many aspects of life we experience challenge. Health and financial crisis does happen.? Or perhaps knowing where we want to go, but don??t know how to get there.? Often we see in others only their successes. But what did it take them to get there?? Guaranteed there wasn??t one simple line to their achievements.? Absolutely they had a vision and goals set to acquire what they wanted. When things were in the ebb motion, it was probably difficult.? Maybe they struggled, perhaps questioned their ability to succeed. It could have taken re-evaluation of the direction they were going. Certainly a decision of how dedicated they were to reaching their achievements.? Buried under the water their faces wedged into sand they bravely stood up, remembered their vision and kept going.? Because like the ways of the ocean, they trusted there would be flow again.

As an athlete, I have watched myself go through this many times.? It hasn??t been easy.? I remember when I decided I wanted to start running competitively.? I couldn??t even run a block without stopping. So I ran from one light post to the next before I would walk. Eventually I ran an entire mile. I had a goal of someday winning races.? What it took for me to get from where I was to where I am now has been a wild ride.? But I wouldn??t change a thing.? Today I am not only a professional athlete, but also a single mother and a running/cycling coach. ?I also teach Pilates and yoga and am a licensed massage therapist.? Balance is a challenge.? Sometimes just as trying to swim in rough waters, I loose sight of my goals. But I always have in my heart my ultimate goal. ?I have fallen many times. ?I have not only lived but learned to thrive again after two separate near death experiences.? I could have simply decided to give up.? Each time I was told I was lucky to live but I would never race again. Instead I found the courage to remember my dreams and move once again towards them.

An important tool for me is to have a game plan.? I have huge goals to set the bar high. But I also have many smaller goals sending me in the direction of what it ultimately is I want.? This way I appreciate the journey it is taking me to get there.? I do things every day that add up to bring me closer to my vision of a successful happy life.? When things go wrong I certainly face them and evaluate what happened.? I strive to learn the lessons and make decisions of what I will do differently. I ask myself how I can use the setback as a platform to move forward and up.? When things go right it is also important to celebrate and be excited. Of course this creates momentum.

Realize the challenges of life are part of the human experience.? It is just like the rise and fall of the ocean.? Decide you are going to make your dreams come true.? Set goals. Be willing to fail and ultimately you will look back someday and see how both the ebb and flow of life brought you to who you are today.? Love it, celebrate it, and continue dreaming and creating your own amazing life.

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I will always remember waking up at the age of 12 to the pain I saw in so many while simultaneously realizing how lucky I was to feel fantastic.

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