What if not everything goes as it should go and you are tempted to express your frustration on a random object (a wall, an empty trash bin or on each other)?
Last weekend dit not go as planned. Too bad. We were planning to run a 20 mile race in England. The moment we first set foot on English soil, there was an unfortunate turn of events. On the dashboard, there was an annoying flashing light and not just any light. This specific light indicated in a very bright flickering way that something was wrong with the engine. At first, we were hoping that we were dealing with a broken light. But the resisting engine and the annoying sound as if the car was a chain smoking diesel engine itself, meant nothing good was happening. The professional opinion of the roadside assistance was that we could not continue our way. The car indicated roadside assistance was right and decided to limit its speed to approximately 6 miles an hour. This all happened when we had just entered the middle of nowhere. Whoops!
About the same time as the engine failing, Helen was experiencing internal malfunctions as well. Fortunately, they were able to fix the car and Helen was able to ignore her issues. This way we showed up at the start of our run just in time. After 6 miles it turned out Nadine could also malfunction. A sudden bang to her knee ensured that she went from running, to walking, to limping. After 10 miles we were not able to go any further and took a shortcut to the hospital. While others were challenging themselves on an ambitious course, Helen and Nadine sat in the emergency room. This weekend everything really appeared to be malfunctioning and we were devastated, but somehow looking back on our weekend makes us smile. How is that possible?
Accept. First of all, we had to let go of our internal control freak. We had no influence over the situation, but we were able to determine our reaction to the situation. We accepted that not everything went according to plan and decided to have a good time despite of it. Having to leave the race was a disappointment, but this was the factual situation and from there we looked forward.
We refuse to be a victim, back then, now and in the future. You never win by wallowing in self-pity and blaming the entire world of your misfortune. We were not happy with the outcome, so it was up to us to take action to change the outcome; and so we did. We called, we talked, we asked for help, in every situation there was always something we could do to ensure the outcome would improve. This way, the car-free camping place suddenly turned out to be really good accessible by car, with a little bit of help from security.
Whatever has your attention, grows. So do not aim your attention on what did not go well, but focus on the positive. Nadine was not able to walk anymore, but the partying went pretty good! Of course the 15 different tastes of cider contributed to this…
Perspective. Okay, this weekend did not go as planned. But there was no permanent damage. In about a month, we will probably be fully recovered and our car will still be driving. So, why bother over something that is not the end of the world (or is not even reality yet). It may feel annoying at the moment, but if you change your approach the negative aspect will lose its grip on you.
Adding everything up, our weekend provided us with some challenges. But when we decided to Accept, take Action, aim our Attention and change our Approach, we were able to face to challenges with a smile on our face. Looking back, we enjoyed the atmosphere, the start of the race, the first 10 miles of the race, the company, the good food and each other. Will be back for another challenge next year!
Helen and Nadine
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