Yesterday I was listening to a podcast produced by Runner’s World Magazine all about Spartan Races and other endurance style races. While listening, I was reminded about my own experiences attempting to complete my first obstacle run back in 2012.That race was one that required me to not only run a 10k but to crawl through mud, wade through a lake, climb rock walls, etc.. Of all of the obstacles on the course, the most challenging for me, was one that others seemingly had no problem with at all, The Balance Beam.
Throughout my life I have always struggled with balance. No, I don’t fall down when walking or get dizzy at amusement parks, but I do have a difficult time slowing down and just focusing on my next step. I like to see the big picture and try to anticipate how everything will turn out 100 yards ahead of me. I tend to look way out into the future and often neglect my next moment. Being successful on the balance beam does not allow for that.
During that race in 2012 I encountered the balance beam at mile 2 of 6, a point in which I was not yet tired. The beam was a long 4×4 piece of lumber placed about 4 feet off the ground. As I approached the beam I had to come to a complete stop in my running and generate a plan. I noticed other people were using each other for support and holding hands or climbing onto each other’s backs to get onto the beam. My pride told me I could do it by myself. I was able to get onto the beam just fine, getting across was a different story.
Walking across the beam it was very difficult for me not to look around at the four other beams located on either side of me and compare my progress to the others who were also working their way across. This was a race after all. Each time I did look around I found myself getting wobbly. It was only when I focused on what I was doing, and specifically my next movement, that I was able to make progress.The metaphor that the balance beam provides can also serve as a great reminder for so many of you.
At this time of year I know a lot of you are working tirelessly. You are trying to balance so much. You have personal lives; you have your own classrooms; you have your grade level teams; you have subject area department; you have your school; you have seemingly so many people depending on you and yet you may also feel like it is all a contest where you have to be the best. Being the best, however, requires balance.
Sometimes you just need to slow down and focus on the next step. Sometimes you need to be willing to lean on others and let them lean on you. Balance is not something that comes naturally to a lot of us. It requires focus and effort. Without the ability to balance, we may find that people do begin to pass us by. It is the willingness to tell yourself that life is about priorities and finding a way to just take it one step at a time that will allow you to work your way through the rat race. It’s ok to just focus on your next step. It is OK to slow down. It is OK to lean on others. If you want to win, balance is the key.
Balance…it’s all about balance.