The first two years I began running I did pretty much all of my running by myself and it seemed as if I was just plodding along. My times weren’t getting any better and I was frustrated. I blamed it on my continuous weight loss as I was making the journey down from being very obese but I knew there had to be something else to it.
Finally, at a half marathon, I began running with an older gentleman around the tenth mile. As we ran together and talked I noticed his feet didn’t seem to even be touching the pavement. I meanwhile was slapping the pavement with aggression. Finally, I asked this really nice guy, “Why do you seem to glide while I seem to slap hard down on the pavement.” His response not only changed the trajectory of my running but also how I pursue every other aspect of my life.
Find your rhythm
“Find your rhythm”, he quietly replied. “When you find your own rhythm and stop trying to duplicate what somebody else is doing, running and life will even themselves out.” We went on to talk about how running long distances doesn’t get easier, after all, you’re still running lots of miles. However, the effort to propel your body forward becomes less and the effect on your body decreases.
After another couple years of finding my rhythm I have finally found my motion and now I too get comments about how effortless it looks. Even when we’re on a single track trail and going up and over roots and rocks, ascending and descending, I am more confident in my ability to find my balance and propel myself toward whatever distance I am running that day. Recovery is quicker, ice is less needed and I am ready to roll the next day.
Applying Rhythm to Every Day Life
I began to apply this concept to my professional life also. Being in sales it was a difficult transition because you’re always a part of an organization and there’s always a superstar to compare yourself to or rather for management to compare you to. I found that as I applied “find your rhythm” to my sales career that I was less stressed about closing that deal and more in tune with what my client needed. I was able to solve my client’s problems and find unique ways to deliver what they needed. My rhythm came from not comparing myself to others and just being myself. This past year I was rewarded with being named in the Top Ten Most Profitable in my company. Not too shabby considering I was “competing” against over two hundred other individuals.
I began writing just over a year ago as I believed that I had a lot to say. I’ve experienced a lot in life as I’ve been in the military, been married for over 30 years to the girl I first met when I was fifteen, been part of an inner city ministry that went to the roughest of neighborhoods and ministered to children and saw hundreds commit their lives to following Jesus, been a salesperson for small businesses all the way up to large corporations and spent seven years on the mission field helping new Jesus followers to plan and start businesses. However, when I began writing I was trying to write like all of the authors that I have read over the years and couldn’t find my voice. I struggled with this whole writing thing until one day I remembered those words during a half marathon.
Find your rhythm.
As I applied those words to my writing the words began to flow. I still need to carefully check and re-check my writing as grammar and punctuation don’t seem to flow but I am slowly but surely beginning to find my rhythm.
How To Find Your Rhythm
So what did I do to begin to find my rhythm in life, running, sales and now writing?
Quiet your thoughts.
Our minds are amazing things and we are capable of storing and remembering vast amounts of information and knowledge. We can either laser focus our thoughts or we can bounce all over the place and think about multiple things all at once.
The best thing we can do though is to quiet our thoughts and to focus on an inner peace. Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” You don’t have to quiet your thoughts like I do by being a Jesus follower but you have to find your rhythm in quieting your thoughts. This is important because, with a quieted mind, you can find the rhythm that will propel you to whatever success looks like for you.
Boldly move forward.
Nothing great has ever happened without somebody first taking the first step. I don’t care what you are called to pursue in life but if you are constantly waiting around for it to happen, it never will. Once your thoughts are quieted, you will find that you are presented with numerous choices. The key part here is to choose a direction and then go and do something with it.
When I was trying to find my rhythm running I would go for a run and try different methods. I would start with a method of running I had read about or studied and then I would try that for a mile. I would evaluate whether that worked for me or not. Every mile would be a different method until one day as I was running I tried something different with my stride and my foot strike until this one morning when the magic happened and everything came together.
I strung together an effortless mile followed by another and another and another and suddenly I knew “I’ve found MY rhythm!” It all began with doing something though, boldly moving forward knowing I would find that special rhythm I could call my own.
Be willing to change and adapt.
This whole writing thing is an adventure in changing and adapting. I write and then read it and then think “what garbage” and just file that away for another day. I have a file on my computer labeled “Writing Garbage” that every once in a while I visit to see if I like it better or to see if I can improve upon it.
I have watched many salespeople through the years rigidly follow the method they used to close their last big sale, only to find themselves continuously not meeting their expectations. The reason is that life is constantly changing, adapting and moving on. For me, I know that I must continue to change my character, the way I relate to others because the only constant I have is faith in a never changing God. Knowing that He will be the same today, tomorrow and forever helps me to be able to change and adapt to the society and culture around me so that I can always answer when called upon.
Lastly, live life to the full.
I go out and challenge myself on running trails knowing in the back of my mind that I could hurt myself. In fact, I did yesterday running in virgin powder down a mountain trail. I came to a spot where my left leg sunk in deep (we call it post-holing) and I felt my knee hyper-extend. Falling to the snow I couldn’t decide whether it was good or bad but knew that no matter how it felt I still was six miles or more away from my truck. As I lay in the snow trying to decide how hurt I was or wasn’t I realized I was missing the point of the whole run.
Whether hurt or not I needed to enjoy the moment and live life to the full. I call this living the ultra life and base it on John 10:10b “….I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” We have one shot at this incredible thing called life so why not live it to the full. Whether you are writing, being a secretary or a mom or running ultra-marathons there is a whole lot of life to be lived and only you can begin to live it. If you are serious about finding your rhythm and doing exactly what you are called to do then you will immediately stop worrying about what others think of you, whether they’ll accept what you’ve just written or not and just go for it with gusto.
Live an ultra life, a life lived to the full and watch and see what will happen when you stop living on the last great victory you had and just pursue victory after victory and have an incredibly fun time all the time living life like there’s no tomorrow.
Your life is full of promise
I don’t know what life has for you but I know it is full of promise. Oh sure, you are going to suffer some defeats, get some nicks and bruises, maybe even hyper-extend your knee. The amazing thing is when you find your rhythm you will find that life just seems to move around you and it doesn’t matter what race you’re running you are going to finish with the grace that is uniquely yours to offer.