Iona ParkWe all watched the Olympics in Sochi this year and rooted for our athletes. I will admit that other than figure skating, sport that I simply adore, I am not a big fan of the winter sports. I will sometimes watch ski jumping  and cross country skiing but with the same interest I would sometimes watch curling. Read here: no interest whatsoever! As they have no one competing in figure skating, I never watched the Paralympic games, therefore I am not familiar with the names of our Paralympic athletes. So, the other day when the Global News Crew had Josh Dueck as a guest I really did not get that excited. I remained in front of the TV just because I had 2 more lives in my Fruit Splash game and it was necessary to move up a level for my and everybody else’s mood for the rest of the day. I found out that Josh became a Paralympic athlete after a work accident on the ski slopes and, he brought back home a gold and a silver medal. What actually caught my attention was what he said about how he felt after the competition: coming back home after reaching his goal, he sank into depression. So, I was confused. I would have probably still be on the phone, trying to  contact almost every human being on the planet just to inform them of my success while obviously continuing to celebrate! After all, it was only last month that it happened.

It must feel terrible when you have this great momentum working for you and reaching your goals just to have to stop and reset your life. I have never thought about success in this way. I am usually happy to put a check mark in front of a particular accomplishment and I quickly move to another project, most often unrelated to the previous one. But great accomplishments don’t work like that. Great accomplishments are more like snowballs: it is tough to start them and even harder to make them roll down the hill without breaking apart, but once you have them rolling, they will become bigger and stronger with every small or bigger task mastered.

My passing the MSA although it meant a lot to me and infused a new kind of poise into my old self was only the beginning of a momentum! I have to keep on building on my success and grow my skills and my confidence. Contrary to what I felt in my heart, by only graduating to a higher level in my training it does not mean I now am a motorcycle rider.  But how do you keep that momentum without giving into distraction? There are so many other things that either I should do or I want to do!  And what do I do with my other mind that keeps whispering into my ear that I will never be as good as my other friends and I should just give up an be happy with that I have accomplished so far?

I turned to books again and this time it was Sir Isaac Newton, the father of physics that talked to me through his First Law of Motion: the tendency of a body in motion is to keep moving; the tendency of a body at rest is to sit still. The way I understand this is that between the frequency and the duration of an action, the more important is the frequency.  The more I go out on the street and ride, the more confident and skilled I become.

When my husband asked if I were up for a longer ride than around the house as we had done so far, he thought the chances I would say yes were fifty/fifty . But I said Yes, before he finished asking. Mainly because I was scared my Other brain will start talking to my (somehow) Working brain and I will end up doubting my aptitudes and capabilities again. By the time I started realizing what was happening, I was all geared up, on my motorcycle, getting out of the garage. Too late to turn back! It was a Sunday morning with few cars on the streets so for the first part of the ride I kept on building on my confidence.  The more I advanced into the busier intersections, the less anxious I felt.  We got to Iona Park, our destination, without any incidents. I was happy but I became ecstatic when I saw how proud and happy my husband was! These days I don’t have many things to make him feel proud of me. Everything I have starts with “I used to be this and do that… ”

On our way back we stopped for a coffee in the Village. I managed to park my bike facing the street and I definitely took my time taking my helmet off, checking the oil again, cleaning a couple of imaginary spots on the seat and making sure the entire street saw me getting off that beautiful Honda. I proudly strutted towards the coffee shop where we had a coffee and let all our Facebook friends know what we were up to. For the first time, I did not feel like a fraud wearing all the gear! I was proud and happy but a bit on the verge of becoming arrogant and annoying!

All my training the phrase that kept being repeated every 5 minutes was: build your muscle memory! Well, I did build some but coming back to the bikes I realized that there was one memory that I need to work on: taking the key out of the engine when going for coffee! To my husband’s horror and my total embarrassment, I forgot to take the key with my awesome self after I parked!  Oops!

It took us another week or so until I got back into the saddle and the momentum was gone. I was shaky and unsure and made quite a few mistakes. Maybe my head was not in the game or maybe my Other mind had enough time to start questioning my abilities… I knew I know better than that! So, I put together a plan and I officially (in my head) put together a team made up of Myself and My husband as he is the most reliable person in my life. And this is the plan:

  • There will be no rides the same or on the same roads! My husband is in charge with re-setting greater goals for each ride.
  • My effort is the only one that will take me a step higher so, I will not wait for anybody to drag me out of the house but I will put the effort in blocking time for us to go riding
  • Set a date for the Road Test and work towards passing it the first time! I get distracted so easily that I am afraid that without a set date I will find something else that will sound more interesting to pursue. Scheduling my road test will feel more like a commitment not only to ICBC but to everybody around me that has been so supportive.

In Seth Godin’s words, “Momentum is incredibly useful to someone who has to overcome fear, dig in deep and ship. Momentum gives you a reason to overcome your fear and do your art ” It is easy to lose or fear momentum, he says, but when you have commitments and appointments you have to start doing the work and usually this acts like a jump start to get you into the zone.

So, for now, I will try to hang on to the momentum and see where it takes me!