I had the good fortune of participating in a running relay event with my clients this past weekend, all of whom are acquaintances to each other. We were a team of six running in relay form for about 60 miles, with no one running less than 7.4 miles total. As one person took off running the rest of us hopped in our van and moved onto the next exchange location. The van made occasional stops to cheer, stops for water, and at times just yelled encouragement out of the van windows as it zipped by. In all there were about 350 teams of people who departed at different times all doing the same thing. It was a great community of people cheering for their own team as well as others on the course.
As a coach of course I encourage people to challenge themselves and step out of their comfort zones, but sometimes that means just starting. This amazing group of people I trained with all did something they never thought they would, they met and allowed me to challenge them on night runs, and they even got all “teamy,” something not usual or comfortable for a few.
Several weeks before the event one person asked me if I thought the team was where it should be. I said I thought everyone was where they should be because everyone was participating in a level way beyond what they ever thought they would or could do. I don’t just mean in physical preparation, I mean having half of the team overcome three weeks of bronchitis only a month before race day, for overcoming injury, and for collaborating with and supporting each other.
I’ve previously written about how we all pedal at different speeds, meaning everyone is somewhere in the cycle of beginner to expert. So if you are a beginner who is using an expert not as inspiration but comparison you may find you don’t try new things. If we continue to give ourselves the space to explore new things and take the pressure off of being great, we’d find ourselves starting a lot more things that can be enjoyed and fulfilling. Fear of failure and imperfection are great limiters but if you adopt the mindset of trying something new without expectation of outcome you’ll open yourself to new experiences.