- My years of running 6 days per week and logging long miles are over.
- I’m not ready to say goodbye to running.
And so, the accordion continues to move in and out as I run, feel great, run some more, overdo it, rest, pull back on the distances and start the song again. I know that the formula I’m using isn’t perfect and I also know that I’m getting closer to figuring out what will work for me. So, when I awoke to a +12 day one morning this week, the call of the clean, dry running path in the park was too much for me to resist.
As I drove down to the park (even this small change is a big one for me; at one time I would have thought nothing of running the two kilometres downhill to get to the park and then running back up at the end, not really even counting these kilometres in my total and definitely never considering the effect of the pounding of the downhill portion) a deer ran across the road in front of me and I had to brake to avoid her. All of the years of us living in the country has made me acutely aware of watching for wildlife as I drive, so this sighting was not a surprise to me. In many ways, it was a comforting reminder that nature is not as far away from my front door as I sometimes think.
As I watched this doe gracefully prance across the road, I marveled at her ability to seem so effortless in her agility. There were trees on the far side of the road and once she reached them, she quickly maneuvered in and around them with ease. I have seen this behaviour many, many times before. Sometimes deer will find a well-worn path to travel, but if they are startled, as this one was, they still manage to navigate their new surroundings, and create new routes with seeming effortlessness.
As I continued to the park and on to my run, in between my gasps for breath, I thought about the skill of agility and about how it can serve us well in this Christmas Season.
For most of us, travelling a well-worn path is what we are used to and it is what gives us a sense of comfort and of control. The Christmas Season is fraught with so much busyness, that if we at least are able to feel like we know how to navigate parts of it, we feel better. What happens then, when something shifts; when some of our plans get changed at the last minute? What happens when we run out of a key ingredient for our family’s favourite treat? Or when the gift we had ordered does not arrive on time? Or when unexpected guests arrive at our door… just before we have a chance to vacuum? Or when the outfit we thought we’d wear to the company party turns out to have ‘shrunk’ since we last put it on?
How agile are we when we are startled, when our familiar paths are blocked and we need to find new routes?
Agility is a such a valuable skill to carry with us through this season. It gives us the ability to gracefully change direction and yet still find a way to make it safely to our destination. A key part to this of course, is to actually know what our destination is!
If we are hoping to simply survive to the end of the holiday season, then almost any path will do. Agility may be required, but more likely it will look like we are simply bulldozing our way through. We may knock over a few trees on the way, we will likely not notice the carnage we leave in our wake, and chances are we won’t look back on our season having created memories that anyone will want to repeat.
If, however, our plan is that we get to the end of the holiday season feeling pride for how we acted and reacted, and feeling proud of the atmosphere we have created in our lives, then agility will become our much-needed friend. We will be able to notice when our trying to force our original plan is not only fruitless, but that it detracts from the atmosphere we are trying to create. When we are agile, we move easily around and through obstacles, with a seeming effortless, like my ungulate friend in the park this week. By using agility to get through our Christmas forest we will gracefully maneuver our way through the inevitable obstacles that we will face.
Before you start warming up your agility muscles, note that exercising agility does not mean that we need to abandon all our plans. Nor does it mean that other people’s agendas should override our own. If we overuse our agility trait, we may end up not accomplishing, or pleasing anyone. The deer I was watching used just the right amount to quickly get her out of harms way and to get her into the safety of the forest. She did not continue to wear herself out by continuing to bound around trees once she accomplished her mission.
As the final week to Christmas approaches, many things will be out of your control. Use agility to not only adapt to unforeseen circumstances, but also to continue to be the person you have been creating this year.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘How can agility serve me?’
Elizabeth creates and facilitates custom workshops for corporate, public and private groups. She provides leadership coaching for individuals and groups. Book a session with Elizabeth to learn how to use agility in your life.