As a now single woman, I am forced to be responsible for things way outside my comfort zone. I have to take care of the car, the home improvements, the finances, in addition to the household chores, shopping and all of this can feel overwhelming. Am I right single ladies?
In order to cope, I find myself putting off things I don’t want to deal with. In my mind, the challenge becomes larger and scarier as time goes by. Enter the bike…
Recently, I listened to several powerful talks on excuses, and I realized immediately that I was living in the land of excuses. I decided to conquer one bicycle excuse at a time, taking small manageable steps that, once completed, would give me a sense of accomplishment and victory. My steps looked something like this.
- Chopped my project down into smaller pieces: read instructions, attempt to put bike rack on car, attempt to purchase new bike tire, attempt to put new tire on, visit local bike shop to ask about services and equipment (helmet), put aside money for repairs, take bike to shop, practice putting bike on rack, ride the bike around parking lot, ride bike on bike path.
- Decide what the very first step could be and do it. Did I need to look up information on the internet, make a phone call to someone who is knowledgeable or just take out the instruction manual? Could I assemble the needed tools, research my options, or simply open the box?
- I started with the first step and was gentle with myself. I couldn’t expect mastery, just action. I did not need to belittle myself for my lack of knowledge or skill, just congratulate myself on my willingness to learn. Humility is a great virtue here. I attempted the project (putting the bike rack on the car), reading the cartoon directions with little written instructions and following the steps. Breathe! I prayed for grace and moved forward. I also needed to remind myself that others have figured this out and I could too.
- I had to give myself permission that if I felt stuck or had trouble, I could ask someone for help. Was there a neighbor, family member, coworker, or store owner I could ask for a little free or inexpensive assistance? Many people are excited to help when we admit we have a need. I had to swallow my pride, admit I need people, and ask. I wanted to double check that the rack was properly attached, so I asked a bike shop owner if he could take a look at it for me. He has happy to do so and made a few small suggestions, but overall said it looked fine.
- Celebrate the first victory! I did it. I sidestepped my excuses and conquered the first challenge. Now on to the next one.
- Rinse and repeat, at a reasonable pace. For me the next step was admitting I needed help to get the bicycle to fit me and be functional. I know next to nothing about bikes. So I went to the same bike shop and asked if they could do some minor repairs, and they did. They answered my questions, recognizing my sincere desire to learn and they were not condescending or arrogant. If they had been, I would have taken my business elsewhere. I do not need to allow people to treat me that way or fuel my insecurity. Look for those who genuinely care about helping you grow in knowledge and confidence.
- Celebrate each consecutive victory! I spend too much time beating myself up or feeling inadequate. I need to recognize a job well done, even if to others it seemed like a simple task. Let others celebrate with you. I posted a Facebook live video with my excitement, which I post here so you can celebrate with me.
What fear or feeling of inadequacy will you challenge today? What will be your first step?