Last week I blogged about the need for closure. The comments I got on that post got me thinking about what it takes to begin something.
This coming Saturday I’m set to ride 100km around London on behalf of the charity Mind. I have trained for the event, my bike is cleaned and I have my travel arranged. I’m almost at my sponsorship target, I’ve packed my toolkit / spares and yet whilst I’m definitely ready to go, there is still a nagging doubt. I’ve worked out that the doubt is around the fact that it is a night event. So, between now and Saturday night I need to work on my mental approach to the event and ensure that beyond being “ready”, I’m also “steady” – to settle in the blocks as it were – so that come the challenge so I can “Go”.
I wondered when this thinking had been a pattern before and uncovered an interesting point. I’ve been in operations all my life and have often joked that “I was born ready” yet when I look back over my career, I’m not sure I’ve ever been “Ready”. Let me give you an example, a few years ago I was working on New Years Eve. I was an Operational Manager for London Underground, based on the Northern line. I got a call from the Victoria line controller. He asked me if I could deal with an incident as he didn’t have a manager nearby. I jokingly answered him – “well apart from an absence of knowledge about your trains and route layout I’m your man” – his response was that it wouldn’t be a problem. It was a triple stabbing he needed me to take care of. Now honestly, was I “ready” for that moment? No, my training had not covered organised criminals carrying out turf wars on the railway. Was I “steady”? Yes. I was. I knew that I could lead, take control of that situation and move it forward. Again, I was comfy in those blocks and able to burst forward and manage the incident.
We’ve all met people who just need to take one more qualification, another course, or perhaps wait until they have a certain amount of money in the bank before they make a decision. I know others who are continually jumping the gun and hearing a “go” before they are ready (or indeed others in their life are ready to go with them) so for me, this point about being steady is very important. All the planning and preparing in the world counts for nothing if you cannot enact your strategy and similarly, rushing in is just as counterproductive.
For me, “steady” is about a certain inner strength and calm in those stressful times. However I appreciate that for you, it may be something completely different so please do comment on the blog and let me know how you get “steady” so that you are ready to go!
Oh and one last request, I’m still a little way away from my target of £700. With that money Mind can set up a carers support group to help the families of people struggling with mental health conditions. Please do sponsor me, £2, £5, whatever you can spare to help the 1 in 4 people in the UK who face such challenges. Thank you.