Aged 12, I set off on my journey. 26km on my bike (a first-time excursion) from the seaside village where we spent our summers to my Grandparents house. After around 10km, I was greeted by a steep 1.5km hill. After 1km of the hill I was off the bike. I walked the next 250 metres. I stopped and stared wearily at the remainder of the hill. And then I turned around and headed home.
My mother greeted me with a puzzled look on arrival. I told her of the location of my turnaround.
She paused, and said, “do you realise it’s almost all flat and downhill after that hill?”.
So many times in life, we are faced with a hill. In the midst of climbing it, we can so often be blinded by the effort, struggle and hardship. As a result, we lose sight of its impermanent nature. And we give up on the hill.
We might be in the middle of a couple of busy months at work. Or having a difficult time with a client or colleague. We might be struggling to get a new product off the ground. While all genuinely challenging, they are temporary. They are hills not just to be climbed, but to be embraced. Because if we persevere with them, there’s nearly always flat or downhill ground not too far ahead.
But what’s just as important as embracing the hill is the reason for your journey.
The reason for my cycle was not to see my Grandparents. I loved spending time there. But we’d visit very often and there was no particular need for me to have to cycle there (I even recall my mother offering to drive me there beforehand as an alternative). I chose to cycle because my friend had done something similar recently. And I thought I wanted to do it too. But here’s the thing. My friend liked long-distance cycling. And he was good at it. I liked cycling, but mainly short hops here and there. But 26.4km? No. I started to sense that early in the journey. And I knew for definite by the top of the hill.
When you face a hill in your career, or personal life, the question to ask yourself is not; “can I climb this hill?”, but instead it’s, “is this the right journey for me?”.
If you’re working hard chasing a promotion, ask yourself; “is this promotion part of a journey that excites me?”. If it is, then embrace the hill.
When you’re working hard to build a client, or personal, relationship, ask yourself, “is this relationship an important part of my career or personal journey?”. If it is then embrace the hill.
And be good with the fact that, sometimes, it’s right to get down off the bike. If it doesn’t feel like the right journey for you, you’re going to struggle with the hill.
Invest your energy instead in rerouting your journey. In this way, you’ll be good to embrace any hill.