While in Louisville last week I had the opportunity to run on the bridge over the river to Indiana. This is the third time I have been to Louisville for the GIC and each time I get on the bridge I find myself looking at the gaps between the floor and the support beams. I’ve also looked over the railing and wondered what if I dropped the iPhone out of my hand. I’m not sure why I would think this but that little worry pops up every time. It’s a nice treat to escape from convention life out into the fresh air and each time I am in Louisville I try to squeeze in a bridge run or two. Later that evening after my run, I spoke to Steven who owns a commercial maintenance company on the East Coast. His company is a bit larger than Dowco, in fact he told me that they have about 100 employees and that number swells to 300 during the winter. This accomplished, self assured man told me that he too had run across the bridge, however for him this was a huge accomplishment. You see Steven is afraid of heights, so much that he started across the bridge turned around and decided not to do it. He mustered up the courage to step on the bridge again and began to run across it. He told me that as he ran towards the middle of the bridge all sorts of thoughts crossed his mind. For example a man was going the opposite direction and he wondered what if he pushed him off. Physically running across the bridge was not the challenge; the challenge was the fear in his mind. Steven said that when he made it across and as he ran back he felt like “Rocky.” As we spoke several hours later and I could see the lingering euphoria he had felt as he conquered that bridge. Really it wasn’t the bridge but his fears he conquered.
Here was a man who has achieved success in his life. He had come to Louisville with an entirely different agenda, and he yet worked in a personal challenge. There was nothing compelling him to do this, he was there to gather business tips and create strategies for success, but because of this he went home changed. As I spoke with Steven I was amazed to find him filled with the same excitement and optimism that we all feel after an athletic race. This personal bridge running milestone energized him and he will take home the reward that comes when you challenge yourself to move out of your comfort zone. What bridge do you want to conquer?
“Although when you first step out of your comfort zone it may feel difficult and fearful, you will at some point become comfortable again.” – Wendy Heam