“Eagerly Pursue Extreme Challenges”…this large banner hangs prominently across the front of our home training hall. Sounds great till I come face to face with a challenge worthy of being dubbed “extreme”, then I’m almost scared spitless.
About seven years ago, I had the honor of starting a new karate club with a good friend and exceptional martial artist. We weathered the many ups and downs and negotiated the learning curves associated with growing a successful club. In the lean times, we held weekly two person pep rallies over sandwiches after class to keep things in perspective and plan in faith for the successful future that was surely just around the bend. In the good times, we delighted in the success of our students and celebrated each of their victories…also over sandwiches.
Recently, he moved on to another extreme challenge of his own leaving me as the sole chief instructor for the club. I’ve been teaching and assistant teaching for more than a decade and have traveled the world conducting training sessions…so naturally I panicked. It is far easier to rely on the more extensive experience and natural leadership skills of my counterpart than to make real decisions.
The training wheels are off. Panic waned, logic kicked in, and after a little cell phone time, we had some spectacular helpers whose strengths are my weaknesses. Like a bike, we are picking up speed and feeling more stable.
Doing what is safe and comfortable is just that…safe. The extreme challenge is where safety stops; safety from both defeat AND high achievement. Bikes with training wheels rarely fall over. They also don’t go off “any sweet jumps” as Napoleon Dynamite would say.
P.S. My first real bike had training wheels until I was eight. The clinical term for my maladjustment was “being a ‘fraidy cat”, but not today. Today, I have friends and Band-Aids.
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