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Do not look at the rocks

Do not look at the rocks

I had a great time this past weekend enjoying one of my favorite hobbies, whitewater kayaking.  This is a fun activity that my wife and I enjoy doing together and have discovered now that the kids are out of high school and are spreading their wings. As we paddled down the river, one of the key rules that was told to me a couple of years ago kept making it into the conversation.

Look where you want to go and not at the rocks or hazards

Starting out in moving water with all sorts of hazards around can be a little intimidating.  You are trying hard not to flip over, hurt yourself or get yourself in to a potentially life-threating situation.  We are told as new boaters that your boat goes where you are looking.  If you fixate on the rocks and hazards, you are likely to find your boat heading right into those hazards that you are trying to avoid.

Are you looking at the hazards or the successful path down the river?

When I am coaching people who going through personal transitions I have noticed how common it is for people to focus on where they do not want to go compared to focusing on where they should go if they want success in their journey.    How many times have you heard friends say something like, “I am not going to make the same mistakes that X made, this time it will be different” and then that same person makes the same mistakes that they vowed not to make.

I suggest that they made those mistakes that they wanted to avoid because they were too focused on what they did not want to do and not focused enough on where they needed to be for success.

Are you saying ignore the hazards?

Hazards are all around us and we must be aware of them and manage the risks in our lives and businesses but if you keep your focus on the rock, you are going to hit the rock.  If your focus is on the safe pathways around the rocks and hazards then your focus is on the path to success.  This doesn’t mean that despite the best efforts we do not hit some rocks, experience personal setbacks or even have problems with suppliers from time to time.

It does mean that we choose not to focus on the negative “what if” scenarios until they become reality and then we deal with them the best we can.

Coach’s wrap up

Sports and physical activities are great for many reasons, one of which is that they provide tangible life lessons.  Just like in kayaking, skateboarding, skiing and who knows how many other activities, your head takes your body to what you are looking at.  When you are working through goals or tasks focus on the path of success not the hazards you have to navigate through.

Accept that there are hazards out there and you may very well hit a few but we don’t want to travel from hazard to hazard and be in a constant state of reaction we want to be moving from success to success until we are down the river safely with a big grin on our face.

What sports or activities have taught you focus on where you want to be and not the obstacles in your way?  What other types of life lessons have you pulled from your different activities?


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