And how all this relates to connecting well across cultures and other potentially challenging divides
Finding my stride
Now, I’m considering how to find my stride as I write, create and grow a business – and a movement.
Think of it in these terms.
Do you run? I once did. A lot. I used to be able to run just fine, in my teens, twenties and early thirties. I regularly enjoyed runs of up to seven or eight miles ( km) long. I loved it! Until it became too much for my knees.
But my husband – he’s still out there doing half marathons and loves the runner’s high he gets from those long excursions. And I can relate since, although I can’t run any longer, I, too, am consistently sending those endorphins into my bloodstream – that natural high – on a near-daily basis.
But stride works better when we consider running (versus cycling or barre or pilates or hiking), so I’ll go for the running analogy.
There’s a point in any race – or even a practice run – when you hit a pace that feels just right for you. Top athletes know this and are constantly calibrating their pace, their stride, as they move through a longer race.
A close friend of mine is running the Boston Marathon today and then will challenge the Big Sur Marathon at the end of this month. She is an amazing runner with a story of resilience and resurgence. It’s almost as if running is in her blood. She knows, almost instinctively, how to pace herself, and just how long her stride should be.
At 48, she’s already competed in dozens of marathons. Now, after a stroke and the recovery from that, she aims simply to do her best. She knows what stride she needs to maintain to complete the race and come in at a time that she can be proud of.
In a like manner, there’s a need to “hit a stride” in the work we do, in the relationships we cultivate, in the ways we serve, in the habits we form, and in the manner in which we live out our daily lives. Of course, there are people, situations and events – often outside our control, disrupting our stride at times. But still, we keep our eye on that prize – completing the race well, and arriving at a time we can be proud of – as we move forward.
How does all this relate to connecting across cultures?
We have an opportunity in this modern day and age to push ourselves outside our comfort zones. So many people – myself included at times – fail to do that on a consistent basis. When we don’t, we stagnate. But when we do, we grow.
Growth occurs outside our comfort zone, not in it.
Right now, there are most likely dozens of people in your life who are very different from you. You may or may not recognize that. But it’s true. Whether they are a spouse or significant other, child, family member, friend, acquaintance or even the person at the checkout counter when you buy your groceries, each person represents a world you likely have not explored much...yet. Some may even represent backgrounds, countries, cultures, languages, races, religions and so on you may know very little about because they are not like you.
The world, however, needs you – yes you – to push outwards, to find your stride, and to incorporate interaction with a diverse set of people to add dimension to who you are. This benefits you, because you grow, yes. But it also is essential to our communities, our countries and our world – because when we interact and really get to know “the other,” we grow our understanding and our empathy. We become fuller, more aware people – and that benefits so many.
Back to business
Yes, I’m finding my stride. Like any runner, I sometimes lose it. But more and more, as I blog and write regularly, as I interact with other likeminded creatives, and I push my limits in many areas, I am able to stay on my stride towards a winning race.
I view YourGlobalFamily as the long race I’m running to the finish line. So I definitely need to find my stride because I don’t want to burn out before the end. Like so many things in life including cultivating relationships with people different from myself, growing a business is an adventure. And most of that adventure happens outside my comfort zone.
What pushes you outside your comfort zone?