It’s Tough To Reach Your Peak Performance If You’re Not Willing To Try A New Gear

Our picture perfect day yesterday inspired me to get out for a bike ride. As I headed up the hill and downshifted, it took a few clicks for the gears to respond. I realized I was long overdue for taking my bike in for service. Were I so remiss with teeth cleaning I’m quite sure I’d have some lovely false teeth by now.

As my gears struggled to sync, it occurred to me that despite having 24 of them, I really only give the middle 8 a workout. I imagined picking my bike up after getting serviced and having the guy at the bike store remind me there are another 16 which pretty much remained untouched – and asking if I needed him to show me how to use them. It’s not that I don’t know how, it’s just that I’m comfortable in the middle. A serious biker, I knew, would shake their head at the performance gain I was giving away.

While out enjoying the sunshine, I remembered the conversation with a good friend who’d been working on what she called her ‘little project’. It all started after she put together an event that featured four highly accomplished female pioneers, women now in their 80s and 90s. While their accomplishments are legendary, theirs aren’t the faces of the pillars in their industry. In addition to coming from a time when a glass ceiling wasn’t yet named, they apparently also came from one that frowned on bragging. And so they didn’t.

Creating The Change We Seek

My friend knew that theirs is a story that needs to be told and the power of it will be lost when they pass away. So she set out to do something about it. Though not a filmmaker herself, she decided to make a documentary about them. It was challenging enough to get these four understated women on a panel together, so you can imagine the herculean effort that went into getting them to agree to be filmed for a far more public venture. Despite my friend’s public profile and the many logistics associated with any filmmaking endeavor, she’s forged forward to get a story out that she knows should be told.

It’s a wonderful example of tuning into what has meaning for each of us and setting out to do something about it. In many cases, as with my friend, deciding to do so carries with it new risks, learnings and experiences that stretch and humble us and force us out of our comfort zones. When I’ve seen those around me do so, I’ve observed again and again that oftentimes this is where their best performance happens.  

On my return ride I decided to give those lower ⅓ of my gears a try with the wind newly whipping at my face. The lower gears gave me the boost I needed. So I turned right and climbed up an extra hill before wrapping up my ride.

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