‘You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks’.
I’ve always been a chaser of ‘shiney new things’. Not so much material things as new experiences, opportunities and challenges.
’Never say no to an opportunity’, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’, ‘If it matters, you’ll always find time’.
Those mantras have shaped my personal life: run a half marathon, then a marathon, more marathons, the New York Marathon, compete in the Coast to Coast. Volunteer once a week teaching yoga, then twice a week, then three times, then four…
Why wouldn’t I? I love it!
Work has been the same. Any good project, development opportunity, chance to do something different, I’ll take it. Especially any chance to do something good in the world.
‘Shiney new thing paradise’
My last role was ‘shiney new thing’ paradise – delivering social good, leadership development opportunities, interesting new projects all around me.
Why would I say no to any of it?
I’d get quietly frustrated when others, from my line manager to my CEO, would say ‘that’s great Christine, and what are you going to stop doing if you do that?’
Why would I stop anything? It all matters, doesn’t it?!
This week, I realised they were right.
Knowing when to stop
The weekly commitment that I’ve most loved and looked forward to for the past four years has been teaching yoga at Arohata prison. I get to share my yoga, make a contribution, see the difference I am making, experience a different side of life, and enjoy lots of laughter and lightness.
If you’d told me a couple of weeks ago I was going to give it up, I would have said no way.
But this week I taught my last classes.
I’m in the thick of creating a social enterprise. I’m 100 per cent committed to that, I’m passionate about it, I want to make it a success and I want it to make a difference.
It’s taking every ounce of my time, my passion and my focus.
And every ounce, is every ounce. I thought somehow I’d keep finding more to teach yoga. But however you count it, that has to mean fewer ounces for the ‘big game’.
If I was sitting down this week to write a game-plan for my new venture and my life, I wouldn’t add in four hours to teach yoga each week if I wasn’t already doing it.
So if I wouldn’t start it, why wouldn’t I stop it?
Keeping your eye on the destination
Sometimes we have to ask ourselves if what we are doing today is getting us closer to where we want to be tomorrow.
Teaching yoga got me here. It taught me heaps about the joy of giving. It’s been instrumental in my decision to leave my job and create a life that enables me to give more. But it’s not going to get me there.
As Winston Churchill says: ‘You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks’.
I assume he was just talking about the mean growly dogs, the negative distractions. But we’ll never get to our destination if we stop to play with every cute, friendly one either.
So teaching yoga was one of my barking dogs. It’s been a tough and emotional choice to walk on by – but I know it will still be there waiting when I’m ready to go back to it.
What is the dog that barks in your life?