I remember vividly the day I learned to ride a bike. Of course, I didn’t learn just that day. It involved riding with training wheels for a while, before I was ready to ride without them.
But one summer morning, my dad removed the training wheels from my bike, and held onto me as I slowly pedaled around the cul-de-sac where we lived.
I knew my dad was going to let go at some point, and that he wouldn’t tell me beforehand. It was an effective method for me, because although my sensitivity can make me cautious, I also have a strong, independent spirit, and plenty of imagination.
The independent part of me longed to ride on my own, to balance freely, to feel the wind on my face. My desire to master riding the bike gave me the courage to let go of my fear of falling off. It inspired me to try.
Just before I rode on my own for the first time, I heard a subtle change in my dad’s voice. He told me he was going to push the bike to give it a start, but I knew instead of holding on and jogging beside me, he was going to let go.
It was okay; I was ready to try, and it helped me to imagine my dad was still holding on.
When he let go, the bike felt less stable, yet the forward momentum almost gave it wings. I felt the sense of moving through space, unsupported by anything except the bike itself and my own sense of balance. It was perfect.
I rode in a big circle around the court, and back to my dad. He was thrilled and excited, telling me I’d done it on my own. I think I smiled and hid some of my deep feeling, sharing some, but keeping some of it for myself.
It was wonderful and exciting! And reflecting on that experience reminded me of four important aspects of moving toward our dreams.
Who we are being helps or hinders us. Open or closed, optimistic or pessimistic.
In my case, I was open to listening to my knowing self. It was the spiritual act of trusting that I would be okay, even if I fell off. I didn’t let my mind “psych me out.” I used my excitement to bypass my fear, and give me the courage to let go and glide.
Check in with yourself. If you’re expecting that you can’t do something, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Listen to that still, knowing voice that you can do it, because you can.
Imagination is a wonderful gift. I let myself imagine my dad was still holding me up for the first few pedals after he let go, and it gave me the confidence to do it on my own.
Imagination is powerful. Imagine yourself doing what you love, and let it pull you toward your dream.
To balance on the bike, I had to keep the momentum going. I had to keep pedaling!
You won’t get there without taking action. Take small steps until you are ready to glide!
We all need support now and then. I had someone who believed in me so much, he pushed me to take each scary step, but he didn’t let go before I was ready. (Thanks, Dad!)
Get the support you need. Ask a friend to be your accountability buddy. Join a group of people who do a similar type of creative work, such as a writer’s group, or a potter’s guild. Hire a coach to help you break through inertia, and set up good habits that keep you moving.
As a coach, I help people face their insecurities and fears with courage and faith, so they can focus on taking concrete steps.
This is what I love about being a coach; I’m kind of like the training wheels on my clients’ dreams, helping them move forward. And when they’re ready, when they don’t need my support anymore, I get to see them pedal off in the direction of their true lives.
It’s a beautiful sight.
Let your inspiration pull you toward your dreams. Because the world needs your gifts.