Performance Condition: Fair

That’s what my Garmin said. And it glared at me with a giant, red -4. My watch is often the critic. One time, the week following a hilly half marathon, it told me I was unproductive because I did a few easy runs and (gasp) took a few days off to stretch. 

Today I was doing my typical long run when I realized that there were a TON of people out doing the same. It was impossible for me to keep my current pace and maintain the safe physical distance needed right now. I tried finding new routes, crossing streets–nothing worked. I began to intersperse walks and finally just stopped to walk altogether. 

When I run, I typically zone out. I might be jarred back to consciousness with a beep from my watch, but usually, I am lost in a blur. I don’t think. I don’t talk. I just run and watch for cars, iguanas, and spiderwebs. When I walk, it’s a different story.

Walking allows me to notice the beauty of the world around me.

Unlike when running, I do think on my walks. Today, for example, I noticed the cartoon blue sky, the twittering songbirds, the sound of the breeze in the palm leaves, and the cushiony feel of my (relatively) new running shoes. I thought about my friends I was supposed to meet up with for a race that was cancelled. And I thought about my business–about how I could use my top strengths (love of learning, kindness, leadership, curiosity, and zest) and core values (authentic leadership, making a difference, warmth and compassion) during this tough time for us all.

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But wait…there’s more

I also wrestled with how the current situation is going to require me to step out of my comfort zone (quite a bit). I’ve already been doing my coaching via Zoom for awhile, so that’s become comfortable for me. In fact, my clients like it because they cut down on drive time and feel more comfortable in their own offices/homes. Plus, I have this really great platform (Seriously, you should check it out) where my clients can brainstorm with their own white boards, converse on discussion boards, and track their goals with metrics (squee–I love data!). 

But it’s becoming evident that I’m going to need to produce more of my online content via video, webinar, and live stream. My husband even suggested a YouTube channel, which is a brilliant idea (but gives me stage fright just thinking about it). “These are things other people do, not me,” I think to myself. Even when I worked for public media, I was behind the camera  not in front of it–writing content, directing, inspiring others. I was the one analyzing and calculating pledge data, not the one on air. Still, I encourage my clients to step out of familiarity and habit. They inspire me to do the same. And this is no different.

Walking allowed me to engage self-compassion.

I was able to process all of these fears and realize that fear was all it is. Fear, perfectionism, nerves, shyness. These were all the big things I was feeling, taking the form of an imaginary troll who might make a mean comment on my post. As I walked, I did some self-compassion exercises to be mindful of those feelings, label them, and say kind words back to myself. I imagined all the wonderful people high fiving me (virtually of course) and sharing in my live streams.

I even took the time to address the glaring -4 on my Garmin, recognizing that it was a data point in time, not a judgement. And I appreciated the common humanity in it all. I know there are other people out there who have a few choice 4 letter words for their own snarky Garmins (you folks are out there, right? I’m not alone?). And stopping to walk at a slower pace allowed me this time to process, think, and be kind to myself.

By the way, I did get my run in later–in the backyard, playing with my dog, Garmin on mute. Performance Condition: Fair.  Mental Condition: Excellent.