I recently returned from a motorcycle trip to Colorado. When I came back to the Bodysmith, several members asked me, “how was your vacation?”

My response was the same each time. “Terrifying.” Let me explain…

A good friend shares my love for two-wheeled locomotion, and we’ve promised ourselves we would go on regular honest-to-goodness motorcycle adventures in the mountains, even though I find these trips alternately scary and exhilarating.

In more than a dozen years riding a motorcycle, I’ve come to accept the inherent dangers that come from sharing the road with other vehicles. That’s why I am what you call a “risk-averse” rider. I stay at the speed limit, take it easy around the curves, and don’t feel the need to scoot past every car on the road. Toss in the added challenge of mountains and you’ll find I’m focused intently on the pavement, gripping the handlebars so tightly that my hands go numb. Only when we stop and stretch our legs am I fully able to take in the surrounding landscape.

Is it the risk of bodily injury that keeps me so white-knuckled on my motorcycle in the mountains? Maybe. Falling hurts, and just riding is dangerous enough for me on its own—no need to take extra risks. But while I like to stay in my comfort zone on the bike, it’s not how I choose to live all areas of my life.

As humans, we are hard-wired to resist change because of the risk it brings. Physically, our body constantly works to maintain homeostasis (science-y term for staying the same) in its temperature, blood chemistry, and about everything else that goes on inside. And our minds function in a similar manner: resisting changes in our behaviors, beliefs, or habits.

But I learned a long time ago that change—and the discomfort that comes from change—often brings with it the opportunity for advancement…or to put it another way…for growth.

It started back when I was a young, largely self-taught guitarist. I didn’t know what I was doing, and in many ways barely knew how to play. But I joined my first band and began a nearly forty-year performance career. I wasn’t good. I made mistakes and looked awkward, and it was a long, painful journey of trial and error before I had any competency as a musician. Let me tell you that for a shy kid, this was not easy, but I kept with it.

Similarly, when I wanted to take my passion for fitness to others, I knew I needed to do something different. I spent much of my life in gyms and knew what I DIDN’t want to be, but I didn’t know much about starting a business. It wasn’t the easiest or most comfortable thing to do with little money, no plan, no business experience, and no clue!

Suddenly I was hiring, firing, dealing with city ordinances and inspections, providing customer service, paying rent and wages, all while just trying to help people change their lives for the better. It really was a wake-up call for my younger, optimistic self. It was a rocky journey, but I’d like to think I’ve done a few things right and been rewarded with the opportunity to help more people.

In the years since, we’ve had ups and downs. But, the Bodysmith managed to survive a pandemic and the changes that came our way. While I don’t expect the future to always be easy, I know that the more time I spend outside of my comfort zone, the better the gym AND its members will be.

Returning to my motorcycle ride…

As timid a rider as I am, I am better than I used to be. I may never look like a life-long rider…and I don’t want to be an “Evel Knievel,” but I have grown comfortable enough to regularly breathe easy and take in the scenery.

So think back on your own life for a moment. Were there times you got uncomfortable, and things turned out for the better? Maybe you took a chance with a new job or career or went on a date that led you to end up with your spouse. Congratulations!

If there are other areas you are thinking about making a change, drop me a note. I’d love to hear about it or help if you ask.

~Coach Brad

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