Thursday, June 20, 2024
Photo: "Water Colours" by Mike Murchison
Guest Commentary

Singing in The Rain

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not

by Paul Kearley

Paul Kearley

Rain, again.

“Great.” I thought.  “Do I really want to go for a run in this?”

“Well,” I reasoned, “If I don’t go now, I’ll have to go later today and it could be much worse.”

I lay in bed, enjoying the warmth of the blankets, making excuses for staying there, and the excuses were winning.  Finally, with great effort, I crawled from underneath the comforter, grudgingly dragged my running gear on and stepped out the door.

It was dark and wet… Sopping  wet. Standing in the middle of the driveway, I asked myself again if I really wanted to do this.  I shouldn’t be running in the rain, what if I slipped?  What then? I could be out for a few weeks.”  Then my other side kicked in, “C’mon Paul this is only an 8 kilometre run, it’ll take you 40 minutes.  Don’t be so lazy.   You like running in the rain, some of your best times have come running in the rain.”

So, I shooed the ducks from the road in front of me, reset my stopwatch, and plodded out on the sidewalk and set out in the rain.

I didn’t have any particular route in mind; I thought that today I would just let my feet go where they wanted to without any influence from me. It was hard going with the wind and water blowing in my face, but after I actually got going, it wasn’t that bad, and seeing that I had committed to the run, it took some of the dread out of it.

As normally happens while I am out running, I mentally go over my day and plan my strategies so I can hit the ground running, so to speak. But today, maybe it was the rain, maybe the darkness, but all I was feeling was tired and frustrated.

Up ahead of me on the sidewalk a woman was shuffling along, her belongings stashed in a small cart she was dragging along behind her.

Still a ways off, I noticed her actions as she walked, or should I say danced.  She was walking in a kind of shuffle/skip where she’d shuffle a step, skip one step and kick at a puddle to send water off in all directions.  Then she’d do it again.

She didn’t hear me coming, so she kept on shuffle-skipping along.  Then when I was about 20 feet behind her, she pumped her arm in the air and let out a cackling “woo hoo!” just like she had just won the lottery or something.

When I came abreast of her seconds later, she just looked at me and said “well, I hope you have your best day ever!” and she skipped gleefully right into a large puddle that I had to run around.

How can you not be affected by that?  Blatant, genuine, real  joy.

Right there in the middle of a rainstorm, by a complete stranger, I had an instant “tuning in” to what was really important in life: Living with joy and passion and not caring what other people thought of it.

Instantly, the problems that I was running through my head didn’t seem like problems anymore and the excuses that I had for not getting out seemed trivial.

I honestly envied that woman and her joy and I wanted some of it. That kind of joy has been missing in my life for a while now, and I wanted it back.

Remember when you played more? Remember how good you felt and how good you felt towards others?

Remember when you laughed more? Remember how free you felt as you thought about nothing else except the exquisiteness of the moment and the joy that was in it?

Remember when you dreamed more?  Do you remember that feeling in the vastness of your imagination that anything was possible, and the joy that created?

Where did it all go? What happened to it?

Before you say anything about responsibilities, or kids, or co-workers, or employees, or time, or stress, or anything else, I really want you to think about it.  Where did your joy go?

Did you give it up by choice, or did it leak out of you, one laugh at a time, only to be refilled by new choices of stress and self consciousness?

Yes, I did say “choice”.  As uncomfortable as it is to say, we choose how we feel in any situation. You are the only gatekeeper to your emotions and your attitudes, no matter what happens to you.  As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

How then do you create more joy and positiveness in your life?

Do something you enjoy, even if the conditions aren’t perfect. Don’t let a little rain (or any minor inconvenience) hold you back from activities that bring you joy.

Embrace spontaneity. Let go of rigid plans and be open to new experiences. You never know what hidden gems you might discover when you take a detour.

Find joy in the simple things. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty of a rainy day, the laughter of a stranger, or the warmth of a cup of tea.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Express your joy freely, just like the woman dancing in the rain. Life is too short to hold back your light.

This week, why not try creating more joy in your life? All you have to lose is the effort, and all you have to gain is your happiness and peace of mind.

Make this your best week ever.


Paul Kearley is a professional leadership, communications and sales coach for businesspeople who are taking command of their career and making an impact. He has worked as a business coach and trainer, Virtual Trainer, and speaker since 1985.

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