I rode my bike home from work twice last week. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for several years, but was afraid to try. The route home includes driving alongside very busy traffic and crossing two freeway ramps. But I (finally) conquered my fears and did it!
While riding, I couldn’t help but see how riding a bike home was analogous to life: there are choices you make that send you off (literally) on a different path. Every bit of the way, you make choices:
smile or don’t smile at those you encounter;
appreciate nature (or don’t);
follow the rules/laws (or take dangerous risks);
breathe and enjoy the journey OR stress and rush to get to your destination
All journeys (literal and figurative) share a common theme: It’s beneficial to look ahead and do a little planning (to be prepared), but most pleasant and constructive to be fully present.
I’ve attended several workshops for the National Board Certification Program through AZ K12. They have an excellent program. You can take one year to get certified, or two, or three.
NBCT leaves deadlines largely up to the teachers. But because there is no formal structure in terms of time, I was feeling uncertain. I started the work, but felt a bit overwhelmed. And then I realized I had to create my own timeline.
I know I want to complete it in one year.
I know what needs to be done.
Work backwards! In order to be prepared for the exam in May, I need to complete three components in five months. But I also want to leave myself time to get my work reviewed by others and make changes if necessary.
So, I am giving myself a little over one month for each component.
You’d think that giving myself this structure with deadlines would cause more stress. Au contraire! I’m feeling MUCH better knowing I have five weeks to complete my first component. This enables me to measure my progress week to week. This will increase my chances of success.
Sometimes, I forget to work backwards, but it’s so helpful.
Is there a goal you have – personal or professional – where backwards planning might prove helpful?
My optometrist told me about his Corvette Stingray. He got it from a couple who purchased a brand new car and needed space in their garage. Everything in the Corvette was shot: the engine, upholstery, paint, some of the body was dented. They had it towed to his house.
Two years later, his Stingray is on the road. He fixed the engine himself. The upholstery still needs to be replaced, but the car has come back from the dead. The doc worked on it every weekend for two years.
Sometimes, our dreams might take years, because we “only have the weekends” to work on them. But with diligence and consistency, they WILL actualize.