One event that continues to shape my life was my time at Parkside Ranch.
Parkside was a camp that taught horseback riding, archery, rifle, and a host of water sports. The activity that captured my attention was archery. Although I was not very good when I began, the challenge of hitting the target seem to capture me. How many of you have been captured by the challenge of hitting a particular target in business? I believe this archery story sticks with me as I see many business parallels.
I remember the first day I stepped on the archery range. I was excited!! The thought of hitting the target with the arrow was captivating and exhilarating. I remember picking up my bow and arrow pulling back on the string fully expecting the arrow to sail through the air and hit the target. After all I was staring straight at the target, giving it all my attention and focus… or was I? Instead of hitting the target my arrow fell right in front of my feet. Yet I was not discouraged, I picked it up aimed and tried again. By the end of my time on the range I had nothing to show but a huge bruise on my arm. Frustrated I threw down my bow and was ready to leave the range when the instructor stopped me. He said, ‘Suzan you seem frustrated.’ I remember looking at him thinking “who wouldn’t be, I suck!” He then looked at me and said,
“Suzan, you must be patient, there are skills you do not yet know. You have to give yourself the time to learn the skills to become a good archer.”
He invited me to come back to the range the next day. He promised that once I learned the skills my arrow would fly. How many times have you been frustrated when you engage in a new venture and have given up because you did not like the feeling of being out of your comfort zone?
Over the next few weeks I returned to the range every day. My instructor taught me how to hold the bow. How to position my arm so that I would not end up hitting my forearm with the string and getting a huge bruise. He showed me how far to pull the string back releasing the string by allowing it to gently role off the tips of my fingers. As I practiced my arrow began to fly. I practiced for weeks, and although my arrow did take flight it did not get close to the target. Again I became frustrated, threw down my arrow and was ready to give up and leave the range. Once again my instructor stopped me with yet another lesson.
“Suzan, you must have persistence” he said. “You have just learned the skills, you must now give time for the skills to become a part of you, so that each step flows effortlessly into the other.”
Trusting my instructor’s words I returned to the range and persisted. Some days I went to the range twice a day. I was determined to have each skill effortlessly flow into the other. Although I got close to my target I still was not able to hit it.
Frustrated yet again I decided that my quest to hit the target was “stupid.” Who would care anyway? What difference would it really make in my life? After all I did not know one person who was famous or rich because they hit the bulls eye with a bow and arrow. How often have you hit a wall and allowed your frustration to stop you? In frustration you diminish the value you once placed on your target giving yourself an excuse to quit.
Just when I was ready to pack it in my instructor stopped me yet again.
“Suzan, you must now have patience,” he said. “This is the time you must relax and trust that you know that you know.”
He then told me that I was trying too hard. He requested I meet him at the range the following morning.
I must admit I showed up not expecting anything to change. When I arrived at the range my instructor told me to focus solely on my target. He requested that I no longer think about each skill or step but to trust that my body new exactly what to do. I realize now that he was asking me to be fully present in that moment and connect with my target. As I pulled back on the string, for the first time I felt the perfect time to release the arrow. As I released the string I watched my arrow sail through the air hitting the outer circle of the target. I could not believe my eyes. The next few days I practiced patience and began to trust that I knew what to do. I focused in front of me connecting with my target, being fully present in the moment.
Then came the moment, I remember pulling back on the string and releasing. This time there was a distinct whoosh sound. My arrow sailed through the air and hit the bull’s eye. From that day forward I frequently hit the bull’s eye.
What I have just described is the law of gestation. The process of conception, development and growth. All new skills have a cycle that moves us from the uncomfortable and the feeling of incompetence, to comfortable and the feeling of competence. What allows us to experience flow or life in the “zone” in the journey through practice, persistence and patience? It is only then one experiences profit. The fruits of your labor. Remember success is a journey that has many phases. Give yourself the gift of trusting the journey.
Suzan Hart is an inspirational speaker, master trainer and author. Knowing that your inner game creates your outer game Suzan’s mindset mastery, teaches hard working, results driven black men and women, to be un-apologetically recognized for their value, financially rewarded for their brilliance, and celebrated for the fullest expression of themselves. Suzan Hart went from physically exhausted and financially upside down to becoming a Black Woman Millionaire. Suzan Hart is president of HartZone Inc and the founder of the F!T is the New $eXy movement. Learn more and claim your free gift at http://www.hartzone.com