One thing about roller coasters… once it starts, you’re along for the ride, like it or not. Once you’re strapped in, how you handle the ups and downs, fear and excitement, twists and turns will ultimately determine how much you enjoy the ride.
If you stand on the ground and look at a roller coaster from a distance, you can see that the coaster starts out slowly climbing its first hill going up and up and up until it reaches a peak and then, after a short moment of stillness, it plunges back down toward the bottom before it levels out and begins the climb back up for round two. It’s a thrill on a theme park roller coaster. It’s often terrifying on the roller coaster of life.
What if you’d never ridden a roller coaster and had no idea that as you started your rapid descent toward the bottom you were not going to actually hit the ground and you were not going to die? But, it could certainly feel that way until you got the hang of it.
Often, I see people in my business and life who are experiencing some kind of trauma, stress, anxiety, downturn, or roadblock and they feel like they are headed toward certain disaster and permanent failure. It’s rarely true. They are simply on the free-fall portion of the roller coaster ride of business and life.
When I coach business leaders and professionals who find themselves in the freefall, I remind them that if they didn’t know how the roller coaster works, they’d want to jump off and never get back on. But, if they knew that they would eventually return to the upward trajectory, they’d hold on and ride it out.
The only reason to ride a roller coaster is for the thrill of the ride, up and down. And, the best way to enjoy it is to know that you will survive the freefalls and find yourself once again on the rise upward. You’ll always have a much better experience when you don’t hold on too tight or squeeze your eyes too much. When you relax into the flow of the ride, confident in your ultimate safe landing, you will enjoy the thrill and joy of the full experience.
This week, remember that when you find yourself in a free fall, when you can’t get your footing and you feel scared, anxious, lost, or any other negative emotion… just hold on. Don’t jump off. Your coaster will turn and head back up at some point. Relax, trust, and know that this is what you strapped in for… the whole ride. Scream, laugh, cry, smile, cringe and feel whatever emotions you’re faced with. But whatever you do, throw your hands up and enjoy the ride!
“Roller coasters would be so dull without their strange mysterious tracks.
I guess our destiny tends to like this idea a lot.”