Instead Of “Getting Ahead”

Segre River, La Seu d’Urgell, Catalunya (Joe Jacobi photo)

“How do you handle setbacks and disappointments?” asks the attendee.

As I ponder an answer to this question while leading a group coaching call, I consider the possible context and what leads to challenging moments.

I consider how setbacks and disappointments that appear in our pursuits are often beyond our control and relate to a response or an occurrence outside of our choosing.

When we find ourselves outside of the boundaries of “controlling the controllables,” we shift into the territory of relationships.

Naturally, nearly automatically, the idea of Relationships Bound By Water formulates in my mind.

Finding myself at the river’s put-in ready to paddle, compete, instruct, or even just float is rarely an act of convenience.

To directly interact with the river takes significant planning and effort.

As a paddler with more than 40 years of river experience, but also as someone who runs on land daily, paddling time on the water and going out the door for a run exist at opposite ends of the sport accessibility spectrum.

This extra effort that the river requires qualitatively affects a sense of connection once we arrive.

Here, water bypasses skill, nationality, and belief systems to uniquely bind together the people who make this journey to be with the river.

Beyond the commonality formed with fellow adventurers, perhaps overlooked in a world that increasingly relies on technology to “enhance” connection is our relationship with nature.

For many of my years on rivers, I viewed nature as a space. As a refuge. As a point of disconnection.

More recently, I have come to view nature as a living and changing force of energy.

Like an important person in your life, nature is a relationship.

Like a relationship, nature is uncertain.

Even beyond the boundaries of “controlling the controllables,” we receive from nature what we invest into nature.

With nature, we can reflect and improve upon our existence in uncertain environments.

Somewhere in the pursuit of deep and meaningful relationships is our disposition to contribute value to such relationships.

From where will we develop the capacity to serve nature and grow Relationships Bound By Water?

When we identify and choose to “control the controllables,” we find the place from where to expend and replenish these optimal resources — A Paddler’s Energy and River Strategy.

Together with Relationships Bound By Water, these three elements form the foundation of The Pursuit of Contentment On The River Of Uncertainty.

Everything else on this river journey is adaptation… which will round out the remaining the sections of this series.

Back on the group coaching call…

“How do you handle setbacks and disappointments?” the attendee asks.

“So often we find ourselves trying to outrun setbacks,” I suggest. “We imagine if we can just get ahead of our negative feelings and find open space, we could breathe again and find the next thing.”

Then I continue.

“But, as we run faster, it seems the weight of our setback tries even harder to keep up with us, yes?” I ask.

The attendee agrees.

“So what if instead of trying to outrun our disappointments, we slow down. In fact, what if we just stop? Where would we be?”

This is precisely where Relationships Bound By Water simply pinpoints our location.

If we just stop, we are instantly closer with nature.

With gratitude, — Joe

Instead Of “Getting Ahead” is a part of my continuing Sunday Morning Joe series, The Pursuit Of Contentment On The River Of Uncertainty.

Subscribe to Sunday Morning Joe HERE.

Connect with Joe:

5 With Joe Performance Coaching

I coach seasoned professionals, who feel stuck in place, to thrive in transition and bring focus to what matters most without compromising their lives.

My personal experiences winning an Olympic Gold Medal, serving as CEO of a national sports organization, and my current “Simple, Slower, and Less” lifestyle in the Catalan Pyrenees help to form accountable and transformative collaborations that see my clients create their next and most impactful chapter.