Are you running away from or toward your fears and problems?

Photo courtesy of Mike Krzeszak (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Mike Krzeszak (Creative Commons)

After a really frustrating day recently, I felt myself driving home slumped in my seat, feeling battered and beat up by the problems and issues that had been thrown my way during the day. It was a really awful day.

I didn’t sleep well, and got up the next day with a stress hangover, still feeling frustrated and down. I knew I couldn’t face another day feeling that negative, so I headed out to run. Invigorated by the brisk air that morning and with upbeat music playing in my ear buds, I ran fast.

At first, I imagined I was running away from all my fears and problems, just getting as far away as I could. But then I realized that I didn’t have the right viewpoint.

Instead, I started imagining I was running head-on into the fears and challenges from the day before. That’s right – taking aim and heading right for them, stopping to throw a punch or two and a good strong roundhouse kick here and there.

It felt good, too, because instead of escaping, I was attacking. Rather than avoiding, I was confronting.

As I was heading back home, I encountered some vultures on the sidewalk and street, right in my way. Those birds creep me out and I usually run a wide loop around them, but that day, I barreled right toward them yelling at them to move (I never raise my voice) – and they did!

The experience of that whole run stuck with me all day. I felt stronger afterwards, less frustrated, and more powerful.

The key, I think, was that I dared to face the fears and the problems, even if it was just in my head. I discovered that some ideas surfaced and solutions broke free. I wasn’t wringing my hands and feeling helpless anymore, I was finding ways to fix the issues and deal with the problems to make things better.

I got to work refreshed and ready to tackle more issues, but with positive results this time. And guess what? It was a better day!