Draw a Line in The Sand
Sometimes bench marking can be simple to do and sometimes not so easy. If your goal is financial gain then you can simply write down your bank account total, now. If you want to loose weight then quickly weigh yourself, now. For my goal:
“I want to help people experience the happiness and fulfilment of achieving their true life goals”
‘Hmmm…’ This is clearly very difficult to quantify and so what I have done is based it on my presentations. Every year I total up the number of people in the audiences where I have spoken. Seeing he numbers rise year after year gives me the confidence and motivation to keep working on ‘My GOLD’. Another bench mark will be the number of people that have been on my ‘Reach Your Gold’ workshops. (next one is April 20th)
An easier measure will be how many Autobiographies I’ve sold…although I need to write the thing first. (…upto Chapter 6 and going well)
Realisation – Why?
I realised how important bench marking was when I was writing the chapter on starting to walk again using the correct RGM method. This means that as you put your right foot down you balance using your left crutch and vice versa with the next step. The point is that your are putting your full weight through each leg and only using your crutches for balance. As I was writing the chapter I realised that the first thing I did before I set off on this scary and horrifying walk was checked my pedometer and started my stop watch. Planning for continuous improvement and striving for progress. This is un edited text from the future book…enjoy:
Exert from Chapter 6
Walking round the block was limiting me and I needed somewhere with more scope for my walking training. I packed my rucksack and drove down to Rother Valley Country Park. This consisted of two big lakes with a flat path that circulated them. I parked my car and sat there contemplating if I was really going to do this. For me this may as well have been walking in to the desert of the great unknown without a map, compass or water.
You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do
I knew that I had to do this although my brain was telling me otherwise. I had to push myself out of my comfort zone. I reset my pedometer to zero and started my stopwatch as I left the safety of my car and walked using the correct and very slow method of RGM. As my stepping got into a rhythm I was able to look up at the beauty of the park, the lake and the sky. The liberation brought a smile to my face and a deep pride that I used to help me with the next step and then the next one.
The start of the pain
The pain was setting in now and the rhythm was getting out of sync. Grunting on each step with my right leg it became a real slog. The dull pain now draining my energy as I gripped the crutches my vocal grunts became louder. With drained energy I found it increasingly difficult to cope with the pain which consequently drained my energy even further. I was struggling. I looked up for salvation.
Ahead of me in the distance there was a park bench. It was quite a way, about the same distance as it was back to the car.
I wasn’t ready to turn back, not yet. And with that note I took a step forward “Oww”. The pain was really ramping up now. I squeezed my crutches hard and took another step “Oww”. Through my breathing I forced myself into a rhythm. The yelps of pain weakening me as I slowly stepped closer and closer to my goal. Wobbling as I approached the bench through fatigue and apprehension I finally reached my destination. Composing myself, turning, positioning and with my last strength I slowly lowered myself down on to the seat. My crutches dropped to the floor and my shoulders slopped and I breathed…just breathed.
I stopped my watch at 31.06 minutes. I was panting. “Thirty One minutes!” I looked at where I had come from and then looked at my pedometer 0.28 miles. “What?” I said with a mocking smile and laugh while still catching my breath. I shook my head in disbelief with a cynical grin looking at the path that I had travelled. Then a wave of memories came flooding back to me as my face scrunched up and my lip started quivering. Running, sprinting, marathons, 10K’s. My legs used to be so powerful and strong with muscles powering me through life. Not even half a mile…”HALF A MILE!” I looked at my watch again and put my head in my hands. The tears running down my face as I let myself cry. It was justified “What a waste of time…” I was exhausted, demoralized and my legs were throbbing.
I was despondent, furious and disappointed. “What’s the point?”
Eventually I breathed in, deeply while I sat up straight. I looked past my legs at my crutches on the floor and then saw that some of the pins on my cage were bleeding. The blood trickling down my leg and soaking into my sock. I needed to get back, I needed to get home. Grabbing the crutches I levered myself up, reset my watch and took the first step. A wave of heat flushed through my body as the pain was woken. Unable to scream out through gritted teeth I grunted as I used my reserve energy, digging deep. Looking up at my goal ahead of me, the path that led me back to my car. Using my grunts and deep breaths as the rhythm to push me forward one step at a time. Finally reaching my car, sinking into the seat and closing the door so that nobody could see me cry this time. I wasn’t done yet, I had to get home.
I wiped my eyes and started the engine. I entered the house now shaking and just managed to get to the sofa where I collapsed, pulling the blanket over me with my last bit of energy as I curled up in a shivering mess. I had a sleepless night that night with muscle spasms and the next day I spent recovering and attended to my wounds. The next day I got up, I packed my rucksack and drove to Rother Valley Country Park.
Sometimes I fell and many times I cried but eventually I made it past that first park bench and onto the next one and after that the next park bench. Eventually I made it around the top of the lake and to the next park bench. It’s a good story about ‘bench marking’ if you think about it.
With the aid of my CD walkman with the appropriate tunes on it I was able to push myself continuously out of my comfort zone and towards my next goal. Eventually over the next three months I managed to get all the way round the lake and I achieved my goal that I had initially set myself.