This time last month I would have woken up somewhere in Wales and after a hearty b&b breakfast, donned my Kevlar jeans and armoured jacket, swung my leg over the beast that is the Suzuki 1250 and cruised off through the lush Welsh countryside.
It’s not everyone’s idea of a good time, but this week-long motorbike tour was a huge bucket-list adventure for me. Ever since I got my two-wheel license 4 years ago, my dad and I had been talking about doing a dad and daughter road trip through the UK. And last month we did it!
Dad was here for a month (from Oz) and having that time with him was incredibly special and our motorbike adventure together was a definite highlight. But that week on two wheels left a deep impression on me for other reasons too.
I’m a deep thinker and spend a lot of time reflecting on stuff and understanding life with my mind, but this week away was a hugely activated learning experience – I had to be very much in the moment all the time.
I was managing a bike that was heavier and more powerful than I was used to, I was watching the traffic around me, keeping track of dad in my mirrors, admiring the beautiful scenery when I could, having a chat with dad over the intercom (it was so cool!), deciding destinations, booking somewhere to stay, planning routes, deciding where our next coffee break would be (dad loves coffee as much as I do), listening to the satnav in my ear (we called her Mary, sometimes she would be in a huff and not speak to us for long periods of time LOL)… you get the picture, there was a lot going on!
But it was brilliant! I learnt huge, positive lessons in adaptability, teamwork, knowing and voicing what you need, and the impact of adventure on the heart. And I want to share them with you incase they bring you some insight and inspiration too.
Flexibility is key to staying in flow (and attaining the result you want)
I won’t lie, the first day of the trip was pretty brutal. Our first destination was the Cotswolds and our trip there was rainy and windy. When you’re going 65-70mph on the motorway and getting blown around by the gusts of wind – not fun. Plus, the bike I was on was very tall, so it caught the wind even more and the riding was super stressful.
After we’d settled in to our Cotswolds b&b I said to dad, “If the next 6 days are like this one, I am not going to enjoy this trip”. So we adapted. We booked another night at the same place so we could pootle around the beautiful Cotswold villages the next day. We decided to limit motorway riding so we planned our routes on more scenic A roads (which was a win because the countryside was what we wanted to see anyway). We figured out how many miles we could comfortably travel in a day and stuck to it. And we split our trips into legs (with the requisite coffee break), and allowed time at our destination so we could look around because full days on the bike was never the point.
Our intention always was to have a fun trip together. Once we had feedback that our current MO was not going to bring that result, we adapted and changed the input (what we were doing) until the the output (how we were feeling) reflected the result we wanted. This worked because neither of us were stuck to an image of what our trip should look like; instead we let our intention for the trip guide us into how each day would unfold. Result? We had a blast 🙂
Think of somewhere in your life where you’re not getting the result you want and ask yourself:
- What is my highest intention for this? (Event, relationship, business, trip, anything!)
- What could I do differently to help make this happen? (For instance, how you think/feel/what you’re doing/or what you need to let go of even)
True teamwork is inspired by a shared vision
Whether it’s motorbiking with your dad, having a holiday with your partner or working with a team in a business, the more you have a shared vision for what you’re trying to create or the kind of experience you want to have the smoother things will go and the easier it is to work together.
But there’s more to it than that. Teamwork is about recognising and playing to everyone’s strengths. I’m definitely better with planning and technology than dad, so I took on the organiser role. Dad is great with maps, so he spent time planning our routes. When I was spending hours researching and booking things for our trip, dad was cooking dinner and supplying me with cups of coffee (bless him!).
If we’re all working towards the same vision, the question becomes, what is the best way I can support this person right now? It doesn’t have to look “equal”, it’s more about does everyone feel like they’re in it together?
It’s also about feeling heard. There were several places I wanted to see on our trip, and dad had a couple too. After we revised our plan on the first day we knew there was no way we could fit them all in so we negotiated. We had a think about what were the priorities, the things we really didn’t want to miss, and what could be done another time. I’ve always wanted to go to Blenheim Palace and was determined to go on this trip. It would have meant a whole day out and I realised it wasn’t really dad’s kind of thing, so I thought about the options and realised I would enjoy it just as much as a day trip from London. So I chose to adapt my expectations, and came up with a happy alternative. I wasn’t “missing out”, I would still get to see it, just another time.
Questions to ask yourself are:
- What is my ultimate vision for this relationship/project/my family/my business?
- Have I communicated this with the people involved? Is it a shared vision?
- Am I playing to my strengths? Are the other people involved?
- How can I support others in the best way possible? (Think laterally, this could also be moral support or by supplying sustaining cups of tea!)
Voicing your needs and wants makes everyone’s life easier (and gives you more chance of getting your desires met)
My spiritual mentor gently challenged me to think about what I wanted and ask for it while my dad and I were away (because my old habit of putting other people’s wants and needs first is still kicking around at times!). It can take courage to voice these things out loud as we’re afraid of being rejected or we will see that someone doesn’t care about what we need and what.
But for today, I’m talking about sharing what you want with people who care about you. Those people who want you to be happy, and want to help make you happy if they can. And the thing that really hit home for me was that I make my dad’s life infinitely easier when I tell him what I want and need.
Because when we’re expecting they can mind read, we are essentially hoping to get our needs met and hoping the desires of others will align with ours. It’s not a particularly empowered place to come from, I’m sure you’d agree (and it sets us and our loved ones up for a fair amount of disappointment and resentment that could actually be avoided).
So I told dad on the first day that we had to change things up. I shared that I wanted an extra day in the Cotswolds. When we swapped bikes for a day I said to dad I was more comfortable on his so asked if I could ride it the rest of the trip. (Well, dad may tell this story a little differently – his version is that I got on his bike and wouldn’t LET him back on it again… there may be some truth in that LOL.)
If you want to be in joy, you need to own and declare your desires. If you’re letting your life be determined by the wishes of others you won’t be able to move away from feelings of anxiety, resentment, overwhelm, frustration, and dissatisfaction. You’ll keep asking the question, “When do I get my needs met?”
Right now, by starting to ask for what you need. Stating what you want doesn’t mean you will get it, as adults we all know this, but when everyone has the courage to put their cards on the table it makes it so much easier to have a straightforward conversation about how you CAN get your needs met or negotiate a mutually-agreeable solution.
Questions to ponder:
- What is it I really want in this situation?
- Is it an essential for my wellbeing (making it a non-negotiable) or is it a want and I can consider an alternative? (Ie changing our plan for the trip had to be done or I would have been in anxiety-overload; going to Blenheim, on the other hand was a want and did not have to happen)
- Where in my life am I expecting others to mind read what I want and need?
The power of adventure to open your heart
I have always considered myself an adventurer. When I was younger I travelled a lot – America, Middle East, Egypt, all over Europe. Since I started working for myself four years ago, my adventures have tailed off as other priorities took over.
While my dad was here we had a LOT of adventures. We went to Paris for my birthday, we did our motorbike trip, but we also went and saw shows in London and did a lot of other fun things together.
It reminded me just how much I LOVE adventures. How happy they make me. How they make me feel expansive. Joyful. In love with life. They’re like my cat nip 🙂 But I had fallen back into the classic trap of not making time for these things I love, because I was mistakenly believing that the other things (building a business, making money, working “hard”) should be my priority. Doh! **Slaps palm to forehead**
But do you know what happened while I was busy having fun and not terribly focused on my business – it continued ticking over AND I got new clients AND I felt inspired and got new ideas for fun things to share with you and the world. AND best of all, I felt more lit up, alive, happy and optimistic. And as a business owner, this is THE best place from which to create and take inspired action.
So, for me, adventures big and small, whether a proper holiday somewhere or exploring a new suburb of London, are always a win, win, win. They make me curious, open my heart and put me more in touch with opportunity and synchronicity. So I’ve grabbed my diary and booked in lunches with friends, dates at the cinema, day trips and a holiday, so I can nourish my soul with the adventure it so loves and keep my heart open, because that’s when the magic of life is at is greatest.
Questions for you:
- What is your equivalent of “adventure’s big and small”? If you’re unsure, have a think about the happiest times in your life and what you were doing or what was present in your life?
- How could you commit to bringing more of this into your life now? If its requires more money than you have, get creative and ask how can I bring a piece of this into my life? (Eg. If you want to go to drawing school but it’s too expensive, start with a pad, pencils and some free Youtube videos. If Sardinia is on your radar but you can’t afford it, read about the country, plan your ultimate trip, cook a Sardinian meal.)
I know this is a humdinger of a post, so take the one thing that jumped out at you the most and go and play with it in your life. I’d love to hear your biggest takeaway so please leave a comment if you feel so inclined.