September 23, 2014

Third Annual Running Past Our Limits Update (Part One): Time to Get Personal (Again)

rhodesThe past two years, I’ve taken a summer break from topics like lawyer career satisfaction and legal entrepreneurship, and instead have gotten personal.

The first year, I worried about doing that, but justified my departure from objectivity by telling myself I’d stumbled onto something so powerful it could change the world. Honest. I was using it to meet a challenge in my own life, but thought it was much bigger. (Actually, I still do.) The series told my story, but also talked about believing in ourselves, finding our internal “coach,” doing the impossible, and other inspiring things. A couple readers said they thought it was my best series ever.

Changing the world wasn’t the focus last year, mostly because I’d learned that the challenge I face goes by the big hairy scary name “MS.” I focused not on changing the whole world, just my world with MS. Still, getting personal was okay because there were plenty of lessons to extrapolate to other kinds of challenges, and again readers liked it.

At a recent CLE seminar, I got one of those intuitive hits to share some of my Running Past Our Limits story. My departure from the script paid off: it was an energizing moment (right after lunch!) that drew several comments on the evals.

Do something once, it’s a novelty; do it twice, it’s a tradition. So here’s the Third Annual Running Past Our Limits Update.

If you like, you can get caught up by going here for the 2012 and 2013 editions. Briefly, this adventure started because I was frustrated with what I thought was an unresolved injury rehab issue. I’d tried pretty much everything to no avail, until one day I got the idea of using an elliptical machine to reprogram my body into moving again. (Where do we get crazy ideas like that, by the way? We’ll talk about it.) In the first year, I ran several marathons on the machine, some at world record speed. By the second year, however, it was clear my rehab theory wasn’t proving true: the faster and further I ran, the less I could walk. I went to get checked out, and found out I have MS. Immediately I went into denial, determined to fight the disease (if I even had it, which I wasn’t willing to admit), and doubled down on my workouts.

And this past, third year? (Take a deep breath.) Even though I’m not in denial anymore I’m still not ready to give up, although to be honest it gets harder all the time, but there’s some cutting edge neurological research to back up what I’m doing, and in the meantime my workouts and what I’ve learned from them have turned into a whole new way of approaching life that has made it better in ways I never could have imagined, not to mention giving me all kinds of new insights I regularly use in this blog and in my workshops… and did I mention that some people have gotten inspired by what I’m doing?

Against that background, the real question for me at this point is:

And I’m supposed to be okay with that?

Seriously, am I just making lemonade because life gave me lemons, reaching for the consolation-less consolation prize I warned you not to accept in a post not long ago? And what’s the difference between conceding defeat/failure and the practice of pivoting I’ve been talking about? And how DO you move from denial to acceptance without giving up?

Good questions. Let’s tackle ’em.

Seven years ago, Kevin Rhodes left his law practice to start a creative venture. His reflections on what happened next appear in an article about law career exit strategies in the August issue of The Colorado Lawyer (here’s the introduction, and here’s the article). His new ebook, Life Beyond Reason: A Memoir of Mania, chronicles his misadventures and lessons learned, and is available as a FREE download at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, or wherever else you normally get ebooks. Or follow this link to the distributor’s page, where it’s available as a FREE download in all formats — phone, Kindle, as a PDF, etc. You can email Kevin at kevin@rhodeslaw.com.

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