One morning in South London I was walking to get the bus. About 50m from the bus stop I saw my bus about to pull away from the traffic lights and turn towards the stop.
These are times when only a split second decision will do. If you are time pressured you will normally run, (depending on footwear and clothing), and if you aren’t so pressured you will quietly say ‘ohh s**t’ and slow your walk slightly to waste a few seconds. In this case I wanted to catch it.
As I began to run my mind fast forwarded to the dreadful feeling of not quite making it. Seeing people look out the window and attempt to avoid a raised smile. Or worse still, you get to the door and the driver plays the ultimate humiliation card and still doesn’t let you on.
So I fully committed and sprinted, short cutting over a grass trodden path and glided past a gentleman having a morning stroll. The bus was there. Faces were looking. It was going to be close. The feeling of embarrassment was preparing to take hold.
I made it to the door! But not into the bus. The driver decided to pull away “oblivious” of my arrival.
After my obvious knock and plea to board, I couldn’t even style it out and pretend to be jogging or anything. He’s just ran and missed the bus, I could see people saying…
It’s these moments, we have an incredible ability to decide what other people are thinking. How much they care and usually conclude with it being an important life event to all of them. A little laughter and seeing a bus run failure a bonus to their morning commute.
This is the kind of thinking that stops us running in the first place. The fear of humiliation becomes greater than the satisfaction of making it. Or we rationalise not running as the right choice in the first place. These little mind voices are silly and often not helpful.
This bus running story has happened to everyone at least once, if not multiple times. There are two parts of this story that fascinate me the most. The first being the split second decision to say yes and commit or no and wait. And the second, if you do commit, the response you have whether you make it or not.
This is the kind of stuff we need to get right. We want courage to prevail and the story to read ‘great effort’ instead of ‘how embarrassing‘. Same result, different result.
So, next time you have a bus running opportunity, a chance to step up at work or something that is a make or break challenge. I urge you to run. Say yes, commit and recognise your effort! And if failure does happen, remember, other people are so busy worrying about their life to worry about yours.
See opportunities in life and say yes more than you say no. Run!