My husband and I were invited to bowl on a league.   Ok, let me preface with the fact that I do not bowl, or at least not well.  Who am I kidding, I am just awful!   But these were dear friends and we figured it is physical activity and hey, it could be fun.  After all, we’d be socializing with our sweet friends and perhaps make new friends.

So off we went to the ‘bowling shoe store.’  I wasn’t ready to invest in my own ball yet, but fashion is everything, right?  I wanted to sport a cool pair of shoes.   And I found the perfect pair!  I don’t do anything half way.  I would look just perfect while I bowl a perfect game……or maybe not?

So, finally, there we were, at the bowling alley, me, sporting my ‘cool’ shoes and selecting the perfectly weighted ball with my ‘peeps.’  How cool was I?  I strolled up to that lane, Fred Flintstone style, swung my perfect ball wearing my perfect shoes, watching in anticipation for said ball to hit those pins and knock them ALL down.  That’s the goal, right?  Well someone should have told the ball, because that little guy had a mind of his own and seemed to be magnetically drawn to the gutter!  How embarrassing!

Ok Ok!!!  Let’s re-think this.  I’m nothing, if not analytical.  I’m known for ‘figuring’ things out.  I’m accused of “changing things too often.”   Maybe?  But mostly, if something isn’t working, I just don’t stop until I find something that does and will work.  I find a way.

Hmmmm, what am I missing here, perfect ball, perfect shoes, great friends, new friends?  I had it all, right?  No wait, maybe I needed alcohol?!  LOL!  Yes, that’s it!  I needed to lighten up, loosen up, let go.  I was taking this way too seriously!  You can’t take any game too seriously!  Ok then, let’s have a drink.   So, I did and two and three…and eventually I didn’t care that I was hitting a gutter ball and scoring a 20.  Yup!  That was exactly what I needed….OMG!!!   And if nothing else, my severe handicap would help us with final scoring, right?  Let’s stay positive here.

And so, it continued, every two weeks, the gutter ball agony.  I had perfect shoes though!  I could count on that.  But I couldn’t hit a pin if my life depended on it.

Then it happened, the stars lined up, the clouds parted, the sun shined bright….dramatic?  Yes, but it felt like an epiphany for sure.

I had a good friend give me a few coaching tips, simple tips actually, things that I should have known, but hey, I’m no Einstein.  But my friend knew what to do, he studied me, watched me bowl and gave me some constructive pointers.  He said I lacked direction and follow through.  SAY WHAT?!!!  NEVER!  I am the most focused person there is and I always follow through.

“Not when it comes to bowling!” he said.

“YIKES,  Ok, then hit me with your best ball,” I said.

And he did,  he told me that based upon my throw and the direction of the ball, I needed to adjust when and where I stood to begin my Flintstone dance.  His advice was to quit looking around at HOW everyone else was bowling and focus on HOW I bowl, then do better.  He first showed me how to hold the ball, and bring it behind me and then follow all the way through with the wrist while focusing on the arrows in the lane.

“You mean, I don’t focus on the pins?”  I asked.

“No,” he said, focus on the middle arrow, aim your ball right down that arrow, then follow through with your wrist, and ignore everyone and everything else.”

AND guess what, I hit them, not just one, but all of them and more than once.  Did I turn into a pro overnight?  Ummmm, no, old habits die hard, my friend.

But I learned.

Guess what else I learned?

In life, we have to bowl our own game.  We have to set our focus, but above all else, we have to make sure we are aiming at the right things.  You see, there are so many people and we are all unique.  Some of us bowl with force, others are dancers, some tiptoe, like Fred Flintstone, others barely roll the ball, but none of that matters.  What matters is that we are all trying to do the very same thing, hit our pins which are in our lane.  But we have to be careful not to focus on JUST the pins, our final destination.  Life’s journey is a series of arrows all the way to those destination pins.  We have to focus on the arrows in our own lanes.

You see, we can cheer the guy next to us, we can give him kudos for hitting a strike and the whole ‘great try’ if he strikes out, but when it comes to our own game, we have to stay in our lane.  Take your focus off of the lanes around you.  They have their own people, with their own goals and that, my friend, does not concern you.  Keep your primary focus on your arrows, your goals, your dreams.

And guess what?  Not everyone will agree with you about techniques in bowling and they certainly may not agree with you about your life or business choices, but that is ok.  It’s your game, my friend.

So, choose the fitness plan that works for you, choose the meal plan that makes you feel healthy and alive, choose the friends for your tribe that uplift and support you along the way, but whatever you do, stay in your lane and aim for your arrows.

Namaste, my friends.