This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Inspired by visuals

I'm a person who likes and benefits from visuals.

I didn't do my best in school if the learning environment involved only lectures. I needed handouts. I needed movies. I needed books and reading assignments. I needed interaction. And I always had to write things down if I were expected to remember anything taught in class. I've not changed much.

It's probably why I collect so many things. I have thousands of matchbook covers, about the same number of books, and I love to play cards (solitaire and other games) so have amassed quite a collection of playing cards over the years, with different kinds of imagery on them. Visuals remind me of things, of places I've been, of people I've met, of things I want to do, of things I've accomplished.

In fact, I keep a string of racing numbers tacked on my office wall to remind me that I can run and have run several races, and if I want to, I can do it again. These are not huge races. I've never even come close to winning one of them. But, since 2004, I have run in more than a dozen 5ks, and to me, this is an achievement. If you knew how terribly unathletic I was in my younger years, you would know what I mean. Me? Run a mile (let alone more than one)? Out of the question!

To mark this achievement, I've brought home most of the numbers that had once been pinned on my t-shirt. They are made of the same kind of paper as a FedEx mailer and are pretty durable. Instinctively, I decided to pin each of the numbers together, create a string of them, and hang them on my office wall--to use as a visual.

After I started riding my bike in 2002, I learned I had endurance. I didn't and have never had much speed, but I developed endurance. And I like to be reminded of that. Aside from my actual bike and all the bike memorabilia I now collect, this is another visual that reminds me of what I'm really made of deep inside so that I know that I can reach the finish line in other things as well.

Do you use visuals to mark your achievements? Do you use visuals for other reasons? If so, in what way? Share with us how it's helped you reach a goal.


Ed Pilolla said...

that's interesting. i can see that endurance in you. you carry on. even when you run out of gas, you pick yourself up and endure. nice. that's your spirit.

i keep a visual on the wall of the original painting of my first book. it was done not that long ago, and i spent the last of my money in my bank account to have it done by a great artist and friend. the book took me five years to get out. altogether, it's my prized accomplishment, and seeing cover makes me happy.

BIKE LADY said...

Thanks, Ed. You should post the link to your book, so we can see that cover, too--and celebrate with you. Maybe a few sales???

Alexandra Grabbe said...

I have a special visual, a photo of myself with my granddaughter, and it inspires me every time I walk past to get to my office, which is a million times a day. I turned into an activist when she was born. I want her to live in a less toxic world. So, yes, absolutely. That visual of her face gives me the energy to do one more thing, write one more post or one more letter. (This week I wrote President Obama, explaining how I became an activist and urging him to heed the recommendation's of the President's Cancer Panel.)

Anjuli said...

Endurance is definitely what it is all about. We can start well- but if we don't endure to the end, there is really no point. You are inspirational!

As for a visual- I have a picture of my three children joyfully playing in a cardboard box- it is prominently placed to remind me that the simple things in life can make us just as happy as the expensive and elaborate things!

Babette said...

I love this...I love and use visuals fact because May was hectic, I printed out a calendar and taped it in front of thing I know, I think: I want June and July up there too. I have so much to juggle...this is one area where the electronic version is just not good enough for me...I like my DUE DATES for stories in front of me, too...I worry I won't open an electronic calendar one day and that will be the day the big story was due...

I also have a 2-page spread of a home office from Real Simple--an office I aspire to...It keeps reminding me to get organized and that one day, this room, too, shall look like that photo...

Babette said...

Oh, and btw...we've been part of the blogathon. There's some endurance I never imagined I'd find!

Jennifer Fink said...

That's a genius idea! I, too, am learning that I'm more visual than I ever would have guessed, but have yet to translate that into creating an environment that inspires, soothes or comforts me. Love the idea of saving the race numbers, because it also recognizes your achievements -- something else you blogged about previously, I believe.

Sue Dickman said...

First, I want to say that the race number thing is a great idea! I've run 5Ks number 1 and 2 in the past six months, and I've kept the race numbers, but they're sort of floating around the house. I was a non-runner for 20 years, so running and finishing both races was definitely an accomplishment. (I'm also of the little speed but decent endurance persuasion.)

And for nearly 20 years, in every single place I've had a desk and/or a wall, including in multiple apartments in India, I've put up a collection of postcards of women writers I admire. The other things on the wall around them may vary, but those remain. (They're very well traveled postcards by now.)

BIKE LADY said...

I hope you'll all continue using visuals--I do think they are the best reminders. I've learned there is a mental connection that doesn't exist without them.

Alexandra, grandchildren are an excellent reason to become an advocate. I love your story.

Anjuli, your cardboard box story. Loved that as well. It's so true about simple pleasures.

Barb, we DID do this Blogathon. Yes! It is a fine example of endurance. It wasn't easy, was it? I know I'll be initiating another blogathon soon with my speaker friends. Let me know if you want in.

Jennifer, it's true. I write a lot about celebrating achievements here, no matter how big or small. I think it's important to recognize our individual goodness.

Sue, my race numbers were just floating around the house as well, until I started remembering to keep them together. Then, one day I was playing around with them, and, "Voila!" I had made a chain. Now what? I saw a space on the wall where it fit nicely and so tacked it up there. I liked it immediately. And the numbers have been another endurance reminder ever since. I find it a very powerful image. Of course, this kind of thing is all so very individual. It's about what matters to you. What visuals will be a motivating force for you? I recommend letting it be as intuitive as possible.