No Blueprint?

What happens when there’s no blueprint?  As a wellness coach (or frankly – in any area of your life), a well designed blueprint can set you up for success – both more quickly and more easily than a random “shotgun” approach. But what happens when there is no blueprint? What happens when you (or your wellness coaching client) put yourself “out there” in pursuit of something where a blueprint simply doesn’t exist?

No Blueprint Pic

Our family’s bookshelves are lined with proof that I’m a big fan of blueprints.  A visitor could almost create a timeline of my life’s pursuits by noting the topics covered (blueprints laid out) by the hundreds of books in our office.  Running… Spiritual Growth…Dating/Marriage (not kidding)… Management… Investing… Raising Kids… Leadership… Golf… Entrepreneurship… Writing… Speaking… Triathlons… etc.  The pattern was simple:

  1. Make a decision (or be presented the opportunity) to go “All In” on something of which I knew very little about
  2. Seek out the experts (usually in book form) to provide the blueprint
  3. Go
  4. Repeat steps #2 and 3 until “mastered” (small “m”)
  5. Start fresh at step #1 with a new pursuit

About 3 months ago, my friend Jerry Schemmel (if the name sounds familiar, he’s the well respected voice of the Colorado Rockies and one heck of a good guy) asked me to team up with him to compete in the 2015 Race Across America.  This is a 3,000+ mile cycling race with a 24 hour running clock. With a goal of crossing the finish line in under a week (430+ miles/day), one of us will always be in the saddle.  When Jerry first asked me to join him, I thought “no problem – I’ve done a bunch of Ironman triathlons – I’ll just find a blueprint, dial it in like before and we’ll nail this thing!”

Unfortunately, there is no blueprint this time…

Oh – there are plenty of “experts” out there. Numerous ultra-cycling forums and a number of books on “the subject.” Unfortunately, it’s a different subject.  There is adequate guidance for soloists (the gutsy folks who ride 20+ hrs/day). Training for the teams of 4 and 8 aren’t that much different from traditional training (outside of sleep adaptation), as they split up the segments accordingly and build in additional rest periods. However, for the two-person teams, where each rider will put in 12+ hrs/day with limited (but not absent) recovery periods, there is no significant blueprint to follow. We’re on our own to make up the optimal training strategy as we go.

Initially, this was discouraging. However, over time it’s actually enhanced the adventure.  The lack of a blueprint makes each day’s workout and each week’s test sessions more interesting.  It’s resulted in additional introspection, examination and creativity in an attempt to prepare the body as much as time, energy and resources allow.  And as we launch into the event this June, the outcome will be slowly revealed over time, with adjustments and adaptations continually required all along the way.

As a Certified Wellness Coach, you face this on a daily basis, either in working with your clients or in developing your own business. Maybe you’ve historically adopted the 5 step process I described above. Maybe it’s worked pretty well, as it’s certainly wise to take into account the steps of those who have walked the path before us. However, what if you (and your clients?) were willing to try a new path – a path with no real blueprint laid out before you? What if you were to treat the wellness pursuits – which are really “life” pursuits – as an adventure instead of a daily checklist? What would you learn? Where could it take you? What could be the eventual outcome? How could it change you as a person?

Sorry – I don’t have the answer.  There’s no blueprint for this one…

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