Feel the Rhythm!

Rosanna Machado | February 10, 2021


My Zoom film club was particularly pleasing last week as we watched Cool Runnings. I love this film so much – it’s funny, feel-good, not self-indulgent in length (bring back the 90-minute films!), exciting and most of all inspiring. And I know I can take full credit for my friend’s medal success in Rio after I gave her a lucky egg!

Throughout the film we follow the Jamaican bobsleigh team on their journey to the Olympics, facing many obstacles – no snow, no money and fighting against a community who don’t think they belong. At one point, they event start to mimic the Swiss team in a bid to improve their performance. The defining moment for me is when a fellow team member fights back on copying the Swiss and says “the best I can be is Jamaican” This resonated with me personally and also with my work as a coach.

Within the Gestalt style of coaching, we focus on developing awareness of the here and now and one of the key principles is the paradox of change – change happens when you accept who you are. This may sound counter-intuitive but it is the very thing in Cool Runnings which leads to their best performance – embracing every part of who they were and working with it.

I have often followed alternative paths to my peers and whilst most of the time I have known this was what I wanted to do, it hasn’t stopped the odd moment of doubt creeping in or the moment where I compare myself to others and feel insecure and wonder whether I should follow the path of others. I’ve also been very goal-driven in my life without always getting to the root of the goal to see if it is in line with my values and what I want out of life. If it’s not, then it invariably fails.

2020 gave me an opportunity to feel my own natural rhythm and be true to myself without worrying about anyone or anything else. We can be so goal driven and continue to push ourselves whereas sometimes we need to slow down, build awareness and the path forward will emerge naturally. What can you do to feel your rhythm? Slow down and understand everything that is happening for you – good sensations, uncomfortable sensations and dig beneath your immediate emotion to identify what is really going on. As Susan David says, “When we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity, we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.” If we are aware of everything that is happening for us, we can understand ourselves better and new paths and options will emerge. Having trained as a coach last year, I was astounded how a half hour coaching session could uncover what was really happening for me and the path forward then became so much clearer. Giving yourself permission to pause, sit with emotions and dig deeper to understand yourself fully can open up opportunities and options that you may not have realised existed. Embracing all of who you are and working with it will enable you to be the best that you can be.

Are you feeling very Olympic today?