Monday, March 5, 2007

The Next Step

"Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only (s)he who keeps (her)eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road." - Dag Hammarskjold

Ahhhh.....after spending the last seven days resting, taking in fluids, and completing minimal workouts, we're on to the next step. Today begins a two week force block, during which our coach is helping us focus on building strength for our first race of the season in Valdese, NC.

Much like the program residents participate in at Genesis Home, our training for the season ahead consists of a series of steps.

In January, we were on our own, doing our best, but unsure of what training plan we needed to achieve our goals. When life got complicated or we felt that hanging out on the couch was really the best medicine for a long day, it was easy to skip a workout because no one else would notice.

Folks often come to Genesis Home in this stage. They're on their own, struggling to to do their best, but lack accountability mechanisms and often drown in the day to day struggles that life hands them. Then the Genesis Home staff help them design a plan.

In February, Coach Sage did the same for us. We spent the first three weeks of the month base-building with higher volume, two-a-day workouts. We worked to achieve weekly, individualized goals and sent our coach daily comments on how the plan was working out.

Families at Genesis Home work with their coaches - the organization's case management staff- in a similar way. Perhaps a single mom has the goal to complete her nursing degree at our local community college. Genesis Home staff work with her to identify what steps are involved in achieving that goal: Attend weekly adult literacy class, complete G.E.D., research part-time nursing programs., meet with financial aid staff, complete program application..... Together, they develop a plan to reach those steps and check in regularly to adjust accordingly.

Now, March is upon us, and it's time to build strength for the challenges we know lie ahead. We've gotten support, gained some confidence, and have growing faith in our plan and ourselves. For the next two weeks, we'll be climbing hills, lifting weights, and adding resistance of all kinds.

At Genesis Home, this might be the phase when families address some the deeper personal issues that have played a role in their homelessness. By working with professionals specializing in abuse, drug addiction, or anger management, folks living at Genesis Home build the strength they'll need to maintain a prosperous life on their own after they leave the shelter.

Most often, folks don't become homeless all at once -- and they don't climb out of poverty all at once either. Just like us, it's one step at a time.