Find the magic where you find the tension

I was on the track at the gym today starting day one of the C25K (couch to 5k) program for the umpteenth time.

Fortunately, I have been walking long distances for a bit now so I’m not nearly as out of cardio shape as I have been in the past. As a result, the first few sixty second runs were faster and easier than I remember. And I let them be fast because I forgot. I forgot that you’ve got to pace yourself when you’re running. It’s been a while.

As I hit the end of the workout those sixty second runs felt like far longer a single minute. They weren’t hard-hard. But they weren’t so easy anymore. I had slowed down some … more out of necessity than trying to be smart with my workout. I was too winded for ego. But I didn’t stop running before the sixty seconds were over.

Somehow all of those starts and restarts of the C25K program had taught me that the magic happens when I find the tension spot where I can still push forward but also kinda want to stop. That’s when the body starts to grow its capabilities. That’s what’s required to move on to the next workout.

If I were to push harder I’d stop running. If I were to stop I’d, well, stop. Either way, no running means I’m not going to get better at running.

The magic happens where I find that tension of two competing desires.

The magic also happens where I find the tension of two competing beliefs. Two competing ideas. Two competing thoughts.

I realized that in my work I seek out the tension. In fact, all of this work started in a space of tension: We focus too much on appearance but I believe in the power of style as a form of communication and expression. I want people to both quit being so obsessed with how they look and also put more thought into their style (if that’s something they want to do).

How in the world can I hold those two desires at the same time?

I had to grow my understanding and belief about how we approach appearance and style … and that process turned into this work. And this work has become my passion.

So, find the tension. Find that space where you’re forced to confront something and grow.

That’s where the magic happens.

Jessica Jo Fisher