The Pebble Hyperbole

Recently I was out for a run. Running clears my head and gives me time to think, to consider possibilities, review challenges and celebrate successes. For me, running provides a small sense of accomplishment in these crazy times.  Right now, with so many things out of my control, it is something I have 100% control over.

I was feeling good, happy to be outside enjoying the sights and smells of blooming plumeria trees. I took a couple of deep breaths, focusing on releasing the tension in my shoulders. “Note to self..too much time hunched over the computer..must take more small breaks.” I love this time of the year..the blossoms make me smile and fill me with joy.

Yet that joy was repeatedly and abruptly interrupted.

Shortly after starting my run, I noticed a pebble in my shoe, but I ignored it. I was pressed for time and out for just a short run, so I turned my attention back on the sights and smells, back to thinking about what’s next in my day, what’s on my to do list and what I want to cover in my 1:1 with my boss in an hour.

As I continued, my thoughts kept being interrupted. Each time my left foot struck the ground there was a brief but sharp pain. “You only have a few more blocks until you’re back home,” I told myself.  “Mind over matter, MIND over MATTER!”

But it felt like that pebble was growing. What started out as an annoyance turned all-consuming. I had to stop and get it OUT. As I turned my shoe over, I looked to see if my mind measured the size of the rock correctly. Boy, was I wrong. What came out wasn’t even the size of half a grain of rice.

I was surprised. I had let my annoyance grow and build a tiny pebble into a rock.

If I had only stopped to address it when my mind couldn’t let it go. It wouldn’t have this impact on me, nor would I have given it the energy, or the power, to affect me.

This pebble hyperbole got me thinking. How often is this situation a metaphor for the annoyances and problems we face day-to-day? We avoid addressing an issue, and sure, sometimes it goes away, but often it grows and becomes a bigger burden than it actually is.

When we sweep annoyances and problems under the proverbial rug, they can get so big they consume us. We avoid confrontations, we don’t want to ‘rock the boat’, which is even easier when working remotely and people are keeping socially distant. Yet, when we don’t clean out under that rug and address them, the issues stick with us and take us off of our ‘A game.’

What’s your pebble hyperbole?

What burden are you carrying that is keeping you from running strong and smoothly?


Written by Dawn Rowley & Christine Noffz