“Are you more concerned with the extreme loss, or will you embrace the extreme work?”
I met with who I believe to be one the most amazing couples I’ve ever met. I came to them to get mentored on parenting. I had so much doubt about whether I was truly getting across the values I wanted my children to learn. Why was I always repeating myself? Were my methods not working? Maybe I’m doing this all wrong.
And they hit on a point that only an experienced parent can: lessons are cyclical. Maybe they didn’t get it the first time, or the second, or third or tenth. This was part of the process. Staying consistent, giving them space to test the boundaries and to run into that lesson again. If I stayed consistent, they would ultimately ‘get it.’ Revisiting these lessons was part of the parenting paradigm.
I thought it was a talk about me parenting my children.
Then it hit me.
Lessons are still cyclical for me.
Six weeks ago I wrecked my tri bike and broke my finger. It wouldn’t seem to be a big deal but it took away any upper body exercise, including my swim practice. Swimming has always been my struggle. My confidence has never been there.
Even without the wreck, I struggled with bouts of frustration and anger with my swim. Not many things in life or training affect me the way the swim does. I would hit a depressing moment, get down and anxious, work my way through the emotions and try again. This happened over and over.
Then I got in the water 6 weeks after my wreck and felt defeated, again.
I’m less than 3 months out from Ironman Boulder. I had high hopes for this race. I had been serious about my training and then I got knocked down.
“You can write everything down if you want to. Be brave enough to write every one of your goals down, but I’m going to tell you something. Life is gonna hit you in your mouth and you gotta do me a huge favor, your ‘why’ has to be greater than that knockdown…. And I am telling you if you don’t know what your 'why' is and your 'why' isn’t strong, you gonna get knocked out every single day!”
Yesterday I analyzed the time I had until race day. I looked at all the factors in my life. I came to the conclusion that this setback took more time away than the time I had to make it up. I called myself a ‘realist.’ I was looking at ‘facts.’ There are only so many hours in a day. My muscles can only take so much of a training load. I only have so many hours of rest.
These ‘facts’ were my excuses. My ‘realism’ was my crutch.
“If you were blind – Ask yourself how badly you would want to see? If pushing yourself to your limits could give you sight, would you do it? What if you had to learn hurt, trust pain, and embrace struggle? Would you still be concerned with being realistic?
Would you still figure your odds and calculate your chances? If a few extra hours and few more drops of sweat and a little more blood was all it took, would you claim your sight?
Do you really want to succeed?
Then choose to be blind and do whatever it takes to see…
because if you don't, then you will be blind anyway..."
I got up this morning listening to motivational speakers remind me, again, that I have the power. I suited up and got in the pool again. There’s a lesson for me to learn. And it’ll come back around until I get it.
Training is full of lessons. Training amplifies your weakness. It knocks you down to your knees and every set, every rep, has the ability to remind you that you’re not strong enough, you aren’t ‘there’ yet… life will tell you you can't, you don't have time... but you have the power to dig deeper than that doubt.
Find your 'why'. Set yourself up for success. Find the mentors, find the book, watch the video, listen to the speech, turn up the music.
The lessons are cyclical, even now.
Embrace the lesson, embrace the challenge. If you're willing to do the work, you can have anything.
If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way.
A special thank you to everyone who made me think yesterday.
Because of you, I’m a better athlete and a better coach.