What Are You Made Of?
The question is simple but the answer will most likely change as you read. Heck, it’ll change again after that but that is my point. I challenge you to evolve your thought process beyond the surfaced nature we all mostly think, beyond what you would normally “tweet”. Let’s face it, most of the time we’re wearing a few masks, none of which really show our true-authentic-self. Secondly, we usually don’t even know we are putting up a front, as we’ve never taken our thought process to a deeper level. So circling back, I want you to ask yourself “What am I made of”?
- Take 30 seconds or a few minutes to get 2 feet below the surface…ask yourself some of these “seed” questions and even get a bit deeper on your own(DO IT!)
- Are you made of worry and doubt?
- Are you fueled by opportunity?
- Do you worry about what you cannot directly change?
- Are you handling these problems with pure emotion or rational logic?
- What was your greatest experience while racing? Why?
- Have you been avoiding some big issues?
- How do you process stress?
I would expect your first 30-second assessment is quite simple or maybe even still quite surfaced. A thorough process just can’t be taken on in such a short amount of time, however the goal is just to press the “Start” button. Whether you’ve got it all figured out or you’re avoiding your reflection in the mirror, “starting” can often be the hardest part….so make sure you at least get that far.
How can you overcome what you don’t understand?
That question is very important. Having worked with many of you for a long time I can tell you for certain, breakthroughs are mostly psychological. Barriers aren’t always tangible either or even in the physical realm so yes, you need to learn to mentally climb the Grand Canyon even though from the bottom looking up, that end-point can seem impossible, defeating and completely impossible. But understanding the process for getting to the top is much easier than focusing on the fact. What gear do you need? How long will it take? Should I ask for help? Have people completed this task before? All of these questions should help reveal facts which will nullify worry or doubt. Stick with logic when you’re taking on something you’re truly afraid of! Odds are, people have gone through worse in life and that perspective can shrink a King Kong sized problem down to a mouse-type issue.
I’ve always believed that those willing to take on endurance sports are already high-level thinkers. This lifestyle requires a lot of planning, internal drive, knowledge and accountability; also traits of very powerful, successful people. This is why breaking the cliché “soul-searching”, self awareness-type mentality if important for you right now, as you’re headed into a bit of normalcy before the next season of races.
So what the heck are you freaking made of?
You need to know if you want the prize. “Knowing” means that tiny survival-mode part of your brain can chill out because YOU ARE in charge and damnit, you’ve got this.
We are all uneasy about the unknown. On race morning, that’s all we are dealing with. Up until that point, most of us are a driven bunch of over-achievers but on race morning, that big bulldog can shrink into a little nervous, anxiety plagued squirrel. How many of you have prayed for a flat during the bike leg of a triathlon so you had a logical “out”? If you stop worrying about what you cannot control and just handle your nutrition, power and attitude you’ll quickly forget how scared you are of the next 12% grade descent on the bike.
Finally, it’s time to ask yourself where you derive confidence? It’s funny how race morning brings about a certain level of panic. It’s the type of panic that can be battled back with logic but still our mind can be a bit of a drama queen. Even if I’ve raced 40 times, for 10 seconds, right before the gun goes off to “swim start” I worry about everything all at once, followed by counting to 5, thinking about spotting, breath pattern and grabbing some feet. I know it’s coming every time so I’ve found a way to deter that ramble, battling it with logic. Plus I need to remember, this isn’t my first mother freaking swim….I’ve done this time and time again, so let’s do it BETTER this time! Confidence is there, right at the surface. Shoot, I think women who have had children need to think…”I’ve given birth so this is EASY”, right? The take-away here is you are made of confidence through the training we provide and the group of stellar athletes who surround you. IF you fail to utilize the tools in front of you, you’ll be back at square-one, asking “what am I made of” and never finding the answer. Take some time during this off season, discuss with your Coach and figure out what makes you tick and plan, plan, plan!