To Infinity and Beyond!

Happy Taco Tuesday!

The semester is off to a great start (optimistically, what can possibly go wrong in the first two days of class!?) and we finally got some much-needed snow up in the mountains. Hello snowboarding!

The beauty of the spring semester is that the cold weather only lasts for about 75% of it, it’s a time for learning and experiencing, and a new routine is always being sculpted and carved.

You know it’s going to be a phenomenal semester when your professor challenges you to bring something unique into a class of 15 students, and starts out the learning process with a TED video about how great leaders inspire action. For those of you who don’t know, TED is a collection of videos of some of the world’s brightest minds sharing ideas, thoughts, calls to actions, and just knowledge. They have 20 minutes to change the way you view the world, and have failed to disappoint.

The video has much more to do with life than it does just with the ideas of leadership. All too often, people and companies promote “what” and “how” they do something and rarely scratch the surface of  “why” they do something. Really, that entire approach is completely and utterly backwards. Our society is so driven by “whats” and “hows” that the value of the “why” is buried and trampled beneath our materialistic feet on our way to the top of the next mountain.

It has taken me a very, very long time for me to even begin to understand the “why” of my life. The reasons for my triathlon experiences, finding happiness in my job, and being fine in my own skin were not all easy things to come by. Interestingly, the idea of a “career” seems rather unappealing to me, especially because a career should consist of a variety of experiences, travels, pushing yourself, self-discovery, and digging deeper into your purpose for doing the things you do. It should be so much bigger than climbing some corporate ladder or wearing an over-starched shirt or busting your butt for a promotion.

Typically, the only thing standing between us and our goals and dreams is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of new experiences. Fear of failure (ding ding!). That’s not to say that we can accomplish whatever we want, however, our fears certainly need to be put in check. Risk taking and fear actually have more in common than many give credit for. There is a healthy aspect to fear. An excitement – the thrill of plunging into the unknown with no more guidance than your gut decision making (watch the video, he talks about that) and the clothes on your back.

How much more rewarding would our society be if everyone didn’t worry so much about the “what” and “how” of their path to success but took the time to discover the why!  Personally, I always lose sight of the journey for the anticipation of the accomplishment of things (racing, MBA, etc.) when really the journey is all we have. If I sink 500 hours into training for a single race season, of course I will love the race and the thrill of competition, but it’s the steps I took to get there that really build character.

Racing isn’t about suddenly being a bad-ass on race day (although that helps) :P it’s about taking steps each week to prepare you for the end result. Often, I’ve arrived at the end only to realize I have missed what I learned along the way or didn’t realize that I had arrived at the end. Really, there is no end; just additional paths that converge and wind through the nether of life…

What are your “whys” for going through life and how does it fit into your greater purpose?

Picture credit 1. Picture credit 2.


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