The cooler, winterish weather has come in but the week appears to be warming up unexpectedly. I hope you all had an enjoyable Veterans Day (yes, that’s how you spell it) and were able to personally thank someone for their service in the military.
Today is all about taking control of your life, not playing the “I’m a victim” game, and achieving a firm grip on your goals and dreams despite your circumstances. Life can be strange, it never goes according to plan, and really, that’s OK (as much as that makes me want to gag). Today’s lessons are pulled out of Business Lessons from the Edge, my favorite fun read and a wonderful supplement to any athlete’s library.
- Don’t let experiences dictate outcomes – It’s really easy to say “oh my gosh, my legs are sore, I can’t do well in a race” or blame situational failures on anything other than yourself. Yes, there are externalities that sometimes cannot be avoided but we shouldn’t let our outcomes completely dominate and control our life. We do what we are capable of doing and we move on.
- Don’t be a loser – I’m not talking about the winning/losing sense but rather in the sense of how you feel about yourself and your life. No one likes to be around losers, especially because they just bring us down. In any context, people who are losers are unproductive and just lack morale and enthusiasm. It’s OK to “lose” at something but don’t let that turn you into a loser. Everyone is great at something. Find out what that is and hold on for dear life when you lose track of everything else.
- It’s time to thrive – Never in the course of history has there been a better time to thrive than after you’ve suffered a great loss. Sure, it’s hard (nigh impossible feeling) to put the pieces back together, but you are capable of making adjustments and thriving on your mistakes. There’s no better way to succeed than to learn, adjust, and eventually, thrive yet again.
- Don’t make excuses – It’s really easy to blame everyone else for something that you failed at. I would love to blame my stupid shin splints for ruining my triathlon season, and they kind of did. I would be remiss, however, to simply sit back and chuck all my blame into that pile. I’ve learned from my training mistakes (overtraining) and adjusted. Now, I can put my off-season back together and get ready for my Ironman. Crappy performance may not always be your fault, but don’t shirk the things that you are responsible for.
- Proactive not reactive – It’s tough being proactive, but the people who succeed are the ones who take action before it is needed. It’s really, really easy to sit in a pile of self-pity and remorse because of crappy circumstances, and there is nothing wrong with feeling down. Hopefully, you have laid the ground work for being proactive when the bad times come so that you are not wallowing but instead are laying an even better foundation for your life.
- Grieve and move on – A great example of grieving and moving in the book is a professional water skier who had a stroke and lost her ability to ski. She grieved that loss of a huge central activity in her life, but eventually took the steps to make sure that she cycled water skiing out of her life. It’s hard to move on from huge priorities in your life but that doesn’t mean that you can’t. Acknowledge that you’ve lost something huge but take the time to focus on little things to begin filling that hole. It’s only a matter of time.
- Move forward – Success rarely comes to those who move backwards when they run into an obstacle. Be the person who continually pushes forward even through the dark, shadowy times. There is light at the end of the tunnel (even if it is a train headed your way). There is always hope and the sun always seems to rise the next day.
- Don’t borrow trouble – This one is especially tough for me as a great deal of my energy is spent borrowing trouble. It just isn’t worth it and usually brings nothing but angst. Don’t do it!
- Create your own success – I don’t rely on anyone but myself to create my successes. Yes, I have support and mentors to guide me down paths but I am the one responsible for it all in the end. I can’t blame my friends if I’m not ready for an Ironman. It’s cliched, but be the person you want to be, not the one you think everyone else would want you to be. It’s so much easier being yourself!