If you’re anything like me, you’ll hit days, weeks and occasionally months on end when you question everything in your life – why am I doing this? Why am I getting up at 5am to ride a bike? Why am I swimming up and down a pool endlessly? How is a 2 hour run on a Sunday morning giving anything back to the world? You might feel like you’re wasting your time, or that everything you’ve spent so much time committing yourself is for nothing.
Personally, my ongoing struggle is grappling with the fact that I’m attempting to commit so much time and energy to being an amateur athlete. A middle-of-the-pack age-grouper. What am I trying to prove? (I also continuously struggle with a) getting out of bed early to train b) having the energy to train after work c) eating too much and d) many, many other things…)
But every time I go through one of these phases, I remind myself of the following five things, and I hope that this can help just one person out there who is in a rut with their training or goals:
1) This is your path. Keep on marching.
A very wise woman told me an anecdote today about a karate master whose dedication to his path led him to great success and mastery of his discipline. And his motto? “I chose my path, and then I just kept on marching”. Everyone has doubts about their reasons, their purpose, the value in their actions. But if you simply trust in your discipline, and keep on marching all the same, you’ll arrive at your destination – doubts will come and go for the rest of our lives. But keep on marching.
2) Progress is never linear.
If it were easy, they’d all be doing it. You know that, right? But sometimes it’s a difficult reminder. Progress isn’t like sitting at the top of a slide in a kids’ playground and simply letting go – it’s not an unhindered, non-resistant linear path. It’s often backwards, deeper and the long way around. But that’s where the good stuff happens.
3) Transformation is your superpower.
The act of transformation is a superpower that only human beings can summon, and it’s yours to channel and call upon whenever you want to prove to yourself the sheer enormity of your capabilities. ‘From zero to hero’ is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot – especially in triathlon and ironman – but there is an essential truth to it: we can tap into our own inner superheroes by channeling our own power of transformation. And when you’re at your lowest point, it is just another opportunity to transform again – from low to high, from flat to motivated, from all-over-the-place to fully focused and ready to commit. It is YOUR superpower.
4) Your mind sets your limits.
Nothing else. Every limit, every reality is just a perception that exists only within the confines of your mind. Once you truly accept and understand that – once you own it – then you can rewrite your story, and you can change your scenario. Why do you feel like giving up? Is it fear of failure? Is it because you’re questioning your own worth? In an instant you can take control and free yourself of the limits that you create in your head. Easier said than done, of course. But it’s always a good one to be reminded of.
5) You are somebody’s inspiration.
It doesn’t matter what level you train or compete at, you are somebody’s inspiration to push forward, to reach higher, or simply to carry on living. On the days that I question if all the time and energy I dedicate to training and racing is worth anything at all, and I worry that I’m selfish or narrow-minded in the pursuit of some obscure athletic pursuits, I remind myself that maybe I can be an inspiration to just one person to keep going, to push through, to keep fighting the battle and to keep reaching higher.
Finally, I should probably say thank you, as knowing that you are reading this is something that has been a great support to me throughout the (many) times that I’ve felt like giving up.
Thank you. You’ve been a bigger support to me than you’ll ever know.