What motivated me to write about this was in fact looking back on my years of racing triathlon. Specifically, what was the driver and impetus not to start racing, but rather, what was pushing me more and more that ultimately forced me to examine why and could and should I stop?
So it occurred to me that there are 2 different forces at work – desire and fear. Initially, my desire was curiosity and excitement of discovering a new sport – to get fit, get stronger and faster and get more competitive. All of which seemed positive in nature. As the years went by and the more racing I did, the harder it became to slow down in my efforts to get better and faster. What I was losing sight of as I was pushing to my limits was how hard it was to accept the reality that I couldn’t stop.
My desire was slowly being replaced by fear – the fear of slowing down or being less competitive. The sport and triathlon community can drive your decisions if you allow it to. Much like anything in life – what is your why?
What I also realized was how sports imitates life and vice versa. I started to examine what else in my life was being driven and dictated by desire or fear? My work, personal relationships, travel, exploring new hobbies.
Thankfully, being a curious student of human nature and working in the field of preventive medicine I was able through much self-exploration to get clarity on this issue.
Much of my behavior was fear – based. What would happen if I trained and raced less? If I took off a season to explore other hobbies? The fear of the unknown or even if I came to the realisation that I was always pushing myself so hard – a part of me didn’t want to stop and take notice.
Fear is a negative motivator. We are held hostage of its grip. Your thoughts often begin with – I must.. I should.. If I don’t… As opposed to desire – I want to… I look forward to…. There’s very little in this world that brings us pure joy that is fear-based. It’s often been said that success is not what you accomplish but rather what you overcome. Getting over and out of fear-driven thinking leads us to real gratification. The greatest athletes of our time, were and are, driven by an unwavering desire to win and compete. They use powerful visualization techniques that propel them to excellence with little room for doubt or fear.
I have always been an optimist – having a positive outlook on life and trying to see the best in people and myself. I was a “glass half -full” person. So, I knew that I could trust myself in making the right decision but arriving at that decision was tricky.
We are all impacted by so many internal and external factors that influence our thinking and behaviors. As such, it’s important to get clarity on your why.
1. Do you see yourself through the eyes of others.
2. Do you feel the need to please others.
3. What are your personal goals.
4. Are your goals your own and are they realistic and attainable.
5. Do you have hard time saying no.
6. Are you adventurous and like to explore new places, meet new people and try new things.
7. Failure and not reaching your desired goal is part of growth and should serve as an incentive from which to learn.
8. Do you battle with self-doubt.
9. Are you curious by nature.
10. Are you a source of motivation for others and take initiative.
Clarity empowers you to move forward on your decisions. It gives you strength and a path to reaching your goals. It helps you to get around obstacles as you move forward seeking out the path of least resistance.
Injuries in sports or conflicts in relationships are signs not to be ignored. Manage them and don’t ignore them. Use them as learning experiences.
Repetitive overuse injuries tend to be correlated with reoccurring thinking and rigid behavioral patterns. We are products of our thinking and beliefs. Your body has its own mind and once you tune into it and pay attention the easier life is to manage.