2015 Race Season- From Triathlete to Business Owner
2015, can it be over now?? Please.
The year came to an end without a bang.
Usually we write a blog about how successful this race season was, the obstacles we over came, and how pleased we are with our performance. Well this year took an unexpected turn for me. Basically, I can't wait for 2015 to be over and file this year away under "Major Lessons Learned."
It started out with a solid Personal Record at the Kaiser Half Marathon and a Podium Finish at a Sprint and Olympic distance race. I had been picked to race for Team Freeplay. I simply felt awesome, healthy and ready to take on the training load. I was writing down my experiences, blogging and felt really balanced. I planned to race four 70.3 races and a good amount of Olympic distance tris to get used to racing. My "A" race this year was to happen in Germany with the goal to qualify for the 2016 70.3 World Championships. June approached and I was starting to loose control over my training and it felt like I hit a brick wall. The Grand Opening of my business was approaching and there were so many fires to put out. I started skipping workouts for the sake of "urgent" matters. I thought it would be a temporary state. Months passed and this temporary state turned into the new normal. I was struggling maintaining control and was dropping things left and right. So many people told me "you just have to be strict with your time. Actual CEOs do it, so give me a real reason why you can't manage it." This made me feel even worse. They were right! I was only responsible for a handful of people and a business model that was manageable.
So what was I doing wrong?
I started getting really organized. I studied the "Getting Things Done" method, read 'the One Thing" and started becoming very clear about my intentions, the projects I took on and how I spend my time. I was always known for my time management, so why was I struggling now? With most things meticulously organized and my "Horizon of Focus" laid out I was still struggling to maintain consistency and complete things on time. When I did finally find the time to train I was not focused and all I could think about was the length of the training session and it quickly became an overwhelming task. I started neglecting my bikes. I started getting more ill, developed tight muscles, had very light sleep, was getting forgetful and my overall mood changed. It made me sad and frustrated to see everything wither away slowly, including my fitness, my passion for the triathlon lifestyle and my will power to pursue becoming the best triathlete I can be.
I realized something over the last weeks. Running a business is not just a freakishly scary Rollercoaster, but it constantly shows you what you cannot do (yet) and what you are not good at (yet). When something goes well, no one tells you and you may not see the fruits of your labor until years later. But what you see right away, are the fruits of your mistakes.
I decided to speak to my coach about it, he gave me a few pointers and decreased my training load by half. This did not make me feel any better. I knew I was capable of taking on more load, but here I was training at 50%. Ironically I was performing even less now. Regardless of the decreased load, I was still not getting on top of it. So it wasn't the load, or my time management that was hindering me from doing the things I want to do in a consistent manner.
Last week all of these feelings started collapsing over one another. I knew I needed to make a change. An actual change. Albert Einstein says the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Clearly I have to make a change large enough to produce a different outcome. But before I make a change, I need to define what I want this outcome to look like. I realized I am focusing on developing my professional life and athletic life, but I am not taking part in activities that are purely for the joy of it and are emotionally refueling.
I also realized that there comes a time after we have dared to reach for the stars, that we must be realistic of our abilities, our natural limitations, recognize our strengths and reevaluate our goals. Goals must be "attainable" otherwise we are setting ourselves up for failure.
I like to see the last two weeks of every year as a period of reflection. I will use this time to reevaluate where I see myself realistically going, what this different outcome will look like so that I can redefine my standard for success and instead of feeling like a constant failure, actually feel content with myself without settling for average.
Looking back on 2015, I went in with false expectations and unattainable goals. My plan was not set up to address the emotional drain of opening a business.
I am excited for 2016 and believe it will be a very exciting year with the insight gained from a mismanaged and overly ambitious 2015. I learned a lot about myself this year, my needs and what I need to make room for in order to get back on track to train consistently so that I can become the best triathlete I can be. Time is ticking. The time is now.