Thinking Always Ahead
This past year has been quite the adventure for myself. Much of what I have experienced has been shared through this website, and the journey has been the impetus for most of the weekly posts.
I try often not to dwell on what has happened in the past, but it’s something that is challenging not to do when the end of the year is right around the corner. In a recent conversation, my wife and I were discussing that it’s always easy to look back on our accomplishments and say, ‘That was pretty grueling’.
The caveat, though, is that in the moment you don’t always think of things as being challenging. Why? Because you just do what you must do to get the job done. This past year, 2016, will be one that I will I always remember as having brought tremendous adversity, but the year that taught me the most about patience, persistence and fortitude.
There was plenty of fun amid all the hardship. We made a trip to Mexico. Weddings, marathons, and everything in between took us to Boston, New York, San Francisco, Tampa, and Cincinnati. Mountains were climbed, and trails were hiked. Paths were run, and roads were ridden. Each of these events resulted in growth and learning. However, there were three significant obstacles that have defined this past year.
Road to Recovery
My year began with a long road to recovery after an extensive knee surgery. During the rehabilitation process, I was tested daily – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Physically, I wanted to get back on my feet to training for triathlons. Mentally, I had to learn to focus on one day at a time and not the end goal. Emotionally, I had to keep myself motivated and not weighed down by everything I couldn’t do.
I had to learn to reframe my expectations. Doing so, allowed me to focus on the process while still enjoying the outcome. I had to create a vision for myself and have a desire to meet the vision. With some patience in the process and the support of so many people, I achieved my goals. Along the way, remembering to celebrate the small victories.
You Are an Ironman
Many people said I was crazy. They weren’t sure how I was going to be able to not only complete, but compete, in an Ironman Triathlon. It was a goal I had set out to accomplish prior to knee surgery, and it wasn’t going to pass me by. The thought of completing a 140.6-mile race was daunting, but I needed to do this for myself – to prove that the human body can do some incredible and amazing things.
So, I trained. Logging 15-20 hours a week of swimming, biking, and running. The weekly mileage always seemed to hit the 200-mile mark. When it all came to an end, my training covered nearly 3,000 miles. It culminated with the Louisville, KY, Ironman in early October. Crossing the finish line after 11 hours of racing was a humble reminder that ‘Anything is Possible’.
Halfway through the year, I decided to leave a company I had been with for three years. I couldn’t be more thankful or appreciative of that opportunity for what I learned and how it allowed me to grow as a business professional. When initial future opportunities didn’t pan out, it was both challenging and stressful. However, it allowed me to learn things about myself that I had not yet known.
Going through this process emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with people who genuinely care and want to help. It reminded me that I am blessed to have the opportunity to decide what I want to pursue. Most importantly, it allowed me to be present and to learn what ‘providing’ meant as a husband, a son, a brother, and a friend. All too often, providing becomes confused with giving financially, but It’s the providing of yourself in all domains that will be long-lasting.
For the first time in three years, I made a significant change to this blog. I moved away from the theme of ‘Building United’ to ‘Embracing Adversity’. With that change, a new website was built, content slightly shifted, and I believe the posts had a bit more depth. I’m pleased with the shift, but not completely satisfied.
Over the course of the next year, I anticipate some bigger changes, and I’m excited to continue to evolve in a way that I feel most connected to my audience. With the holidays approaching, I’m beginning my year-end hiatus that I take each year to spend time with family and to find the joy in these last days of 2016.
In closing, life isn’t always about looking back. It’s knowing that the past is there, and it has helped us become the people we are today. More importantly is that we point our finger to where we want to be, but keep our attention focused on today.
About halfway through the year, I began a new habit of reading at least one book chapter a day. This has helped me to think critically and to dive into material I otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to. This morning, before writing, I read a quote which I think encompasses the message I’m trying to convey. So, I’ll leave you with these words:
“Thinking always ahead, thinking always of trying to do more, brings a state of mind in which nothing is impossible.” -Henry Ford