Who doesn’t get inspired every four years when they see the incredible achievements at the olympic games? I know I fantasize about having the freedom and support to be totally focused, totally dedicated, and totally determined. But what is it to bring those qualities into our own lives? I remember being 28 years old and seeing the movie, “A Few Good Men”. It may seem sentimental, but I happened to be in a serious, determined moment in my life. Thanks to that movie, I acted on a dream I’d had for a long time. Within a couple of weeks, I planned a solo three day bike trip from New York to Boston. With bare bones equipment, a couple of B&B reservations, and the knowledge that I could call home for a ride if I needed to, I took off.
I remember searing pain in my back and legs, joy in seeing the countryside, and incredible satisfaction. I also remember learning one of the lessons I’ve used repeatedly since. When biking up a long hill, don’t look at the top of the hill. Look down at your feet pedaling, or look at the asphalt a few feet in front of your wheel. Just work, push and don’t be married to the outcome. Maybe you’ll pedal all the way, maybe you’ll get off and walk.
There are times in life when we take on olympic size goals. Like having two kids in three years and starting a new business! When I get overwhelmed, I stop, meditate on the cycling, and visualize the road passing under my feet. It always reminds me that I am a determined person, but also that the journey, aching back and all, is the most incredible part.