Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year - And yeah, its personal

‘Sometimes I feel like it’s too hard, it’s been too long in the game, I ache and hurt.  I get broody, I start doubting, I miss my family– then this little voice reminds me of who I am, what I do and why I do it. I have a lot of motherfuckers to prove wrong yes…but it ain’t about the motherfuckers- it is about proving those I adore - right.

Jodie Swallow - 2 time World Champion

So, I love Jodie Swallow.

Why? Because the above quote hits exactly how I feel right on the head. I couldn't have come up with a better one myself. And for anyone who has been in a sport for a long time can absolutely understand where she is coming from. But why did this speak so deeply to me? Well....

2014 sucked. Period. From a racing and training standpoint - it was abysmal. Illness, injury, illness then more injury made me wonder how the hell I got 4 wins at all. I lost valuable racing time, training time and spent more time in a physical therapist's office than I want to remember. I had countless x-rays, ct scans. ER visits. After 2 prior seasons of progression and success. I felt stalled to say the least.

Professionally, (racing aside) was a great learning experience and very eye opening. I have been blessed with a great stable of athletes from INTENT, plus teaching functional fitness classes has been awesome. It makes getting up in the morning a lot easier. And to watch everyone become fitter, reach their goals and beyond, seeing people's faces light up when they discover what is truly inside them, there's no other feeling like it. I've made great friends, relationships that will last a lifetime. And that is something I am deeply grateful about.

Personally, my family suffered some tough losses this year, mainly my uncle Tony, someone whom I was tremendously close to and loved. His passing was difficult for us, especially my Mom, his only sister, who spent so much time at his side in the final 6 months of his life. I lost sponsors as well, which I understand, because lets face it guys, multisport is still a business. And its about results. Period. But losing sponsors, losing period, doesn't sit well with me. Worst of all, I lost confidence. When you slip 30 minutes before a major race and break 3 ribs, you can see how it might shake your confidence.

So I've spent the last few days reading different posts and blogs about using peace and tranquility in the new year. I was almost sold till I saw Jodie's quote. And I felt the fire rise inside me. Because no matter if you are the nicest person in the world, you have haters. Ghandi did; Mother Teresa did. So do you. And Lord knows, I've got mine. I know I can be polarizing, and that means people aren't going to dig everything I am saying. And that's Cool and the Gang with me. Because no matter how I slice it, racing and training is personal. Yes, there is a professional side. Racing as a pro you must learn to comport yourself accordingly. You have to be prepared for highs and lows, for sponsors or friends or athletes to walk. What's important is that you are always true to yourself, true to the ones who love you and the ones who love you back, and remain grateful and humble for everything that you have. Failing is a gift - it gives you insight and lessons that can't be learned any other way. BUT, like Cicero said, "any man can make mistakes, only an idiot persists in his error". If you aren't learning then you are giving away more than you know. You are giving away your chance at amazing success.

So being professional and humble is critical. But those who know me have heard me say "anger is a gift" too. Its ok to get angry. I spent years racing angry, training angry, living angry. It helped me dig deeper, to go to the ugly places without fear. But its not a sustainable way to go. That's what I took away from Jodie's quote. Keeping the anger, the chip on the shoulder, that's ok. Just know when to dose it. Don't let it cloud everything you do. It alienates people, people who love you, and who want to see you succeed. Yes, there will always be a part of me who is aching to prove the haters wrong. But proving the people who care about me right, in every area of life, is what keeps me going. My family, friends, my coaches, they believe in me. Just as yours do in you.

Bottom line - life is personal. Your struggles, your successes, they are very personal. Don't think otherwise. What matters to you, how you feel about things, that's all personal. I don't care if its your race schedule or your view on politics, its personal. Own that. Take pride in it. And if you can't, then perhaps its time to do a little reflection on why you aren't proud of you. Its not to say we won't make mistakes, we are human. You have to own those too. Your mistakes, your failings, those are just as big a part of you as your success. Make shit personal. It will keep you from looking around, wondering what everyone else is doing and help you focus on you. Because it doesn't matter one bit what others are doing. The questions are "what the hell are you doing? And if you aren't improving, not simply as an athlete, but as a person, why not? Are you too worried about the guy/girl next to you? Why do you give a shit?" That's reflection. That's personal. I've said it a million times - getting better, fitter, healthier, smarter, it doesn't happen by magic. You have to earn it.

So I'm happy to say I'm taking things very personal in 2015. I don't make resolutions - that's nonsense to me. Its something that sells fitness magazines. See, I love my haters, because they are predictable, I know exactly when they will show up and why. To quote James Franco from "The Interview" - "they are motherfucking peanut butter and jealous. They hate us cuz they ain't us!" They don't bother me. I'm focused on keeping the ones who care about me close, and making those relationships stronger everyday.

Let me leave you with this - if you aren't taking your life personal, then what are you doing?

Stay strong.