Take care of your mind
I started seeing a therapist. I realized I could no longer merely survive each day alone in my head. I try my hardest to be real but it seems to hurt me more.
It was a relief to be able to be real without repercussions. I felt lighter, truly, when I left her office because I was able to unload so much shit that weighed me down. Without judgment, without being punished, without feeling stupid.
It was an opportunity to get out of my head and anxious thoughts. She made me question my assumptions. She gave me an unbiased point of view that came from a place of education and business. There was no ulterior motive.
For so long, I refused to help my mind on the false premise that it meant I was “weak.” Meanwhile, I saw physical therapists, chiropractors, and primary care physicians. Finally, it clicked that my mental health was just as important as my physical health. I decided pain of any kind wasn’t worth bearing alone.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Progress over Perfection
I constantly have to remind myself of “progress over perfection,” to look at every experience as a learning opportunity instead of some kind of failure.
There were plenty of times throughout the year I felt like I failed. I had to constantly convince myself that it’s about the progress I was making than the perfection I was seeking.
It’s okay to not feel okay
May was mental health awareness month. I invited folks to check-in with their friends, their family, and especially themselves. Every single one of us is fighting some kind of battle. And it’s okay to not feel okay. 🧡
Appreciate your support system
I have a fantastic support system. My mom and sister and my teammate, Wendy, came out to an early AF race to watch me duke it out in the men’s Cat 4/5 field. I can say that this was the absolute sketchiest race I’ve ever been in, but the guys inadvertently taught me some mad bike-handling skills. I came in 31/66 out of fear of crashing in the sprint finish, but if (probably when) I do this again, I’ll be better equipped.
Racing alone is fine but racing with a support system always makes the effort that much more worth it. Take the time to appreciate the people who show up for you.
Nothing in life is guaranteed
Rarely do you hear about the riders without a team or the riders experiencing teams folding one after the other. We don’t hear about the stress professional cyclists are under to get another contract. I told Meredith it gave me anxiety just listening to her talk about it. I’m not sure if my performance would suffer knowing that my contract was constantly on the line if I didn’t perform well. Even then, if I performed well, the following season wouldn’t be guaranteed either.
That’s also life. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow or even the next minute. We aren’t guaranteed our jobs because those ends, businesses close, people are jerks. Even if you perform well, you could still get told to kick rocks. Absolutely nothing is guaranteed in life, except for death and taxes.
If you always play it safe, what kind of life is that? At the end of the day and at the end of our lives, how are we truly living? Are we just surviving? Are we thriving? Are we doing what we most desperately want to do?
The more you let Fear win, the more your Self-confidence loses.
Too often I see folks choosing to let Fear control them. It doesn’t mean you have to be fearless. Being fearless is “without fear.” People without fear do stupid things.
It’s the courageous folks who make big impacts, who stoke their Self-confidence. They “feel the fear and do it anyway.” They step into the pit, the starting line.
If they win, they get to enjoy their triumph. If they fail, they at least stared Fear in the eyes. They didn’t back down. They learned something new. They didn’t let failure break them.
Bike more, drive less
How did you get to work today?
Hopefully, by bike! 🚴🏼♀️ I was nervous the first time I decided to commute to work on my bike. I worried I’d forget shoes or my bra or pants. I thought it’d take too much time; more time than driving.
And when I finally mustered the courage, I over-prepared and over-stuffed my backpack, but it instantly became my favorite way to get to work.
Fresh air, no angry drivers, and movement. I’d arrive to work relaxed and sweaty. And then I got to do it on my way home.
I’d see cars, idle, bumper-to-bumper as I zipped along the path that ran parallel to I-25. Sure, I got a mouthful of bugs, but it was better than sitting in a box, disconnected from nature and angry.
Seriously. Give it a shot if you’re thinking about it. It’s life-changing.
Don’t fear failure
What would you do if you were guaranteed to succeed?
Lately, okay, always, I do some introspection and assess my goals, interests, and passions.
For me, if I was guaranteed to succeed, I’d be a full-time, full-fledged writer. Whenever I think about what I’d really like to do, it always comes down to writing and riding my bike.
But I always seem to veer toward safety. I know I’m not alone.
What would you do if you could not fail, if you were guaranteed success?