When I look back at prior blog posts, I see a transition (get it?, see what I did there?, triathlon joke!…. sorry, moving along). I see a shift in my mindset that I wasn’t sure I could ever have. I had a boss that used to always say “you can’t change people’s mindset.” That was generally right before he would ask me to fire the person because they did something he didn’t like. I must admit, I felt the same way to a certain extent. I no longer believe that.
I went into this triathlon journey for so many reasons, but looking back I think one of them was that I was lost. I needed something to fill a gap. I no longer had to dedicate my waking hours to work. I left that toxic space because I knew that if I didn’t, I would jeopardize the very people I was trying to take care of by remaining there. Once I did, I had no way of keeping my over analytical mind and fidgety body busy. I knew that if I could work on my physical health, my head and heart could heal too but my mindset was still a bit broken. I had, and still do have, a hard time putting myself first.
I have come to realize that putting myself first, sometimes, makes everyone a lot happier. I really wanted to go to the pool Saturday but felt kind of bad taking time away on the weekend. Then, I realized that I was just making an excuses and playing the martyr. I asked Darin if he was cool with me going, which of course he was. D2 came a long a played his iPad while I swam my laps. It was perfect. No one sacrificed anything, and I felt great.
Looking inward has made me all the better outward too. I am not sure who this will surprise, if anyone, but I have always been know to say what’s on my mind. Combine that with a bit of a temper and it can result in some conflict. That’s not something that most people I know only professionally would see because I do keep it in check at work. Outside of the office, however, is a different story. I used to almost regularly get into some kind of verbal altercation with a stranger. The random person who cuts you off in line, or while driving. The snotty receptionist at a doctor’s office. You name them and I have probably had words with them.
Last weekend, when the lady at the hotel told me they were no longer dog friendly, the ‘old me’ would have probably laid into her. I would have told her how ridiculous it was that while making the reservation I clicked a place that indicated I had a dog and no one said anything. I would have went off about how their system could have pulled a simple query to let people who had dogs who were driving several hundred miles to their hotel, know that they changed their policy before making the drive. I would have probably went off immediately and probably would have spent the rest of the evening desperately looking for a place to stay that night! That wasn’t the case this time. I was upset, yes, but at the same time I was calm and collected. I was vulnerable, and I let myself be. I asked her to help me and she did. It sounds so simple, but I was really proud of myself.
Mike Reilly is the person known as the “voice of Ironman.” He’s at nearly every event, and is the person that will announce your name as you cross the finish line and say “you are an Ironman.” That’s something I want to hear one day, but in the meantime he said something else that really stuck with me. His mantra is “you are the cause of your own experience.” I heard that and immediately loved it. It’s very true. I can go in to, or react to a given situation in many ways. How I choose to react is completely up to me. No one else is the cause of how I choose to experience a moment in time. The great thing about it is that we encounter chances to choose hundreds, or maybe even thousands of times a day. If we screw one up, there is always another opportunity around the corner.
Mindset can be shifted. It has taken me a while, but I am starting to be ok with putting myself first sometimes. I am starting to appreciate the calm moments more. Many things are still challenges for me. My fears and anxieties are still there, but they weigh far less than they used to. I’ve learned to embrace them as part of who I am right now, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. We are all works in progress. We only have so many days in this amazing life. We should enjoy them, we should embrace what we love, let go of what we don’t, and choose the experience we want to have. So, get out there and make shift happen!