Sunday, 23 January 2011
Interesting thoughts of the week;
Ho does self worth affect us and how do we get more of it by what we do?? Answers....
Well having had a little time on the bike recently I have been thinking about this. Combined with the experience of having 'retired' for a few years I remember what it was like not having a respectable job and nobody knowing what I have done. Quite an eye opener!! I say this because I was always told that the hardest year of my career as a cyclist would be the first one abroad, when you move out from your parents and to a foreign country where no one knows or cares that much about you, you will be far away from home and unable to communicate properly in a foreign language. Well for many years this was correct and the memory of saving up all week for a phone card to call and speak to my girlfriend back home stood out as a very hard year. That was until I decided I was not going to get to the level I'd always hoped in cycling and I was not going to make enough money to retired full time by the age of 36 or 37. So what should I do??.... I know stop now reinvent my self and start something new, a new career easy!!... NO not easy.
I stopped riding all together and took some time to think about what I wanted to do. It was hard I had no idea, worse I had so little experience of life outside of the cycling bubble. I realized how little I knew. I felt low and frustrated and learned the value of having conviction and direction in my life that was now missing all together. I realized how much of my self worth was attached to what I did and who noticed, to read articles about how I achieved what I did in cycling and journalists and fans coming and saying 'good job,' was a regular ego hit that I was reliant on for basic confidence, and now it was all gone and I felt low! Compounded by the fact I had stopped exercising completely and this also had an effect on my internal sense of satisfaction about life. I realized how lucky we are as sports men and women because so many people go to work every day anonymous in their life with rarely anyone to come and say 'hey great job,' 'I love the way you wrote that email,' or made that website, or any of those things, least of all journalists saying, 'the way you handled that meeting was great, where did you learn those skills?' Imagine that!! After a year and a half, I had been humbled by life outside of cycling. The confidence gone, I had also seen success in other areas of life by people very skilled in ways I had never even realized existed before. As a cyclist in the bubble, its easy to become conditioned to thinking, only cycling related results matter! I know good cyclists who look down on the public as punters not worth any time or attention. Even at races when they are obviously fans, this astounds me. Many of the people I met who are fans of cycling were successful in their business and deserved respect in their own right. I was glad to have my eyes opened to the fact the cycling world relative to the BIG world is so small!!!
I'm explaining all this as, after all these experiences I came back to cycling via skipping and rowing. I started exercising again to release stress and it worked, but my competitive nature came through again and I was trying to beat my PB every night after work. I thought I may as well start riding again and think about how to get back involved with a great sport that had given me so much. I am pleased now to be doing my business. It gives me a much broader involvement with a wider spectrum of people within the industry, its not so singular and gives me an opportunity to implement all my values and ambitions to the benefit of more then just me.
The reason I was thinking about all of this was because I believe our inner confidence influences how we ride, but also that riding contributes to inner confidence in many ways. For the pro's training is a means to an end, to be able to compete in races where doing well bears consequence on their life. But for those who don't have time to race, training is everything, training, racing, a way of gaining confidence from beating your mates. All this stuff influences us.
Have a think on how much cycling contributes to your confidence in life by making you look better, ride faster, or just the fresh air and a chat with the lads (or lasses) helps set you up for a good day or week.
One last thing, since last week was not a good week for the poor guys who lost their lives and the families who are left missing a loved one, be grateful for the simple grace of getting home safe after every ride. Its a dangerous place out there on the road and we should not take it for granted that we will make it back safe every day! My condolences go out to the families of the young guys who didn't come home last week. Lets all keep our eyes open and pay attention.