Being perfect

I watch the above clip before every race that I do as for me it encapsulates my goal for every race: to be perfect.
I have little impact on the eventual outcome of the race – my position often depends on who shows up on the day and who has a good race (or not) – by I can have a significant impact on my process of racing. I can often choose not to let things get me down, or to continue to keep going when things seem impossible and I know that the races of which I am proudest are the races in which I have tried hardest, regardless of the outcome. When I’ve felt like sitting down under a tree but instead I chased down the next person, when I’ve conquered self-doubt to believe that I can do a time I’ve never done before. I’ll take those memories with me forever.
For many of us our training can be compromised by life’s other demands: work, family and other commitments so realistically our potential outcomes do not include coming first, but they can include being perfect. Making the most of our limited resources and doing our best. The winner of your last race may not win their next race and so their version of perfection may fade, but you can do your best, you can strive to be perfect in every race, no matter what the situation or what has compromised your preparation and in so doing you can achieve perfection again and again.
Now go be perfect!


Why I do Ironman

I listened to a podcast the other day in which the interviewee explained that in his view people do Ironman in order to sit around the dinner table and tell others about the time they did an Ironman. They do Ironman in order to appear tough / insane / hardcore (delete as appropriate). While this may be true for some, it was so far from the truth for me that I decided to write this post.

I do Ironman because it brings out the truth in me and the people around me. There is no pretending at the 28k mark of the marathon. The masks which most of us seem to wear in our day to day lives seem to dissolve during the swim and for the rest of the day we are who we are, for better or worse. In a world of appearance and illusion there is truth to be found on the Ironman course. And that truth is better than any illusion as it shows what we can do once we drop the mask and stop pretending: we can do our impossible. Most days we seem to be surrounded by the negative side of mankind – you just need to read the papers to see this – but at an Ironman finish line you can witness mankind at it’s best: true happiness and joy, true satisfaction, true camaraderie.

The irony to me is that even those who entered the race for bragging rights are forced to drop this reason during the day, dig deep and reveal their own truth. That is why this sport is so addictive, and why I will continue to do it for as long as I can.

Where do you find your truth?

Me facing my truth at various points on various days

Are you successful?

I want to write today about something that is very close to my heart: success, or more specifically the meaning of success.

I often hear others talk about people who make a lot of money or have powerful titles or jobs as being successful and I always think the same thing: yes they’ve achieved a lot in their careers but does that make them successful? It may do but for too many people it seems as though they achieve this success at the expense of happiness – they end up divorced or in unloving relationships, possibly with estranged kids and an unquenchable thirst for more money or more of this kind of “success”.

Imagine a world in which when people spoke of others as being successful they spoke about how happy and content that person is. How much they smiled, loved and laughed. Imagine a world where our driving ambition was not to make more money or get a better job title but to love more, care more and laugh more. Imagine our 5 year plans didn’t define where we want to be in our careers but rather where we wanted to be in our lives – the level of contentment we aimed to achieve. In this world the covers of magazines would show contented people who set an example of the values which truly lead to success, rather than people whose appearance we are taunted to emulate.

In our world not everyone can have lots of money or powerful jobs but we can all be content. We can all love, we can all laugh. Sometimes it may be hard to do this but even when life is tough we can strive to return to happiness and in so doing achieve a purity of purpose that no amount of money can buy.

Yes, I want to be successful. But my definition of success is perhaps a little different to many other people. What’s your definition of success?

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