It was around this time 3 years ago that I made the biggest choice of my life. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I didn’t know where I was going to end up. I just knew that I needed to change. I made the choice to walk away from the drinking and drug scene that was gobbling up my weekends and my wallet. When I look back at the time, I was in total denial of where I was and what was going on. I was self-medicating for my own choices that I had made and in denial that it was up to me to change it. I blamed others and I rarely blamed myself for the bad choices. Why, because I had essentially given up on my life. I was trying to convince myself that this was the best my life was going to get. I was fat, unhappy with my career, and inside felt powerless and trapped to change it. Like many people out there, I was afraid to quit my job. It was my income source, and when the economy was in the dump it was difficult to imagine myself being 37 and jobless. So I stayed stuck and it was eating me alive. I had the victim’s mentality.
Some people will say that it was because I had an addictive personality, but let’s be honest for a minute. There was no addiction about it, I just didn’t want to accept the responsibility that I had to be the one making the steps to change it. I wasn’t addicted to the drinking, the drugs, I wasn’t addicted to going out every weekend. I was making the choice to do it, because I wasn’t in the right mindset to break the cycle. There was no drug out there or treatment program that could have righted that ship. It’s my belief that you can get all the help in the world to take control of a ship, but if you don’t take the wheel and start steering. You will never correct the course.
You could say that change happened overnight, but many people will not understand it was that easy and I’ll explain why. Change is the action of doing something different, and when I looked at myself and decided that I was going to do something different I “changed”. I ditched the victim mentality and went to a victor mentality. Now that doesn’t mean it was easy, but I started the moment in the other direction. I had my doubts and I had my distractions. That image of me in the mirror though is still fresh in my mind as to who I didn’t want to become. As I started accepting that I was at because of my actions and no one else, life started to change and I started to find ways to succeed. Steve Jobs once said “You have to believe that the dots are going to connect down the road in life.” and I heard that earlier this year and he was absolutely right. When I look back at the choices I made there is a deliberate path to success with where I am at now. Triathlon, tri club, beginner open water swim, volunteer swim coach, adult learn to swim coach, to volunteer captain for the swim area at the local races, and triathlon coach.
So the moral of this blog post is that it is your life and up to you to LIVE it. Be the victor in your life and not the victim.
The other week I was given a content plan from a training series I was in and I didn’t think anything of it. The top question though is something that I have been pondering for the last few days and I still can’t seem to get a clear vision of it. I feel like it’s staring me in the face yet I can’t quite see it from all the blurriness of everything else. Of course the generic thing to say is help people, but that’s an automated response and not specific. This seems to be a thing though with people like myself who seem to be hovering around somewhere in the middle. We aren’t quite at the top and we aren’t quite at the bottom either. We’re kind of at that comfortable stage but not at the take action stage. As I listen/read several mindset books it comes down to one thing… Legacy. What do you want to be known for and what do you want to leave behind as your mark on the world?
I never really put much thought into what MY legacy would be once I’ve died and gone. I’ve always lived for the moment and tried to make a difference in the moment. After all life is but a series of moments that are all put together. What do I want to be known for, what do I want to leave behind, what do I want for the future? It all got me thinking about this as I was watching the movie “Mr. Church” and I really wasn’t expecting it.
Let’s start with what I have done that have changed people’s lives. I’ve taught people how to swim. I’ve helped people lose weight. I’ve helped people improve their blood markers. I’ve spoken to others about my struggles in not just weight loss but overcoming my mental state of having given up on myself. However I’ve also since felt that I removed myself from my core supporters or my roots. Last year was a big growth with swim lessons and not being able to get to some of the things I enjoyed the most like TCSD Beginner Open Water Swim which I’ll be returning to this year and hopefully in a higher capacity.
Travel back in time to last year. I had just agreed to fundraise $50,000 dollars for Smile Train to go to the Ironman World Championships. It was a regular Sunday where my fiance and I were out shopping. We stopped by a Lululemon store in La Jolla and met a young lady who happened to have cleft lip and it was repaired. Now at this time I only knew about cleft lip from what I saw on TV and my friends who had fundraised for Smile Train, so I didn’t really know about it first hand or what someone goes through other than what I was told. Now I was intrigued to hear more about her story so before I even had the chance C was already getting her information. Months would go by as life happens and I reached out to her back in December but we finally got in touch as she is an ambitious young lady so she is always on the go. I wanted to capture her story on video so that I could share it with my friends and tribe. We had to do this in 2 takes because the first time I forgot to turn on the microphone. Please watch and share this video.
The people here in the states we see stuff like this on TV or in books, but rarely do we see cleft lip in the US because the surgery is performed when they are young just like in Amanda’s case. What I really had no clue about though was the amount of care and follow up surgeries that would go into it. Hearing Amanda tell her story was very emotional but at the same time it was wonderful to see how much she was smiling through the whole interview. It was very moving to hear her talk about her struggles growing up with things that most of us don’t even think of as we are going through high school. I had my challenges going through high school since I wasn’t popular by any means and thought I was too fat, I didn’t have the best most popular clothes, but she was able to overcome bigger hurdles and that we take for granted like our smile. I hope you’re as moved as I was by her story.