Last weekend I did my first triathlon. It was so much fun and I learnt so much. Mostly, I learnt that there is a very big difference to saying “yes I am going to do it” rather than “I’ll try to do it and see how I go”.
I had a few strange looks when I told people I was doing the full Olympic distance as my first triathlon......that kind of look like “you are a little bit crazy but I’m kind of intrigued”. And don’t worry, I was giving myself the same look.
When I was sitting at the start line, I was surrounded by a group of girls in very schmick triathlon suits who were all part of a club. They were in my age category and they started discussing the swim. Had they done enough training? Why this first part of the swim would be the hardest.....glad we’ve done all those long swims in training. And, while I was listening to them, something really bad started to happen. I started to judge myself against them, and even worse, I started to doubt myself. You see, I knew I hadn’t done enough training. I had only swum about 4 times and the longest being about 300m. What was I thinking. Was I crazy to think that I could do this? What would they think of me if they knew this....they would also think I was crazy!
Now the thing I know about strength is that it is largely determined by your brain. Not the size of your muscles, but your ability to focus and switch on. My plan had always been to just swim slowly, breathe easy and just keep going until the end. I knew I could do this. So why start to doubt and challenge myself now?
Sometimes being stubborn and determined pays off. I took a few big deep breathes and told myself that it does not matter one bit what anyone else has done or what anyone else thinks about me. The only thing that mattered was if I believed I could do it.
1.5km later I got out of the water having swum the whole way and put myself on my bike. It was about 300m into the bike leg when I had a moment of realising that I had completed the swim. Yes! What a buzz.
It didn’t matter one bit what anyone else thought about me and what I could do. It only mattered what I thought about me. I had said yes I was going to do this. And by saying yes, I was saying I believed I could do it.
What would you do if you didn't worry about what people thought? What could you do if you said YES, instead of I'll try?