Updated: Apr 21, 2022
As a coach, an official, an athlete, and a husband, I find that most of my days are jammed with to-dos. Life can sometimes feel like a never ending line of tasks to be accomplished, work to be completed, and deadlines to be met. Perhaps most emotionally and spiritually draining is the most often self imposed - concern over meeting the expectations of others.
Very recently, as I began to feel a bit overwhelmed, a thought occurred to me that I believe will help me find more balance than anything I have ever tried before. I think it will be more helpful than better organization techniques or being more wise in the responsibilities that I accept. It is such a simple idea that has eluded me personally for years. I think it will help me and it might just help you as well.
Those of us involved in the multi-sport lifestyle tend to be driven people with high goals and higher expectations of ourselves. As a rule, we are often looking for improvements in personal performance and good enough is rarely good enough. Too often, in our training and in our lives, we remain in some phase of personal dissatisfaction. And in that dissatisfaction lies the roots of success when it is engaged as a motivation to improve but also lies the looming danger of a pathological sense that true achievement is always just out of reach.
So what was my recent discovery? Well it is not earth shattering. It is quite simple. Most of the best ideas are simple. And yet they can easily elude us. The idea is this: happiness is a choice. Being happy with your life and your work and your pursuit of your personal best in multi-sport is a choice. For those of us who have embraced the multi-sport lifestyle, with our super busy lives, happiness and satisfaction often take a backseat to performance and goal reaching. And that is unfortunate. The primary goal of the multisport lifestyle is to have fun. To pursue any goal without the hope of joy is a fool’s errand.
So what is the key? I believe that the key to happiness is gratitude.
Dave Downey, announcer for many IRONMAN events, always reminds the athletes in the days before race day that they should be grateful. Grateful for their health and physical condition that allows them to compete, grateful to and for their families and friends who have supported and encouraged them in their training, grateful that they have the freedom to choose this life and pursue it.
By focusing on being more personally grateful for the life I have and the people in it, I think I will find more balance in what I undertake, and how I engage my life tasks and opportunities, as well as my athletic pursuits. In focusing on what I have to be grateful for, I think I will find the roots of greater happiness and greater success in the whole of my life.
If you think about it and find that you could use a little more joy in life maybe it will be worth trying out for you as well.