Updated: Apr 21, 2022
My younger sister recently recommended a podcast to me. Now, I’m usually someone that needs to be recommended something 2-3 times before I’ll finally do it. (It takes me a bit of time to change routine, but I do it.) So it was very out-of-the-ordinary that she recommended this podcast and I was listening to it that very day. But it was about something I've been searching for.
For the past year, I’ve been on a soul-searching journey as an athlete to "find my why".
There are two areas of motivation that might help you find your ‘why’.
Intrinsic motivation is doing something without any apparent external rewards. It “refers to people’s spontaneous tendencies to be curious and interested, to seek out challenges and to exercise and develop their skills and knowledge, even in the absence of operationally separable rewards.”
The other is extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is a rewards-driven form of motivation. “When you're extrinsically motivated, your behavior is motivated by an external factor pushing you to do something in hopes of earning a reward -- or avoiding a less-than-positive outcome.”
BOTH are EQUALLY legitimate forms of motivation.
Once I figured out what it was that drives me - the reason I get out of bed each morning and hop on my bike trainer in the tiny spare room with no television - it was easy to figure out my ‘why’. For me, its because physical activity- endurance training - makes me happy. I ‘get a kick out of being tired.’ Once I found out my ‘why’ my training became much more focused.
From a coach’s perspective, I challenge you to sit down and begin thinking about why you train or race. What is it that makes you get up and run/bike/swim? Is it to stay in shape? Is it because it makes you feel good? Is it so you can raise money for a condition/disease/illness? Is it for the medals?
Those have all been my ‘whys’ in the past. (They can change!) Think about it - what is YOUR why?
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ~ Mark Twain
Coach Becky Piper is a USA Triathlon Certified Level 1 Triathlon Coach, Paratriathlon Coach, and Cycling Coach. She is currently on her way to Michigan but has made a little stopover in Wisconsin to see friends and family while her husband Sam is serving in the military. Her dog, Gunner, is with her on the long adventure across the country. She is the reigning national champion in the Time Trial and Road Race in women’s C2 Paracycling and is preparing for her debut in the Paralympic Trials, but her true passion is coaching. Coach Becky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.