Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In the zone...

View from my backdoor tonight
I find it amazing how there is times when you are in a funk and then there are time you are flying high. I'm in one of those flying high stages.

What's changed?

Perspective. My perspective is different.

I will say my quitting drinking of beer has definitely been a catalyst. The audio book I listened to from Allen Carr was really helpful.

Since I've stopped it's eliminated the see saw effect. Alcohol definitely defocuses. It can take you from clarity to cloudiness. Then it takes the no drinking to get back to clarity. It's that transition from one side to the other that is the cloudiness. If you have to much to drink one night I found it would take me two or more days to see saw back to clarity.

It's great to be back having clarity. My optimism and determination has returned. I'm experiencing some internal breakthroughs that are new. They are the type of breakthroughs that are providing me with a more balanced perspective.

The key difference is I'm separating my day into various allotment of time and priorities. I normally grab on to something and take it to the extreme. I'll typically work 12 hours on something and then get up in the morning and do it all over again. Putting most everything else to the side.

I now have 3 core objectives I'm working on. One is work, one is personal and the other is my training. Of course within that I need to include family time and relaxation. Essentially that is 5 different priorities that need to be balanced.

Its' always been like that and even many more with a high pressure job as there is many subsets of issues that a company president needs to deal with. The difference is something has happened to me and I'm putting things in a much different perspective. I can't yet articulate what it is, I'm just observing right now. There will be a time that I'll figure it out to verbalize.

Another thing that is changing in my mind is I no longer care what I look like. I'm losing my vanity. Don't get me wrong I'm not giving up on staying in shape or eating as healthy as I can, it's not that. It's just that I'm no longer doing it for any sort of vanity reasons. That mind shift is very liberating.

During my swim today I got this interesting sensation and vision.

In 2007 I decided to get back into Ironman shape and within only 3 years I qualified for every world championship. I worked incredibly hard. It's beyond words and very few people would truly understand. It was close to 20 hours of training every week for over 3 years.

I remember traveling to Israel for work and it was one day in the air to get there, one day on the ground and one day flying back. In that time I still did 3 hours and 45 minutes of training. I was laser beam focused. Very few people will understand unless you've done something similar.

At my age there is nothing more I can accomplish in the Ironman triathlon world. What I've done is story book stuff. If I didn't have the world championship posters, the team Canada uniform, the letter from the Canadian government congratulating me on getting to Kona and the making of the Mark Allen Elite team I wouldn't believe it. I could do no more and to think most of it all happened within the first 3 years of deciding to get back into it, not to mention the 50 lbs I had to lose first.

So I'm swimming and I have this vision. Since I've decided to retire from Ironman's, I'm going to focus the same level of attention to my career as I did with Ironmans and see what I can accomplish within the next three years.

Some would wonder why? I've had a pretty good run over the last 25 years. I've always been in a C-level executive position and have been part of doing a lot of wonderful things. Some would say I'm a proven business success story and that could be argued to be true.

But in my mind I don't realize I've met my potential. I want to see how far I can go.

There is a lot to be said about learning from sport. I often see the similarities in overcoming the trials and tribulations of training and racing with business. Often the same principals that I learned through triathlon apply to business.

I was listening to a podcast on last nights run. One of the questions asked to Kevin Rose "if you were to be any age what age would that be". Kevin who was 37 years old and founder of Digg before selling it and now a Venture Capitalist at Google Ventures said "24 years old". To his credit he said it's hard because he hasn't yet been older than 37 years old.

It was a great question and I thought about what my answer would be. It would be my age now, 48 years old. Actually I could also go for 46 years old. At 46 from a business perspective it was an age where I could handle and succeed with any business challenge. I launched a yearbook division and knocked it out of the park. If I didn't leave, without question I would have grown it to a $100 million plus business. No doubt.

I now say 48 years old is the age I want to be because I feel I'm at this unique stage of having wisdom and high energy and drive. Prior to getting back into triathlons I lost my energy and drive. Training for Ironman's gave me my energy and drive back. I remember saying back then that I wished I had the energy I had in my 20's combined with the wisdom and knowledge I had at 41, which was the age I was at the time I got back into Ironman.

It took about a year and then I started beating 20 something year olds in triathlon. I transitioned from this person thinking I had lost my mojo to regaining it. It was a mind shift. Simple as that. My lack of motivation was all in my mind.

Now my dream has come true and it's even better. I'm now 7 years smart and wiser and I have as much motivation and drive as when I was in my 20's.

I'd like to say as I was "cutting" through the water at the pool today I had that vision but that wouldn't be accurate. It's more like as I was "slogging" through the water at the pool today I had that flash of a vision. It wasn't long. It was just one of those flashes that painted my future and felt right. It felt like the last 7 years of working so hard at training for Ironman's was a stepping stone for this next moment.

If it takes more than 3-years to get to the level I want too it's too long. I showed to myself what was possible in training hard for 3 years. There is no reason I should not be able to do the same thing with my career. It's not like I'm starting from scratch. I have 25 years of growing experience.

There is this overriding feeling that I'm ready. That's it's my destiny to take this next step. To make it my next Ironman like focus.

It's interesting that this new found clarity has also got me back focused on my training and it's getting more enjoyable.

I definitely feel that your subconscious talks to you through various ways when you are not on track. It could be a sore back, over eating, over drinking, unhappiness and the list goes on and on. It could be the lack of motivation to train. As I've gotten older every years I become more and more self-aware and that self-awareness is painting a picture of my future.

I really don't believe I'd ever have gotten to this place if my nature was not to continuously grow as a person my entire life. To me striving to get to the next level is part of my nature. It's not me to sit back and smell the roses, unless I'm growing roses and want them to grow better.

My swim to day was not only enlightening it was tiring. I did a 3200 meter swim and then some weight training afterwards. I was good until about 2 hours later then I was tired. It's not uncommon for people be tired and hungry after swimming. It rarely happens to me but today I was tired after.

I'm just so glad I still have 3 weeks of active training left to get stronger. If I can pull this off and finish this Ironman feeling good after it may be my biggest Ironman accomplishment ever.

My performance and energy is getting better now that I'm eating what I want and not worrying about diet. Best decision I made.

Swim - 1:12:53 / 3200 meter
Weights - 30 min

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