When we look back at the journey of our life, we can see moments where our path was radically altered. Rarely do we see how the small actions of every day lead to big events of the future. We don’t see how the daily donut leads to diabetes, how choosing television instead of a walk out in nature leads to gaining kilos. Or the contrary: how the extra deep dive into a training session gets us fitter, or how the choice to recover at the right time can get us stronger. We don’t see it until a defining moment arrives. Small daily negative habits can lead us to a crisis. Small daily positive routines can lead us to surprisingly good places.
Rarely do we sense those defining moments in advance, rather they creep up on us. But tomorrow I will ride a World Cup race and I know it will be a defining moment in the small micro-sphere of my life. Whilst one athlete’s endeavours can seem self-centric and insignificant compared to the much bigger issues of our planet, I have also come to believe in the power of small to change big. To keep going after so many years of immersion in Paralympic sport I have explored deeply into my motivation. I have been led forward by how inspirational sport is in general, from the pure effort and commitment, the teamwork and support and camaraderie, and the attention to the miniscule details of performance. And I am motivated by all those that I compete with and all those that have supported me – an unbelievable array of companies, organisations, individual professionals and friends. You know who you are and I am so very grateful for your belief and companionship in this journey.
So now, the night before the first race in almost two years in our Covid world, I am intrigued and curious. Winning Gold in the Rio 2016 Paralympics I pushed and dug so deep I was left completely drained, unable for months afterwards to expend energy on social interactions or anything other than pure daily survival. This time I have flipped things up. I crashed and took to big skies and big rides of Quest 79 for recovery. I got dropped from the national team. But for the last two years I have trained hard and rested hard. I have listened deeply to the signals from my body, adopted new recovery strategies from other gentle activities to meditation, brainspotting and some rather unique energy practices. My peripheral vision on life is back. There are so many interesting projects and exciting things ahead – Quest 79 continues to spread ripples of inspiration, and I have stimulating work from brainspotting, coaching and groupwork on training our brains, and in the last few weeks starting as a Peak Performance Coach with the Flow Research Collective. The horizons are exciting, but tomorrow brings my dream of putting a balanced few years of training to the test. Surely when every cell of our body and mind are feeling healthier and we listen within more deeply than ever, our potential to perform expands?!
Let’s see. But one thing is for sure. Life is a learning journey, and whether our passion lies in sport or any other domain of life, it is a wonderful thing to have the opportunity to explore and practice creating. I know the previous approach I took was unsustainable and I have enjoyed this experiment and all the people that I’ve been privileged to connect with in the journey.
Whatever the outcome for me tomorrow – onwards to Tokyo – or a new fork in the road – THANK YOU to you all. The mystery of life is a wonderous thing!