The following is a guest blog post by my CL Performance Training Athlete Mike Boydell. Take a read to learn about someone else’s entry into triathlon and how it played an important role in personal growth.
My Growth Through Triathlon
By Mike Boydell
It started simply enough. For a few years I’d been hearing tales of bravado and spirited trash-talk from a close circle of long-time friends in their early 40s who were using the KTown sprint triathlon to keep their competitive juices flowing. My curiosity to join the fray was overshadowed by the daunting prospect of finding time to train amidst busy career and family life. Also present (but less obvious) was an inner voice that was quietly happy to play it safe and avoid putting myself out there in not one, but three sports. Beyond recreational participation, I had little experience in swimming, biking or running, but that didn’t stop me from imagining all forms of spectacular ways to publically flop in them all!
Things changed for me in the summer of 2009. The year I turned 40 also marked the sad and tragic loss of a central member of our circle of friends. This giant-hearted, vastly talented and passionately unique individual was taken suddenly in a senseless, random act of gun violence. Love and camaraderie brought a new group of friends and families to the Ktown triathlon that year. We swam, biked, and ran. We shared fears, cheers, hugs, laughter and stores. Individually, collectively, we remembered how lucky we were.
That experience also sparked in me a new sense of possibility – a next chapter awakening at a whole-life level. I felt a strong pull toward longer distance triathlon as a metaphor and means to embrace personal growth. After building up a few more sprint and Olympic distance experiences, my first 70.3 in 2012 became an invitation to really approach my own self-limiting, anxiety-laden inventory of “what if” fears – what if I panic in the water; crash on the bike; bonk on the run; and so on. That list was as limitless as I was prepared to allow my inner critic to roam!
Committing to the more complex journey and mental chess-match of my first 140.6 helped me approach the bigger question, “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?” The first answer – get comfortable asking for and accepting help! An important point easily overlooked by so many successful, driven, type A personalities. Several triathletes and coaches in my circle introduced me to Dr. Cindy Lewis, professional triathlete and owner of CL Performance Training. Cindy took the time to know me, my aspirations, my life realities, and supported me through all aspects of the preparation journey.
By race day, a second, bigger answer had matured from within myself: I would be wise and focused in planning executing my own race plan; I would be resilient and resourceful when unplanned snafus presented themselves; I would bring courageous drive to every challenge presented; and, my heart would be full with compassion, love and gratitude for all the family, friends, coaches, trainers, volunteers, organizers, spectators and fellow-athletes who had come together to celebrate this day of possibility. Crossing the finish line forever reframed my perspective on fear. Going forward “Face Everything And Recover” became a mantra to embrace my fears, no longer as debilitating self-limiters, but as positive invitations to the deeper growth and broader possibility that lay just ahead.
I’m so grateful for the experience and metaphor of triathlon; for all those who gift us with their own unique spirit, courage, learning and compassion, helping us see our own possibilities with the sunrise and sunset of each day.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy your race!
Ubuntu (I am because we are).
More About Mike
Mike is a CEO coach and president of Boydell Inc.
Since transitioning from corporate leadership roles in 2009 his professional life has been dedicated to understanding and serving the unique needs, challenges and opportunities of CEOs. This passion led him to create The Fearless Leader™, a powerful growth platform that helps leaders spark that deeper connection to their own brilliance as they strive for achievement, impact and fulfillment in their world.
Mike has served hundreds of leaders and executive teams from around the world. He is also certified resource, speaker and workshop facilitator for Young Presidents and World Presidents (YPO-WPO) Organization.
More About CL Performance Training
Cindy Lewis is a professional triathlete, chiropractor, personal trainer and multisport coach.
Her mission is to help everyday athletes achieve goals and dreams, and change their lives in the process. Her company CL Performance Training works with athletes from beginner to elite around the globe helping them reach their goals in endurance sports via online training plans and 1-on-1 training.