Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Afraid of Success

"Something is wrong Jim, I'm looking at your power numbers and I've gotta tell ya, these are pro numbers. I'm glad that you finished in the top 5 but look, you can win - you should be winning. I don't know what you're doing up there, but you're not closing the deal. I know you are capable because I'm seeing the numbers. You don't need to be faster, you need to learn how to win."

Ouch. Here I was all excited that I 'placed' in a big race and my coach, whom I never met but have worked with over the phone and online for about 6 months gave me the real deal.

In split-second pulses at the finish of a race, I was making decisions about how I thought of myself and what I was comfortable with. I was not comfortable winning.

Craig Griffin, my coach, insisted that I win. And he showed me that I was good enough and deserving. Over the next 2 years, every time the finish line got closer, I amped up my mental focus to places I've never been. I would say to myself, I'm here! I'm here! I friggin deserve this. And then, every move was intense, split-second-made and fierce.

I was taking it. I was fighting. Not physically. Mentally. Once I gave myself permission to feel I deserved to win, it felt like I was not just trying to win that race that day, but making up for every race, and every situation in life, that I did not win.

Those moments crystallized in my brain. As I think back to those races over the next 2 years, I remember shutting down extraneous factors and hyper-focusing on where my position was, what gear I was in, where my competitors were and what I needed to do to win. All of it was happening at high race speeds with dozens and sometimes hundreds of bikes cornering deeply into sharp turns before the final straight-away.

So what right? Speedy Jim - whoohoo. Autograph anyone?

But here's the thing: those experiences, and my coach's ability to share his insight with me - in a way that I could handle - changed my life. I was 31 years old at the time. I didn't go on to be a great cyclist. I went on to be a husband, daddy and successful entrepreneur.

I never grew up understanding how to win - it wasn't in the family archives, and that fact made it inherently uncomfortable to succeed. No road map. It was easier - familiar actually - to 'struggle' and be a survivor.

I don't want to survive anymore. I want to live, and live large.

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About Me

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NY, New York, United States
I'm 34 years old, the proud father of 2 beautiful children and husband to Jennifer, a beautiful, smart, and very caring woman. I'm an athlete - someone that was blessed with the ability to move fast and fluidly past, around, up and over my opponents. But, my body now reminds me that those days are numbered. I'm the Founder of Agile Fitness, a company dedicated to helping others achieve their fitness goals. Resume: - Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist ('96). - Bachelor of Arts & Science, University of Delaware, ('95) - Masters in Business Administration, Baruch College Zicklin School of Business ('01)