I am very excited to partner with SKLZ and their #successproject.
What do you define success as? That was the question that was asked of me, to contribute to the #successproject. If you want to share what you think success is, or what it means to you, you can do it HERE or tag it on Twitter with #successproject and for each one contributed, $1 will be donated to the CAF (which is my favorite charity!). I will be posting blogs for this project throughout the next month, but I also hope you play along and contribute to the site and Twitter to help share success and benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). This latest blog was posted HERE.
My first answer to what I think success is. A trophy a day!
To me, success is measured as a token granted each day, and not the reward of a specific trophy. Even though in order to be successful, you must have a goal that often is represented by a medal of achievement, you still need to look for your own successes every day.
Although I am a professional cyclist and considered an accomplished athlete, I have never found satisfaction in standard successes because I always want more. When looking retrospectively, I discover that the successes that drive me are who I am each day. Early in the morning, we meet our training partners, our friends, our family, our coworkers to meet in a common goal, a personal drive, and a welcoming community. Each day we are a part of a much bigger success story than we can ever imagine.
I was recently asked in an interview what was the defining moment in my cycling career where I felt, “this is worth it”. Images of podiums, victory salutes, and gold medals were envisioned by the inquirer. However, I could not pinpoint one moment that encapsulated my reason for my sacrifices and motivation. There was a menagerie of times full of laughter, tears, beauty, and love. Those times make it “worth it” for me, not the trophy at the end of the race. That being said, I would never have those moments in between if it weren’t for my ultimate goal of standard success, trophies, and wins. My goals drive me towards a specific target, but my successes are not always found at the end of the road. My successes are found in the paths that lead to the destination.
Racing in Europe lends for the opportunity to get an actual trophy. Not many people do real trophies anymore, yet I think they should. I trained specifically for one of the largest one-day time trials in the world, Chrono des Nations, for six weeks. I was diligent and focused with only this race in my scope of vision. I placed 2nd and was rewarded with a large trophy and plenty of podium kisses. As I stood there, I debated with myself if all the time, travel and effort was worth it. I felt a sense of belonging at the highest level of international competition, and thinking of what obstacles I had to overcome to get there. Yet, I was more proud of those days that I challenged myself to work towards achieving a goal. I had a trophy in my hand, but I was thinking of those that helped me along the way and my own strengths as well. Of course I kept the trophy as a great reminder of an accomplished goal, but I remember fondly those that enabled me, encouraged me, and believed in me. If it were up to me, I would get a trophy most days.
What is success to me? It isn’t always a large trophy. It is cheering on my 81-year-old grandfather as he competes in a bike race. It is going on a long ride with my training partners and friends, revealing a little too much about myself, but knowing it stays in the vault of that ride and friendship. It is watching my teammate achieve a medal in the Olympics, and knowing the sacrifices she made to get there. It is becoming vulnerable enough to communicate your goals and your dreams to the world. It is training even when the weather is cold and wet. It is seeing my family and loved ones at the finish line, even though I didn’t win. It is resting and recovering even when you would rather be pushing your limits. It is believing in yourself long before anyone else believes in you. Success can be found each day. Look for it, embrace it, and keep focused. You need goals to find your ultimate success, but you don’t need to be so fixated on those goals that you miss all the moments in between. Your goals will be realized. You will find success. You could get a trophy a day.