An experience recently reminded me that two people could be sharing the exact same experience, but see two different things entirely. I was having a conversation with one of our interns from France. He had asked what I had done over the weekend. I told him that on Saturday our group had cycled 77 miles and on Sunday we did another 40 miles. I told him I try and do at least 140 miles a week, but 116 as a minimum. He was surprised at the distance but even more so when I told him we cycled year round, even in the winter time. I went on to mention that I also strength train a few times a week and have a trainer for my bike when the weather gets really bad. His response was, “So you are a professional cyclist then!” I laughed and said, “Far from it! I just love cycling.” What he said next, sent it all home…”Well from my perspective, you are a professional. Anyone that puts that amount of time and effort into something is more than just a casual rider.”
I spent time really reflecting on this conversation because I often doubt my athletic abilities. I will psych myself out of doing a challenging ride because I feel like it is beyond my capabilities or training. I will be nervous that I won’t be able to keep up with the group or will run out of energy before we finish the ride. I don’t see myself as a strong climber, so I will shy away from rides that have a significant amount of elevation. This conversation reminded me that perception drives reality. What I perceive to be true is what will actually be true for me. If I allow all the limitations in my head to be at the forefront of my brain, then that is what will become my reality. In order to achieve greatness, you have to believe you can.
I heard a saying once, “Fake it until you make it.” To me that means if I want to be a great cyclist, then act like one! Act as if it is true rather than believing in my limitations. It means putting on my big girl panties and taking a risk, trying something new and not over think the outcome. Who cares if I end up not performing the way I wanted to, at least I tried! It means reaching for the higher branch, and when I feel like quitting I tell myself, “Suck it up Buttercup!” When I am able to step out of my comfort zone and do what I think is going to be really challenging, I often surprise myself. Not only am I able to achieve the goal, but far better than I imagined I could. This leads to greater confidence in my abilities and a new platform to stand on for achieving the next goal.
For me, this requires me to stop seeing things in black and white and realize there are so many colors and hues that I have yet to see and experience. Am I professional cyclist? No, but so cool that someone else saw me that way! The real question is how will I chose to see myself? Who I think I am and who I actually am can be two different things depending on my perception. I strive to be a tremendous athlete with the goal of getting stronger and better over time. In order to achieve this goal, I have to remember all that I have accomplished over the last three years; the time I did 100 miles at a 20 mph pace; the time I did a hilly ride and crushed those climbs to the point that someone asked where the motor was on my bike; or the time most recently that I did 87 miles with decent elevation with nearly an 18 mile per hour pace all in the small ring! That is evidence of the athlete that I am. What I can actually accomplish over time is yet to be written. Who I will become a year from now all depends on my perception. Will I choose to live in the black and white or will I challenge myself to dive into the unknown of the color? I am excited to find out!
~ Kimberlee Anderson