Bouncing back: What I've learned about resilience
Life will always throw us challenges to test our endurance and commitment to following our dreams. We have all felt lost at some stage when a situation hasn’t turned out as planned, we’ve suffered illness or injury, lost a valued relationship, a job or a loved one.
For me right now, my mission and passion in life is to excel in sport, specifically at triathlon. And I’m learning how important it is to be resilient as I work towards my dream.
Learning to go with the flow
Resilience, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape: elasticity. It’s the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties: toughness”. For me, to do what I love and be a successful athlete, I have had to work on (and continue to work on) resilience almost as a fourth discipline.
I am someone who likes to plan. I like structure. To know what’s happening and to have it all mapped out makes me feel calm and confident. With triathlon, this rarely works. Everything changes, all the time!
It can be travel challenges, luggage losses or breakages, gear failures, injury set-backs, illness, heck even the weather can influence an outcome. A whole bunch of clichés cover most of these challenges and as clichéd as they are, they are all true. There really IS no point crying over spilt milk, a stitch in time TOTALLY saves nine, in adversity there is opportunity, let go of things you can’t control…you can add your favourite to the list!
So I’ve learned that when a flight is delayed, getting steamed up doesn’t make another plane magically appear. I find somewhere comfortable, have some real food (while I still can), read or listen to music or just relax. There’ll be another flight. If something gets broken on my bike in transit, I’m pretty much guaranteed to find a replacement part somewhere (or even a replacement bike, possibly – probably – borrowed) at my destination. Where I can be prepared, I will be, but if I can’t MAKE something happen, I need to accept that and do something with what that adversity has offered me.
Where to next?
Right now I’m living in Mount Maunganui, Tauranga and it is so good to be home, I just love it here. I’m enjoying training here and have been over to Cambridge with some of the other elite guys too. I’m working with Brad Takai, a physio based here in Tauranga to recover from my hip injury and strengthen weaknesses while improving my stability. I’m loving spending some quality time with my family and friends and being back in New Zealand for the summer. My eyes are set on racing well next year in a range of events and hopefully the World Triathlon Series. Training is going well, and I’m recovering from my injury nicely, but it’s taking its time.
"I'm recovering from my injury nicely, but it's taking time."
More importantly, I’m trying to do more of the things I love outside of triathlon, like baking healthy goodies for my family and friends, catching up with old friends and getting involved with the triathlon community. Last month I was even lucky enough to speak at my old school, Otumoetai College’s Sports Awards. It was such a privilege going back to connect with the school and inspire young athletes to overcome the challenges that they might face.
"It's such a privilege to connect with and inspire young athletes to overcome the challenges they might face."