I’ve been pondering the concept of self-love – or self-care – for a while now, specifically how it relates to our lives as career-driven, ambitious, successful women and triathletes. And how–if I want to maintain my health, stay successful, and live a fulfilled personal life whilst pursuing triathlon–this becomes more of a daily necessity, rather than an infrequent afterthought when I find myself halfway down the slope towards stress and fatigue. 

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I know, your inbox and social media is full of emails and posts about goal-setting and how to “plan your best 2019 ever!” right? Well, in this article I am going to be talking about 2019, but I’m actually going to be focusing on 2018. Why, you may be asking, when 2018 is essentially done and dusted? For one great reason – you achieve a hell of a lot in a year and I’m guessing that the majority of us don’t stop to acknowledge that! We just power right on through into the next year, scribbling down all our grandiose goals on New Year’s Day, without actually stopping to consider what actually went down this past year. Take a moment. What did you actually accomplish this year? What were the good bits, the hard bits, and the lessons you learned from both? What’s worth keeping and bringing into the new year, instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and starting all over again?

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I did promise you a follow-up to last weeks’ article, More is Not Better, in which I shared with you the experience of my life grinding to a halt within a mere few days, how I managed to salvage my work and health, and my subsequent epiphany about my current MO – and the realization that it was beyond time for a new one! Well, here it is. I will show you what I did to change my life so that I actually ENJOY each day, whilst still being productive and achieving my goals. Sounds like a win-win doesn’t it? It is. Here’s why.

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I used to think very differently to this – ask any of my training partners, coaches, or even work colleagues and bosses for that matter. More ruled my life for longer than I care to admit, and it’s gotten me into a pickle way more often than I’ll likely ever admit!

But thanks to my experience last week–and the never-ending patience of my personal development coach–I finally see the error of my ways. Let me unpack this for you, and perhaps it might help you out of the same pickle – if you’re also of the More is Better school of thought.

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Yesterday I had the privilege of watching the WTS Triathlon World Championships on the Gold Coast. And what an experience that was! As with any World Championships, the home crowd was out in force, the cheering and shouts of encouragement were at fever pitch, and the atmosphere was just electric!

And that was for the age group race!

I’m not kidding. The feeling of excitement that permeated the air was awesome, and it was such an experience to be able to personally support clients, team mates, friends, and every other Aussie out there on course – it didn’t matter that you’d never met Dianne before, she was out there in the Aussie kit giving it her all for herself and her country! It united us in that moment, and we both felt pride at the connection – supporter and supported. And it was the same everywhere you looked – kiwis shouting for random kiwis, Brits supporting random Brits, cheers, yells, waves and high fives flying around. Amazing!

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I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us have experienced the struggle for motivation to varying degrees at some point in our triathlon careers. The more I speak with my friends, training buddies and fellow triathletes, the more prevalent I realise this issue is. And it’s not surprising really, when you consider the commitment it takes to not only train for 3 sports, but achieve a certain level of competency in each to be able to string them all together and actually compete in a race! Yep, it’s a demanding sport alright, no matter what level you’re competing at.

For most, this challenge is one of the most appealing factors at the beginning. The thought of mastering such a tough beast is an irresistible challenge, the dream of one day conquering it fueling your enthusiasm. And – truth – it makes you feel a little bit special when people look at you with such adoring admiration when they find out you’re a triathlete! Wow. This alone makes the effort worthwhile, right?

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Whilst I was completing my quarterly review a few weeks ago, I was struck by how much my life had changed in the space of a year, and consequently how different my goals are for this quarter and for 2018 overall. Let’s just say 2017 will be chalked up as a year of growth and learning for many reasons, not least of those being involved in the craziness of a start-up company in Europe, and eventually ending up living out of a suitcase for 6 months with various members of my family around the world. Needless to say, 2018 is looking decidedly more prosperous!

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I’ve had the absolute pleasure of attending the Supporting Champions conferences for the past couple of years, and as far as professional development opportunities go, these absolutely cannot be missed! In my opinion anyway. Innovative, inspiring, collaborative, out-of-the-box thinking – they are definitely not your average run-of-the-mill conferences and they will certainly give you a shake-up, and enlighten you in so many ways. I personally love the ability to learn from the best, be inspired by new ideas, personal insights, professional lessons and fantastic networking opportunities, as Steve from Supporting Champions has the enviable ability of attracting the world’s best scientists and high performance professionals from around the world.

I have written a guest blog for Steve and Supporting Champions summarising the conferences  – so if you’re keen to hear more, you can check out the full article here.

And to learn more about Steve and Supporting Champions, take a look at their website.

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A week later, and I am still living with the euphoric feeling of achieving a great accomplishment; in this case, my solo 6-day training camp that I completed last week. To others it may not seem like much–and to be honest I would have laughed at myself a few years ago at such an “easy” challenge–but right now this was a really special achievement, and I must say I am extremely proud of myself for accomplishing it! There can be no better feeling in the world than setting yourself a goal and then achieving it, and exceeding your own expectations in the process. Read More

Yes, for the fans, I am about to reference the movie Shrek, that wonderful piece of cinematography. Honestly, who doesn’t love it? The life lessons to be learnt from these children’s movies can really be so insightful! And it was this one that struck me on Saturday night, as I rekindled my love for the film.

We are all just like onions. Read More

I listened to an excellent episode of the Virgin Disruptors podcast yesterday, and the closing remarks from the host Holly Ransom really got me thinking about the course of my own career. The episode was on the theme of Purpose, and listening to the panel of young entrepreneurial disruptors speak with Richard Branson about how they’re pushing the boundaries of their respective industries was incredibly inspiring. A very interesting point made by one disruptor was that if she had known in the beginning how much work it would be and the sacrifices she would have to make to float her business, she probably wouldn’t have started at all. And this is absolutely true. Read More

I’ll be honest with you straight up, I’m not even sure what possessed me to agree to an amateur boxing match. It certainly wasn’t my intention to fight when I signed up to the gym a year ago, I was actually just so bored running and cycling on my own for hours on end that I decided I wanted something a little more social (if joining a boxing club can be classed as social!). Another disclosure – I am prone to challenging myself in quite extreme ways and often things I consider highly entertaining and fun cause most of my friends to question my sanity. I guess this could be classed in the same category. Read More

As promised, my blog series on How To Support A Champion continues, with Part 2 bringing you the interview with the books’ author Dr Steve Ingham. Read More