Thursday, November 16, 2006

DRIFTING, WITHOUT AIM OR PURPOSE, IS THE FIRST CAUSE OF FAILURE.

Without a plan for your life, it is easier to follow the course of least resistance, to go with the flow, to drift with the current with no particular destination in mind. Having a definite plan for your life greatly simplifies the process of making hundreds of daily decisions that affect your ultimate success. When you know where you want to go, you can quickly decide if your actions are moving you toward your goal or away from it. Without definite, precise goals and a plan for their achievement, each decision must be considered in a vacuum. Definiteness of purpose provides context and allows you to relate specific actions to your overall plan.

I subscribe to the Napoleon Hill Foundation’s “Thought of the Day,” and above is today’s meditation. Could there be a more appropriate topic for my current situation? I think not. Through the end of July, when I was training and racing full-time, my plan was distilled down to the hour, always with the intent of bringing me to peak physical condition in time for a particular event. I had every tool and resource at my disposal to ensure that I was always moving towards my goal of being fit and racing well.

Now I’m in a very different contextual situation - I am no longer racing my bike or training full-time (will I return to that life? I don’t know) - but the fundamental need for a plan remains. This is an incredibly frustrating moment, because I am a man of action, someone who thrives in an environment that is fast-paced, dynamic and yet still constrained or contained within a broad matrix of short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. Right now, however, I find it almost impossible to do anything other than short-term planning because of the utter lack of control Yuliet and I seem to have over our the timeline for our reunification. And yet at the same time I need to plan and take action to create an environment that will be fertile for building our life once we are together again. Is this a paradox? I don’t know, but it certainly feels like I’m “stuck.”

Why did I stop racing full-time when I was at the zenith of my career, racing for an Italian team in Tuscany? There are several reasons, but in large part I pulled the pin because my wife escaped from Cuba and I wanted to create as quickly as possible a stable situation for us so that we wouldn’t be scrambling for support upon her arrival in the USA. We needed a place to live, money in the bank and a steady source of income so that we could establish ourselves after a period of true upheaval. And yet at the same time, my inner self was in a state of turmoil and complete chaos.

Why?

Because I didn’t have a well-developed plan for my life after cycling that I could put into effect at a moment’s notice. I didn’t even have an emergency plan to get me through a one or two month transition period in case I was injured or some unforeseen event knocked me off-course. I intend to write a comprehensive diary entry for cyclingnews.com that will probably be my last of the 2006 season. In it, I will examine this theme in greater detail with the intent of offering pertinent advice and guidance to the new generation of riders who are contemplating going “full-time” for cycling. It is a beautiful sport, and worthy of the commitment and dedication that are necessary components of success in it. But there is often a disconnect between the reality of “the bike” and what is “real life.” And that’s what I want to help other riders avoid, or overcome.

I’m no self-help guru or enlightened wise-man. I am in the trenches every day, however, and I am quick with a pen, so maybe I can do some good and work through my own demons in the process. The phoenix is my new inspiration.



All is not chaos or bleak, however. Yuliet and I have more contact, I'm benefitting from my work with futureDESIGNstudio, and I recently renewed a relationship with a long-lost friend. This last item is significant, as this person was very important to me and I welcome the chance to have him back in my life. Good friends are hard to find.

"Those truly linked don't need correspondence, When they meet again after many years apart, Their friendship is as true as ever." - Deng Ming-Dao

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