When character crosses from sport into life

This past week, Kristin Armstrong (aka Coach K) shared a glimpse into one important thing. One that helped pave her way to who she is today—and it wasn't the number of hours she spent on the bike.

"Your CHARACTER is your FOUNDATION," was just one key takeaway from the first monthly Live Group Coaching Session with Kristin. She shared one of her 'character defining moments,' and challenged us all to think about ours. This has been at the forefront of my mind for the past few days, especially yesterday. 

I think a brief backstory will help set the stage as to why. Two years ago shortly after I turned 50, I moved to Hailey, Idaho to marry my husband and jump into my new role as a stepmom to two teenage boys. I made a decision to try a different path in my work, one that gave me the time and the headspace to find my way in my new life, in a new place, with a new family. But over these past two years, I've come to realize that the position I'm in professionally is not enabling me to live my "why." In fact, it's stunting who I am at my very core. I've had this overwhelming feeling of not doing what I love, of becoming irrelevant at what I'm really good at, of not taking my entrepreneurial spirit and energy and acting on it with every ounce of my being... I've been in a place emotionally and maybe even intellectually, where I don't think I have ever been before. 

Yesterday afternoon I was scheduled to have a meeting with the head of the organization I've been working for. It is contract renewal time. The time of year when you either say "I'm on board for another year," or "I'm planning to pursue another opportunity."

In my mind, this equates to either saying, "I'll appreciate my security, stability, my consistent paycheck every month, and my benefits," or "Holy cow. Here I go. I'm taking a leap without a safety net but I've got this vision and this energy and this passion that I need to take elsewhere because I'm dying inside and I know I'll be better for myself, my husband, my stepsons, my friends, my new yet to identify clients, and, oh right, now I'm 52 and the years keep reeling by faster and faster and I have so much to offer."

Enter my character defining moment. It's been there from a very young age as it relates to sport. I've never been afraid to try and compete in just about anything—from sailing, soccer, and field hockey, to basketball, tennis, volleyball, to softball, track, and triathlon. In my fifth decade, I've even taken up alpine ski racing! I've always had the courage to embrace sport, especially when it comes to anything on the endurance sports spectrum.

Yet here it was. It was as if it knocked on my door and said, "I know I usually show up when you're about to embark on some crazy sports event or ride or epic adventure, but I think you need me now."

The hours were ticking by before I'd walk into my meeting. The feeling in my stomach was clear as deja vu. I was standing on the edge of the Hornblower ferry in the middle of San Francisco Bay for the start of the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon. I was about to dive into 52-degree water that churned like a washing machine, and its currents could quite possibly carry me out to sea where the great whites loomed. 

Back then, I could either take that leap and do everything I could do get to that place where I would find my comfort zone on the bike. Or not.

Yesterday, I could either take that leap, reignite what I know I'm good at, and drive my vision into being. Or not.

Back then, I made it. I had the courage to go for it.

Yesterday, I leapt. I had the courage to go for it.

This piece of my character found its way out of its starring role in my lifetime of sport, and asked for its chance to play a part in my next chapter. I know there will be sharks in these waters as well, and all I can do is give it my all, make it to shore, find my zone and pedal like hell.

What have been your key character defining moments, and how have they played out in your life?

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