A couple of months back, I was having a conversation with my friend Bobo.
I can't remember how we got started on the topic of triathlon.
I told him a story. I gave him the shorter version. He got the short version because he knew about all the stuff from the past anyway.
You lucky blog readers get the longer version.
Several years back, I used to have a friend. I'm specifically talking about one person. To keep it easy and gender neutral, let's call that person Chris.
Chris had a mean streak. The mean streak wasn't directed at me. From experience, I know that mean people tend to be the unhappiest. Chris was a very unhappy person.
As I started to improve in triathlon, I realized that Chris started taking little digs at me (personally), and started justifying my finish times.
At first, I could laugh off everything. That's what I do. I laugh at myself all the time.
After awhile, the comments became more vicious.
I realized that everyone loves a back of the packer, until that back of the packer isn't, anymore.
All of a sudden, the mean streaks were aimed right at me.
It's not a stretch for you to figure out Chris is no longer a friend.
When you have someone who is a good friend, and that person turns against you, their words tend to stick with you a little more.
It's in my DNA to take those words and use them as motivation to go for the biggest successes I could ever dream.
I did the same thing as we were building our company. "That idea will never work". "You're crazy". "You don't know anything about running a company".
Over the years, I often wondered if this negative motivation is a good thing or a bad thing.
In triathlon (specifically), there is always talk about "your why". Why are you doing this sport? The why is important because it will be called into question at your darkest times.
I have had my own dark times.
My truly deep motivation didn't have anything to do with Chris or Chris' words. My own deep motivation comes from this crazy drive of mine. It doesn't matter if we are talking about work or play, I am one of the most dedicated & determined people you will ever meet.
In my conversation with Bobo, I told him that when I step up on that podium, I stomp on it. Even though Chris and I haven't talked or seen each other in years, I imagine Chris looking up my finish time or seeing me on that podium....
After our conversation, I thought about what I had said. I started to wonder, "why would I share such an important moment with my hater when I have an incredible support network in my life"?
My friends and support network deserve all the energy and recognition for what I've done because I can't do any of this without them.
In January, I start my 4th year with Liz. Yesterday, I finally had the opportunity to talk with her about my race schedule for 2017. We also talked about our goals for the year. But, I missed a goal.
In 2017, every time I finish a race; every time I have an incredible success, I won't be spending any more energy on Chris.
Every finish will be dedicated to the friends and support network that get me there.
The year 2017 will truly be dedicated to those of you who text me before races; to those you who cheer me on Strava and send me a quick "Ride on" in Zwift. It will be dedicated to all those times when I'm tired, and you say "You got this, Tea. You got this". It's dedicated to those of you who step up to the start line with me (whether in real life or virtually).
You are the people who have been through everything with me. You have supported me through the hard times; you've made me laugh when I'm struggling. You are the ones I will be celebrating.