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When I first met my husband, he was fresh off his first trip to the Olympics as a downhill ski racer. It was 2006 and we were both in our early twenties. At that point in time we both had no idea that he would race in three more Olympic games, and that we would be preparing for those games together as a team.
Every 2 years the world falls in love with the Olympians who compete on our tv screens all over again. We get behind their stories, cheer for their success and cry with them in defeat. I do that too, but it all hits a little closer to home when you’re on the olympic journey as a support person.
Sometimes my family’s life seems really different than most of the people we know. We’ve spent more Christmases apart than we have together. We do Valentines day on FaceTime. And half of our relationship happens over phone conversations, text messages and emails.
A casual chairlift conversation 🙂
Olympians are great at mastering priorities, at digging deep and using failure as a tool for learning. When my husband came home from Pyeongchang last weekend, I was reminded once again of how his Olympic journey has impacted my own life. And as a result of this unique life we lead, I’ve had the pleasure of learning some important lessons that have helped me to experience more fulfillment in my business and my personal life.
Putting our own needs at the top of the priority list isn’t the easiest habit to master. When you’ve got a business, family, friends and other life responsibilities, it is easy to let exercise, eating well, learning opportunities, time for joy, and good quality rest hit the back burner.
But it is our ability to take care of our own needs that determines our health and happiness.
I was having a conversation with my friend Angela a few months ago when she brought up the idea of caring for my needs like I was going for the gold. I chuckled and thought that it sounded a bit silly at first. But I’m not trying to win a medal! I thought.
And then it hit me. If we don’t take care of our own needs like we are going for the gold, no one else is going to think our needs are as important as they are. Caring for our needs well is hard when we’ve got others relying on us. Around that time I decided that my self-care needed some serious up-leveling. So I began to put more effort and priority on what I needed to function really well, rather than just getting by.
For me, caring for my needs means having time to myself to read, learn, and be creative. It is having time to cook and exercise, it is doing meaningful work than makes an impact, it is being able to be there for my friends, it is having regular learning opportunities. I need those things to feel my best.
I know many of you are like me, and that you have many other people’s needs to consider. So I urge you to ask yourself, what would you change in your daily life if you were going to attempt ‘going for the gold’. Would you sleep better? Eat better? Take care of your stress better? Listen to your body better?
Transition weeks are the times when we are moving from one schedule to another. You know, the week before vacation, and then the week you get home from vacation and you’re back to work. Or the week before school starts and then the first week of school when your whole household is trying to adapt to new routines.
Because there is so much travel and training in an Olympian’s lifestyle, sometimes it feels like my entire life is a transition week.
The only way I have felt like I could take really good care of myself, my daughter and my husband in this lifestyle is to master our transition weeks like a boss. I take them really seriously! Rather than hope that everything will go smoothly, I make sure to set realistic expectations, to communicate VERY clearly and to prep things ahead of time.
I cook lots of healthy freezer meals, I prep easy grab and go snacks, I schedule workout dates with friends, and I make sure not to give up my whole life just because my husband is home for a week. I still sit at my computer and get work done. I still read books and take courses because it is important to me.
For us, the success of our entire family lies in how we deal with transition weeks because we have so many of them. Making sure we eat well, sleep well and all feel like our basic needs are met is a full time job, but it makes everyone happier, healthier and much more calm.
This is probably the lesson that stands out the most after spending most of my adult life living with an Olympian. Failure is a constant, and this isn’t a bad thing! For sure it is hard sometimes, but in our household we embrace failure as a part of the process.
There are crashes in ski races, injuries, bad races and failures in training. There is constant assessment of what does and does not work. But the successes only happen because of moving through the failures and learning from them.
I think that living in an environment where we talk about failure and what needs to change on a monthly basis has helped me to take that attitude into my own business and life. I am way more likely to take risks, try new programs, and not let the failures in my life stop me from continuing to grow and learn.
Of course there have been many monumental successes in my husband’s ski racing career that make me so proud, but I think it’s his courage that inspires me most.
Sending you some olympic level love and strength as you put your priorities on the forefront this week.
Until next time,
This post was originally written as an email to my Blast Fitness Insiders, a free email list to which I send workouts, recipes and personal sermons on life.