Being in the Right Room

“Whatever room you are standing in is likely the direction things are going to go.”

That’s the description I used when I was talking with my husband about why I do this crazy sport. Let me start with saying that almost every person out there, if you sit down with them, has a story. Not just a rainbows and butterflies story, but some kind of hard, dark piece of their life that they have gone through. I call this “dirty laundry.” We all have it in some shape or form. I’ve always had a major block with sharing any of my dirty laundry. I almost always think, “Who cares?” “Who wants to hear that crap?” or “Yeah, we all have crap in our lives, no big deal.”

When it comes to achieving goals and success in sports, I talk a lot about finding your WHY, community, what drives us, etc. I’ve written a lot on this stuff. I’ve never really shared some of my deeper reasons about my story, so today I’m going to dig deep and share some of the soil stains in my clothes. Hopefully this helps even just one person know that they can make a difference in their life if they just take the right path and put themselves in the right room. 

Let me start way back. I am a child of a family of alcoholics. I was born into a home of two severely alcoholic parents. I faced a lot of dysfunction and abuse from birth to 12 years old. They won’t mind me sharing that because they have been recovered and completely clean for 28 years.

A lot of shit happens to you as a child born into alcoholism. From birth until 12 years old, there are some fundamental things that get a little messed up, and they might be in your life forever, whether you want it or not. 

Both my parents are two of my biggest idols! Why?? Well…they had extreme hardship that they took by the horns and completely recovered from. Complete dysfunction, nearly drinking themselves to death, and they turned their lives completely around. They are two of the most grounded amazing humans I know.

When you grow up in a small town with two alcoholic parents, the statistics tell you that you also will likely end up staying in that small town and following in the dysfunctional footsteps one way or another. That is what statistics say.

So how did I avoid following that path? Here is the most important thing you can take from this article and what I’ve lived my life by. If you just keep showing up in a room full of people you want to be, you’ll eventually become more and more like them. 

Many times in my life I looked around a room and knew things could go really bad if I kept showing up in that room. Basically, you have two path choices and you have to be smart enough, and brave enough, to take the path that lands you in the room with the right people. 

I started triathlon and I felt this way. I was suddenly standing in a room with the type of people I wanted to be. They lived the type of life I admired, their daily habits led them to success, they had structure, discipline, and their energy was spent seeking out being better every day. They were motivated, healthy, and happy. These daily habits made them successful. This is something that felt good to me, and when you’ve grown up and seen a lot of dysfunction, it’s scary to grab onto what you know you want but aren’t sure you can. 

You look around and know you want your life to go down that path, not the other. And so… just keep showing up in the “room” where these people are. And the more I did, the more I liked me, and the more I liked me, the better choices I made for my own life. Step by step, I kept going in the direction I wanted, achieving things I never thought possible for someone like me.

So when an old retired professional comes back and stands on the start line of an Ironman 7 years after retiring and you all think, “WHY in the WORLD would you come back after a professional career to do this so much slower than you ever did before?” Well…the answer is because as long as I’m standing in the “room” of all these people I admire so much, I keep making the right choices for my own life and I am the best version of me.

Every day that I’m finding adventure outdoors on my bike, finding quiet peace in the water , or finding intense focus of the run, I’m a bit better than I was before I started. I’m surrounded by people who inspire me professionally, personally and athletically. They share their success and trust in me. Every day I’m around another person who I look up to, every athlete I coach, and every friend I meet in the sport. They are so inspirational to me, and most of all they bring out the best side of me. We all have fear, we all have history, we all make mistakes, but I truly believe if you keep showing up every day in the right room, you’ll end up in the right place in your life.