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3 Ways Triathlon Cured My Corporate Depression
And helped me reclaim my identity
Succeeding in Corporate America made me depressed.
Let me explain.
It was never hard for me to do well in corporate sales.
Smile, dial, don’t sound like an idiot on the phones. The formula is pretty simple.
What I struggled with was more complicated. Here’s why.
Externally, everyone around me was telling me I was doing great.
But internally, I felt like I was capable of living a much more epic, fulfilling and impactful life.
I was at the top of the sales leaderboard, but my life outside of work became generic.
It felt like I was just going through the motions of life and only looking forward to the next big sports game and the next trip to the bar.
My zest for life had been zapped.
I looked around and thought: what the hell is going on? how did I let this happen?
Here’s 3 reasons triathlon gave me a new identity and made life exciting again.
#1: I set my own goals
I had let my boss decide what I was working toward in my life.
Some examples are: what sales number I'd hit, the role I'd play on the sales team and what position I'd target for promotion.
I was totally blind to the fact that I gave up major decision making in my own life.
Those goals fit in line with what everyone around me was chasing, so I figured they were good enough for me.
Then I realized progress towards all these just meant I'd have my boss off my back.
And that became my goal.
Doing a triathlon was a goal that was completely my own.
It was my way of saying:
I don’t care what my boss or my family or anyone else wants me to be.
I want to feel fit, confident and capable of anything. And I’m not feeling that enough in my current situation.
So I’m doing something new that will force me to become that.
#2: I started the day with a big win
I had gotten trapped going through the motions of the work day just like everyone else around me.
Wake up at the last second. Rush to work. Get coffee in the break room. Go sit in my cube. Check email while still half asleep.
I felt like shit, but didn’t have anything to help pull me out of the negative cycle.
Then came triathlon.
I felt massive urgency with a race date looming and suddenly had no problem waking up to train.
I actually looked forward to it.
I'd swim 1-2 miles, run 5+ or bike 30 before taking the train into the office.
I started showing up to the office feeling like a winner.
My identity was solidifying and my perception of myself was radically changing.
I felt like a brand new person.
#3: I saw more opportunity for progress
Before triathlon, I had such a narrow view of what health progress looked like.
go to the gym
I was thinking of health as a few small decisions in my day.
And it wasn’t working. At least not enough.
I was in fine shape, but mentally I wanted so much more from myself.
Triathlon opened my perspective to how I could live an all around healthy life.
drinking more water throughout the day
fasting when the food options around me were crap
getting up from my cube to go on walks and get fresh air
Stealing small wins supercharged me with new energy.
I felt capable of anything.
Triathlon rescued me from the bleak, mundane routines of corporate life.
It was the exact pressure I needed to take control of my life and start becoming the man I hoped I was capable of.
It helped me reclaim my love of athletics, pushing myself and making progress toward a goal.
And it guided me to claim an identity that made me feel proud.