Sometimes life just turns you upside down and dunks you head first into the water regardless of how hard you try and stay afloat.
What’s important is that you get back up and start again, taking the learnings and doing it better the next time.
I have learnt you have to just let go, look forward and up, not back and down. Finding that balance will help you stay afloat and you can propel yourself to the next destination, wherever that may be.
To help with finding that happy balance, sport & fitness has always played a big part in my life and I am sure like many others, it has provided a great release from the daily grind and the ability to bring a smile on many occasions. It enables you to learn how to work as a team or to have the will power to persevere until you succeed or a feeling of wellbeing by accomplishing something. This sense of achievement and the kick of endorphins is addictive, whether achieved either as a team or as an individual it drives and pushes you forward with positive momentum.
Personally I don’t believe in the just taking part and being non competitive, you have to be ‘in it to win it’ or do it as fast, or hard as you can go. I have my Mum to thank for that internal competitiveness, having always played games ( Connect 4 & Downfall – remember them!) for money and risking the weekly pocket money when I was a single digit age, you learn quickly when you lose your pocket money that young !. Over the years though, losing has become more graceful and in theory as I have got older ( I haven’t been sent off now in football for over 10 years, major achievement as I was sent off every year since the age of 14, sometimes more than once in a season and personal pride that the fines I paid probably help fund most of the new Wembley build.) but that drive to succeed is still as burning hot as ever and provides the focus to win in all aspects of life not just sport. The next chapter be it professional sailing or interim advisory work or both, I see it as a must win game and one that you need to prepare properly for in both the body and the mind and I see it as a 3 step process to success.
Not everyone wants to be fit, but I see it as a simple equation, the fitter you are equals the better you feel both mentally and physically. It may be hard to get there, but I haven’t met anybody yet who has regretted getting fit yet. For me running helped me achieve this, at times I turned into the UK version of Forrest Gump, run Forest run…but it has been an amazing tonic for stress, jet lag, an escape from the madness of family life and to find the time to self reflect and truly think about the future. Nothing beats going for a run where ever you are in the world, exploring and finding new cool places and makes for a great selfie memory !
Running selfies from around the world
Once fit, or getting fitter, getting strong is something I have recently learned to appreciate especially with over 40+ years of sport ( I estimate starting to play football around the age of 3 or 4) now making the knees, ankles, back and hamstring squeak all too often. Cutting back on the running to focus more on strength and resistance training has helped a huge amount and I have been attending the local Wild Training Gym where theres a different approach to the normal monotony of a gym with new innovative ways to improve your strength. The circuit training and core strength will help a lot when out on the water, it’s also become really addictive to want to lift more weights every week and see the improvements in strength. They say that weight lifting is better for you than cardiovascular work, this probably explains why for 40 years I have had no muscle but I could run all day long but as weak as a pint of Fosters !
Now you don’t have to be super fit or strong to enjoy sailing, but it certainly helps when you are winching, pulling the lines or just trying to live at a 30 degree heal for hours whilst on a passage. What’s most important is that you feel healthy, happy and motivated and that will help you succeed in anything you might want to do. I can’t wait to spend some time out on the water from April and follow the wind and see where I might end up, exciting times !.
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