So today I attended the first meeting of a committee that was formed to develop and oversee a wellness program for my employee, a large regional health care organization. My participation on the committee was requested due to my prior experience with wellness initiatives for the physician group and the perception that I am a ‘fitness nut.’
At one point during the meeting when we were discussing various forms of communication, I mentioned how useful blogs and social networking sites can be. I specifically mentioned the IamTri website as an example of how athletes can connect, interact and support each other. I let the committee know that information and connections that I made on IamTri and another local triathlon bulletin board were paramount in my Ironman training process and successful race completion.
Now, fast forward to later in the meeting. One of the committee members is discussing activities and she makes a point of saying, “…we need to make our programs appealing to the average person. We can’t all be Ironmen…” At first I didn’t think much of it but then as it sunk in, it started to make me mad. So I thought to myself…”…Well, why the hell not?” I don’t have a big ‘S’ embroidered on my chest. I never played varsity sports in high school. A few years ago I couldn’t swim more than 100 yrds without stopping for a rest. How dare you imply that this was somehow easy for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that every out of shape individual out there should go out and start signing up for endurance events. However, what makes one person say “I could never do that,” and another person say, “I will do this.” This mindset is the key to success not only in Ironman but in life. The key to motivating individuals is getting them to turn that corner from the negative/self defeating mindset to one of confidence and determination. So how does this happen? We’ve all seen the videos on YouTube and heard the inspirational stories of Ironman athletes who have overcome what would seem to be insurmountable odds. How do we bottle that up and get it to the masses?
No one is born an Ironman. I saw all kinds of people in all shapes and sizes out on the IMKY course. At some point all of us have doubted our ability to do this. What was the turning point to get from “I can’t” to “I will.” Fellow Ironman athletes, I ask how did this happen for you? I believe that addressing this mindset will be the key to the success or failure of our fledgling wellness program. I appreciate any insight you all can give.