Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pivot Point

Do you ever wonder how you got to be where you are in life? Were there any moments that seemed pivotal to your current employment or outlook that completely shifted your perspective? Or were they a sum of its many parts, decisions, outcomes, relationships, etc that fate bestowed on you?

I think everyone has an interesting story to tell. The twists and turns, the ups and downs that make up our realities. The thread of passions, interwoven throughout time and our ability to follow them and make them happen. Can we alter an eventual outcome? Can small decisions made today greatly effect where we will be in 10, 20, or 30 years?

In 2002, I landed a job in Bellevue selling floors from the Internet. It was a small startup company that hit it big with all of the development nationwide and they expanded quickly. Each morning I would wake up and fight the traffic across the 520 bridge and put in my 9 hours of customer service via IP phones, then return home. At first it was exciting - and then when I learned the ins and outs of how to efficiently do my job, I got extremely bored. I was also out of shape, smoking and making everyday nutritional choices that spiraled my weight higher and higher.

I expressed my unhappiness to my friend Nina and she suggested I start biking to work. First things first, I had to buy a bike. I was also working part time at REI and got a screaming pro deal on a Big Buzz. Within a week I was riding into work - and felt amazing! My mind was stronger than my body though and within a few short weeks my trick knee went out on me and I knew it was time to go under the knife and scope my meniscus. With just a little taste of the long missed aerobic exercise, I was hooked and eagerly looking forward to getting in the saddle again once I healed from surgery.

Meanwhile, another friend was looking for flooring and worked in the biking industry. We bartered each others killer hook up and next thing we know he's walking on brand new cork flooring and I'm zipping around a on Mary Kay Pink Kona. I quite smoking, started eating right, started taking the really long way home and signing up for as many centuries as possible.

With a new perspective on life, a pivotal moment if you will, I realized I needed to make some more changes to be completely happy. Basically the job had to go. Being yelled at by customers and a few lame decisions by the leadership in the company (like not having any women in upper management) fueled my fire to quit and walk away. I had also finished the RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver to Party) and found I was passing most men. That competitive edge came out - and I knew I wanted to try racing.

Things worked out really well when my mom let me know she would like help in the family property management business. Suddenly my commute went from an hour by bike to 6 minutes. My hours reduced from 9 to 4. I was able to ride more and more. Stress lifted from my shoulders, the planets aligned and in 2005 I did my first Mason Lake race and placed 3rd. The following week I was so amped to race and had my mom come and watch - and placed first. She videoed the finish - screaming uncontrollably in my support and hasn't stopped since.

So back to my original question... I think life is a sum of its many parts, altered if things are missing. Sure there are things I would have changed - like smoking, what was I thinking? But maybe I wouldn't have pushed myself as hard to get in shape? Who knows - but when it all boils down, I'm pretty happy with the outcome. I'm doing what I love now and wouldn't change a thing.

No comments: