Beating the Demons – Chapter 4
Today, November 16, 2009, I’ve been thinking a lot about Someday. Today, many of us attended the memorial service for our dear running club buddy, Joel Bischoff. He passed away on Veteran’s Day after a battle with melanoma. During the service, we heard several stories of a life full of energy, caring, passion, fun, humor AND results. It was clear to all that Joel lived in the present and did not live for Someday. He knew instinctively that Someday does not exist. That Someday is TODAY! He didn’t spend any time thinking or worrying about the future. This was highlighted during the memorial service by one of Joel’s life-long friends. He ended his speech with “… Live your life and don’t worry about the things you can’t control. Joel, you never said these words, but your actions did.”
While swimming after the service, I was consumed with thoughts of Joel, Cassandra and their 3 month old baby girl, Camille. Thoughts of how Joel lived every day right up to the end with a total love and zest for life. Recently he joined us at Herrick Lake for a long run and if you had just joined our group that day you would not even have known he was ill. He was the same happy, caring guy that we met years ago. He had an amazing ability to stay present and share the day with his run buddies. He wasn’t thinking about Someday, just today. Our friend Joel Beat the Demons!
We will always cherish that day and all the good times we had with Joel.
Memorials may be made to Camille Bischoff Education Fund at National City Bank, 9 East Ogden Avenue, Naperville, IL 60563, or to Joel and Cassandra’s favorite Melanoma charity, Jack’s Fund for Melanoma Research, at www.jacksfund.org.
All the wonderful words about Joel today reminded me of another great guy, Frank Farrar. I met Frank at the awards banquet the morning after Ironman Wisconsin 2005. I just happened to take the empty chair next to his. At 76 years old, Frank was the oldest athlete in the race that year. He had completed over 25 Ironman races – in itself an amazing feat. But that’s not the most inspirational part of Frank’s story. He told me at breakfast that when he was 63 he was diagnosed with cancer. His doctors told him he only had 2 months to live. He asked them if he could try and do an Ironman and they said, “Sure, why not, you’re not going to live much longer.” Well, Frank got busy and got the Ironman done, as well as many more over the years to come.
Ironman Frank Farrar
Hearing his story of not giving up and focusing on today, not tomorrow, not Someday, was another life inflection point for me. Right in front of me was a guy that did not quit when he was told life was over and focused only on what he could control. He trained and raced to his fullest extent. He has touched, moved and inspired tens of thousands of athletes to do the same.
Today as I swam, I kept thinking about how similar these two stories and these two men are. Both men living in the moment, staying present to today in order to reach their dreams. Both men accomplished professionals that had a dream, committed to it and planned the steps needed to get there. Both men told that they had cancer, yet neither gave up. Both men showing us that we must all live for today, not Someday.
But wait just a minute! In earlier chapters of Beating the Demons, didn’t I encourage the idea of having big dreams and big goals? Isn’t that the same as thinking about Someday? Well, it depends. If you’re just thinking about the big dream and not writing it down with the needed incremental action steps to get you there, then you’re just dreaming about Someday. And dreaming about it will not make it happen. Someday never comes. Someday can be a double edged sword. One edge can sharpen your focus and allow you to cut a path to your dreams, but the other edge can slice your dream to pieces. You must choose the right edge! The good news is it’s easy to choose. All you need to do is write down, “Someday I’m going to _(insert dream)_ and tomorrow I need to do _(insert action)_ to start me in that direction.” Then go share your written dream and action step with your coach and a few other people close to you. Then you must start moving to the dream. Wow, can it be that simple? YES!
In his book Born to Win, Lewis Timberlake states that 90% of us never write down our dreams and goals. It is interesting to note that he also found that 90% of us never achieve our dreams and goals. If you don’t write it down, it just won’t happen. This is one of the reasons that we ask every ET athlete to complete an annual season recap and next-year planning document. It forces the athlete and coach to reflect on the past season and plan for the next one while setting dreams, goals and actions to get there.
So, are you living for Someday or today? Do you often think about what you might do tomorrow, next week, next month, next year without planning out the path to get there?
What are you going to do today to reach your dreams? I think I’m going to get that extra swim workout done! 🙂
Stay tuned for Chapter 5 of Beating the Demons.
Joe LoPresto is the Founder and Head Coach of Experience Triathlon. As leaders in the endurance coaching industry, Coach Joe and the Experience Triathlon coaching team help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life. Learn more about Coach Joe and Experience Triathlon at www.experiencetriathlon.com and www.ET-Youth.com.