The best triathlon training group I ever had the pleasure of working with was a network of friends that would spend almost every weekend biking and running together. We had a doctor, dentist, engineer, accountant, mortgage broker, massage therapist, and others. In this group, Mary was the best swimmer; Clint was a phenomenal cyclist while Scott could outrun any of us. I learned to be very good at all three, but not the best at any.
It took a great deal of training for me to be nearly as fast as any in their given discipline. In races, it was difficult to minimize Clint’s advantage on the bike and catch him on the run or build up enough of a lead to stay ahead of Scott. But what great fun to collect on a dinner bet when I did. (Let’s face it; bragging rights is what amateur athletics is really about).
However, race results aside, there has always been one member of that group that stood above all of us when it came to life. He maintained a thriving dental practice, had an amazing family with a wonderful wife and three fantastic children. He maintained his physical, mental and emotional well-being better than any single person I have ever met. His humility, compassion and empathy for others rounded out a work-life balance in a way few of us could hope to achieve.
When I first met Les, I was an arrogant, narcissistic ‘tweener’ who thought he knew everything and was the next best thing to sliced bread. Les was the opposite. Humble and hard-working, Les always seemed to have his life ‘together’. Over the years and miles of biking or running, I marveled at how he achieved his success in life. When I asked him how he did it, his response was something along the lines of ‘I guess I didn’t realize I was doing it. I just enjoy doing what I’m doing. I’m actually surprised that you would think so highly of me’. Never once did Les set out to teach me a life-lesson. Instead, his living example was far greater than any classroom lesson or sermon that I ever heard.
More than thirty years have passed since I first met Les. Our training group has long since broken up; relocations, retirement from racing, or just the evolution of life. But the lessons of a humble man during hundreds of miles of riding showed me that there is a whole lot more to life than being a good triathlete, or a good manager or a good father/husband. He was good at all of those things. Perhaps not the greatest at any, but the most well-balance person I have ever met. I continually strive to emulate him.
It may seem like I’m leading up to a formula for finding your balance, but I’m not. I have no clue what your balanced life looks like. My only advice here is to seek your balance. Strive for it and let others see your example so that they can try to emulate it in their life; just as Les did for me. Dr. Les was not the fastest in our group, but he demonstrated that a well-balanced life was the greatest result I could ever hope to attain.