Project242: Don’t Lose Sight of What’s Important

Project242 (P242) is my journey to bike 242 miles in 24 hours, across the state of Minnesota on gravel roads, in August, 2021 (the Day Across MN, or the DAMN). I’ve found many lessons experienced riding a bike can be applied to our careers. In these posts, I will share the correlations.

I could tell by the look in her eyes I was about to get some level of ass chewing. “The Look” was one that could strike fear into even the toughest of men. I knew better than to speak. My lovely wife of 17 years had something to say, and I sure the hell needed to listen!

“You get up at 4:45 every morning to ride your bike or workout. You ride at lunch. You ride after work. You’re always doing something. Now, sit down and watch a movie with us. Please.”

Please was a nice, though unneeded, touch. But, she was right. Over the past couple of weeks I’d put in 27 hours of training (yes, I keep track). I’d ridden 280 miles, run another 10, and 8 hours of circuit training. Throw on top of that a 40+ hour a week job and prepping for two presentations, I’m booked sun up to sun down with a little sleep in between. Any family time usually involved a laptop in front of my face or phone in my hand, half focusing on them and half focusing on something else. No wonder my wife was pissed.

I’d lost sight of what is most important to me; my family.

How easy is it for us to set a goal and go after it full steam? When you love and are passionate about something, it’s pretty easy! You’ll be working, or working out, and before you know it, hours have passed and it only felt like a few minutes.

I have friends and peers who run into similar problems with their careers. One entrepreneur does website content and technical writing services to agricultural companies. He’s niche and made a name for himself. However, he doesn’t say NO to new projects or tight deadlines. Because he loves what he’s doing, he wants to do more and more. Now he’s having some health concerns due to his sedentary lifestyle. Another educational professional works 11-13 hours a day. Her kids used to get upset she was gone many evenings, but now have gotten used to it. They don’t talk much when she gets home because she’s tired, so no “How was your day?” conversations.

Take a minute right now and write down 1-3 things that are very important to you that’s NOT your job. Mine is my wife, kids, and personal health (physical and mental wellbeing). These should take priority. Some days, something may come up (i.e. work issues) that require more attention, but those should be the exception, not the rule.

When you take off on a new venture, there is excitement and you’ll want to go “all in.” However, understand what else is important to you and don’t lose sight of it. Whether family, health, or something else, beware of neglecting those important aspects of your life.

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