Lessons From Uncertainty by Steph Corker
Life has never been certain. Yet the goal-obsessed, start line focused, triple A-type triathlete in me has felt like I've had control over my days. I thought if I manically scheduled my routine and ticked all the proverbial boxes, I'd show up fitter and faster on race day. I thought it would translate to the other areas of my life—meaning I'd be an excellent partner and a dedicated employee too.
Except that one time in 2015… When the summer had been blazing hot in Whistler, BC, and I spent all of my training rides overdosing on salt and getting ready to cope with extreme heat on race day. The morning of Ironman Canada arrived with nearly freezing temperatures and a freak snowstorm. Calf sleeves were quickly converted into arm warmers and I spent nearly 100km of the bike questionably hypothermic.
I learned that day that we don't control the weather. I also learned what it really meant to not give up - because the sun came out and my arm warmers were left behind; I won my age group that day.
Or that time that my first husband told me that I was not "allowed" to do another Ironman race because it was time to start a family. I feared a failed relationship, broken promises and the wrath of telling my father that the money he spent on our wedding would be wasted.
I learned 25 Ironman races, no children (and a divorce) later, that relationships are dynamic; people and feelings change. Thankfully my Dad still loves me!
I remember a fateful day in 2008 when the recession hit and the big corporate office I was working at was forced to re-structure. I walked into work to learn that all of my colleagues - my friends, my boss - had been terminated that morning.
I learned that sometimes life just isn't fair and "big company decisions" are not up for discussion.
So here we are in the midst of a global pandemic where we are all forced to battle a new heightened sense of uncertainty. This time everyone's race has been cancelled due to the figurative snowstorm and innovative arm warmers are not sufficient to battle hypothermic conditions. This time many friends have lost their jobs without a sense of hope for a new one any time soon. This time we are all fearing for our health and safety to mitigate the spread of the Uncertainty Virus known as COVID-19. And this time won't be the last time in our lifetime.
Right now, I’m learning that the only thing that has ever been certain has been the unknown – from heart-wrenching moments to euphoric memories and everything in between. Instead of obsessing over the things I currently cannot control, I’m reminded about the experiences that have made me a more resilient, kinder and perhaps relentless human. Be it track workouts or zoom calls; we have a choice as to how we want to show up in the world. In the face of daily uncertainty, I hope we all continue to show up as simply our best on that day. That is in fact all we have.