“Goals are now about mentally over-riding what ‘normal’ looks like”.
How different life in lockdown is from your ‘normal’ is likely different for everyone. Funnily enough, for us as a family unit, the apple doesn’t actually fall too far from the tree. One week after the New Zealand government announced an upgrade to Alert Level 4 in the fight against Covid-19, we find ourselves in a relative state of calm, humour-sly realising that our ‘normal’ (before the lockdown) is to some degree survival mode by default and based around the passionate pursuit of…nothing; a term that could be used to describe the situation many Kiwi’s now find themselves in.
To some extent, my career choice forced us into the mental state required to survive a ‘lockdown’ years ago, when I committed to a job at a local Wanaka holiday park cleaning toilets, so that I could have the freedom to train and work towards the goal of climbing the ladder has high as we could, as a family unit (but with me as the vehicle) in the triathlon and multi-sport world. Since that day, we’ve been whole-heartedly committed and accepting of a life laden with financial in-security and future uncertainty.
It’s an interesting and counter-intuitive mindset all professional athletes have to take. I’ve lost a lot of our earnings due to Covid-19, but I would have lost that anyway if I didn’t win any of those races. If my journey in this capacity means I’m in a mental position to help or inspire others, then that’s a bonus.
I’ve always turned to belief as a make or break – you have to believe the income streams will come back and in the meantime; embrace the time out, live simply and cherish the time with your family or the people you are isolating with.
In a world that’s turned upside down, there’s been huge changes in people’s lives with massive elements of stress and anxiety linked to future uncertainty, financial loss and more. It’s really important for people to compassionately work through the process of acceptance, because resisting and living in a state of fear will not help,
By now, we would have been embarking on a five-month international excursion as part of our major 2020 goal; Kona Ironman World Championships of which our entire year has been based around thus far. With that dream potentially crushed, we’re taking on a new stance to what ‘goals’ mean amidst this Covid-19 turmoil.
Even though winning that race is never guaranteed, as a family, we’ve always had goals – just like any family. Now, we have to re-create opportunity and re-evaluate what we want to achieve as part of this new way of life and how we are going to get there. I’m calling it a ‘vision’ as opposed to a goal. This part, is just as much a challenge for him as anyone else.
Now, goals are about mentally over-riding what ‘normal’ looks like.
Maintaining positivity throughout life’s challenges is something that’s helped me a lot. I urge people to make being ‘mentally aware’ of where their mind is at during this time a priority. This includes dis-identifying from ‘big goals’ and expectations put on oneself prior to the global crisis (that may no longer be attainable). Resisting this process will only deter from creating new and realistic goals that can be equally as satisfying as the ones before. It’s important to respect the new journey we all find ourselves in. A re-direction of vision could simply be making social isolation and helping to stop the viral spread the new challenge. For us, we are focusing on the big picture and living in the moment as this inhibits potential day to day stress.
Another parallel that’s come to the surface for us is the concept of home schooling; one of the major adjustments many families are experiencing right now. When we base ourselves over-seas for 5 months of the year, our kids have always been home-schooled, we also don’t have friends during this time and our life becomes very simple. We connect deeper as a family and are all very committed, as a unit, to the cause of helping me to win races. This real-life and well-practiced scenario for us is not unlike the life New Zealanders are forced into now, only, the cause and challenge is universal and very different.
When it comes to home-schooling, we’ve found that a guided discovery strategy and breaking down educational times is really effective. It’s important to take the pressure off yourself as a parent, remembering that spending one on one time is much more efficient than kids being in a classroom environment.
There’s no need for a full 8:30am to 3:00pm timeframe of home education. We look to do one activity and exercise in the morning, then one hour of educational focus, lunch, more exercise and potentially something in the afternoon which is more practical, such as arts, crafts or cooking. Limited screen time is also important. We’ve found getting the kids to be a part of the everyday process really effective; it’s not so much us telling them what to do, but getting them to come up with a routine that works for them in a way they are really passionate about. If a child feels more empowered and accountable then they feel calm and accepting of the process.
In a world where most rely on knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow, it may seem as though the ground is breaking beneath our feet. But accepting what is and believing in the future is the first step to finding our way. Our motto is to embrace the rest and enjoyment that is possible from passionately pursing nothing, for the foreseeable future.