Have you ever wondered about that?

About who you really are?

How do you define yourself?

Are you the employee – doing what you love? Or what someone else wants you to do?
Are you the spouse – madly in love? Or striving to ensure your partner’s health and happiness and sacrificing your own?
Are you the parent – confident in your ideals? Or constantly worried if you are doing the right things at the right times?
Are you the athlete – working the plan? Or always wondering if you’re doing enough?

Do you define yourself by the big moments in your life? Or by the little ones – the every day ones – the habits?

Who are you really?

A few months ago, I raced the Self Transcendence Triathlon in Victoria. It was a shorter race than what I usually do – basically because I needed to get my confidence back up. I have been struggling all season with a combination of panic attacks in the open water, and injuries in my feet.

Moving to Victoria and training with world-class triathletes has made me a better athlete, but continually getting dropped has taken its toll on my psyche.

I got in the water and started the 750m swim.

And about 200m in, I had a panic attack.


Here’s the problem. I’ve had them so often that having a panic attack has now become a habit.

And I’ve been pulled out of the water in 4 races – and the world didn’t end.

So it makes it doubly hard to continue, knowing the whole time that I could quit.

I had to ask myself – am I the swimmer who quits when she panics?

Or am I the swimmer who keeps going?

And what do I do – not just today – but every time I get in the water?

Do you define yourself by what you do each day?
Or do you define yourself by the big moments?

My partner, Jim, is the most amazing, kind, patient man that I could ask for.

He is supportive and caring and loving.

And I couldn’t tell you what we did for my last birthday.

No idea.
I couldn’t tell you what he bought me last Christmas.

Not a clue.

But I can tell you that every morning, he makes me a coffee with a heart on it.

It’s a small thing – but to me, that defines who Jim is.

Because I believe that not only are we what we do – but we are what we repeatedly do.

We don’t get to define ourselves by what we want to do – or by what we wish we did.

We are what we actually do.

Last week I had a not-so-great race in Chicago.

It started with one of the toughest swims of my life.

And about 15 minutes into the swim I had to make a decision, knowing that I had lost the pack and that no matter what, my time would be terrible. I could quit and hope for better luck next time, or I could continue and be the athlete who finishes anyway.

I had a choice: be the athlete who quit, or be the athlete with the slow time.

I decided I’d rather be the athlete with the slow time. Because then next time, I’m the athlete who kept going.

In the end I did finish the Self-Transcendence Triathlon. And I won the race. Not because it was easy. I’m not the athlete that always wins. I can’t define myself that way. But because I have become the athlete who keeps going.

Who do you want to be?

And who are you?

What do you repeatedly do?

And if you don’t repeatedly do what you want to be known for doing – what is stopping you?

What do you repeatedly do?

Because that is ultimately who you are.