Values and Big Goals
by Ron Tribendis, D.C.
My first trip to Kona was in 2006. I considered myself lucky to get there. I didn't really know what I was doing and hadn’t put in what I consider to be appropriate training for an athlete looking to qualify for the World Championships. However, I happily accepted my roll-down slot, went to Kona that year and then quickly realized that if I ever wanted to get back, I was going to need to make some changes.
My next trip to Kona was 2011. That's right -- it took me five years of preparation to be able to get another slot. My Big Goal was to prove that 2006 wasn’t a fluke; that I deserved to race in Kona. I sat down and tried to imagine what it was going to take. What changes was I going to have to make in my life? Who was going to help me get there? I took the opportunity to reflect on an important concept -- my values.
Values are very individual. Some people value security, comfort and predictability. Others value freedom, openness and flexibility. Your values are a key element of being able to plan and reach a Big Goal. If you’re values aren’t in line with a goal, the achievement can be difficult or unsatisfying. Your body will work against you. I determined that I value the following:
With those values established, I could position myself for success by ensuring that I nurtured each value and didn’t do things that were in conflict with them.
I realized my Big Goal by getting buy-in from my family first.
Then I moved on to challenge, knowledge and companionship.
In 2007 I challenged myself at Epic Camp. I barely made the requirements to participate and being there was a complete eye opener. It’s one thing to be fast in your local community or state, but to be fast nationally or internationally is an entirely different story. I proceeded to get buried at the camp. It was an amazing opportunity to see what the most elite athletes are doing to be competitive. I saw what needed to be done in order to get back to Kona.
I found the right coach. Kevin Purcell has been working with me for several years and has been a great coach, friend and mentor. The right coach will both inspire and teach you.
I found the right training partners -- stronger than me (on good days!), reliable and competitively supportive. They are great companions for my Big Goal journey. I truly believe you have to surround yourself with successful people if you want to be successful. You see this at the EC camps. I am always humbled by what our campers have accomplished within and beyond triathlon.
Responsibility and achievement go hand in hand for me. Surrounding yourself with a great family, coach and training partners isn’t enough for Kona, you have to do the work and take an honest look at yourself when things aren't going your way. Being responsible means no scapegoats or excuses. When you put in the effort, achievement comes naturally.
In short, if you set a big goal to do a full ironman or reach Kona, but you value things like immediate gratification, frugality, comfort, free time and modesty, you may want to reconsider and adjust your goal to be more congruent with your values. Your odds of reaching your Big Goal will dramatically improve if you take a few minutes of honest reflection.
Ron Tribendis, D.C., is a member of the Endurance Corner coaching network. He has been competing in triathlons for 10 years, qualifying for Kona and the 70.3 World Championships. He has also coached multiple athletes to Kona and Clearwater. He currently lives in Frisco, TX, where he operates Performance Chiropractic and Sports Medicine. He is a USAT Level 1 coach and active release (ART) full body certified.