And just like that, another week has passed & we are one step closer to normality, I hope… This week has been significantly better than last & I can assure you I’ve moved on from my sooky state of being.
In my past few pieces, I slightly touched on my ill feelings towards the words “luck” or “lucky” & I thought it may be time to finally address this topic & give some enlightenment on what I meant by my comments. Last week I said I don’t believe in luck. In hindsight & when thinking about it on a deeper level – I do believe in it to a degree. Some things are just categorically lucky. Like randomly finding $20 on the ground or finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow with a leprechaun dancing around it – but I believe most things are not. Nothing grinds my gears more than when hard work, dedication & persistence are mistaken for luck…
When I was a cyclist people used to say to me “oh my god, you are so lucky that you get to ride your bike for a living” & now I get the same statements with my hair career – “You are so lucky that you get to do what you love for a job”.
The fact of the matter is, there is absolutely nothing lucky about it. These things didn’t just fall out of the sky.
I was by no means the most talented cyclist – in fact, my whole career as a cyclist I was working tremendously hard to just be competitive. I didn’t come from a sporting background so genetics weren’t on my side. Growing up I even had many of my coaches more or less tell me that I would never make it as a professional & to concentrate on my studies as so very few people can make it to a professional level. I understood their point as admittedly I knew I would never be a Tour de France winner but somehow, this never stopped me from continuing on my journey of chasing my dream.
As a 17-year-old, I moved to Belgium for the summer to race for a Belgian team. I had planned to move there when I finished school so this summertime stint was to give me a taste of what was to come the following year. This was my first time living alone & I was in an apartment with no cooking facilities which meant I had to resort to either tinned food or eating out. On occasion, my team would bring me to races but for the most part, I had to find my way, either on trains or by riding to the races & back. Sometimes I would ride for almost 2 hours to a race, race for 100km & ride 2 hours home again in the dark. Damn even when my team did bring me to races I’d end up sitting around a table for a whole weekend listening to people speak Dutch & Flemish. It was hard.
This story shows the sacrifices that I was willing to make, to give myself the best possible chance of becoming a professional cyclist & this was 4 years before it finally happened. This wasn’t just a one-off either, I was doing this 3-4 times a week & taking an absolute hammering in the races. Failing consistently. Many of those times I rode home crying, defeated & missing home. However, something kept me going back for more – I wasn’t going to quit until I got what I wanted. My deep burning desire to prove to myself that I could make it – I could prove everyone wrong. Even throughout the toughest of times, I wasn’t afraid to fail as I knew every failure came with valuable learnings. At the time it felt like a long process but I steadily made progression through the age of 17-20. Training 20-25 hours a week, racing 70+ times a year & essentially living away from family & friends all in pursuit of my dream.
Fast forward to 21 after signing my first professional contract & people were calling me lucky. Now can you understand my frustrations with this word!
What I’m trying to say is, people only see the tip of the iceberg. Nobody witnessed me riding home crying because I couldn’t finish a race. Everyone only sees the results but they never see the work that was put into achieving those results. I sacrificed my whole life to cycling. I gave up my social life & I didn’t drink any alcohol until I was 22. I can count on one hand the amount of times I went out partying until I reached that level. Damn even the information in this blog is the bloody tip of the iceberg. I could keep going with this…
This brings me to a point I seem to constantly find myself referring to & the main point of this weeks blog, when it comes to chasing your dream – work damn hard, keep persisting, make sacrifices & don’t be afraid to fail. I always touch on the correlation between my cycling career & my career now as a hairstylist because there are so many lessons that crossover.
I never put any limits on myself & neither should you. If you are someone within our industry that wants to try to do more, whether it be education, stage shows, competition work, editorial, whatever… Just do it! Don’t be afraid to fail. Even if you do – the lessons you’ll learn in the process will make it worthwhile. Who knows you may even find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
Peace out ✌🏼