Taking advice and critique in your stride and using them to build confidence is a learning process that some people never master. It can be the difference between reaching your goals, spending a lifetime almost achieving, or never even getting started.
As a new dad, keen health and fitness enthusiast and generally active guy, the transition from care free gym goer/socialiser to ‘Big Daddy’ took a little acclimatising. If I peel back the layers with brutal honesty, the introduction of our son, Harrison turned my life upside down in the beginning.
Feeding time at the zoo
The reality hit hard; and chasing the impossible dream of a daily training schedule on two hours sleep was slowly fading away and the associated anxiousness ever-prevalent. The time came to re-evaluate my life-choices and figure out a way to balance my family commitments with both my physical and mental health.
It’s true, that behind this ManMade man is a self-made woman and without her continued support, I’d likely have given up on more than one occasion. Now I’m not saying that my drive to achieve in life is solely attributed to Natalie, there has to be that inner ‘want.’ However, without her, the sofa would definitely look that little bit more appealing.
So, what is it that I strive to be?
First and foremost, a great Dad. I grew up with limited Father/son bonding due to my Dad's working patterns, and I promised myself that Harrison would take priority, even if that means sacrificing my training regimes.
Secondly, a loving husband. For me making the marriage commitment wasn’t taken lightly. Most days we bicker, most days I moan, most days she’s right and most days I could do more. But in the end, learning and adapting is what’s most important. I’ve always got her back.
Thirdly, I’m trying hard to establish my own online blogging platform, (Groom to Groom), whilst working a full-time job - more about this another time.
And lastly, continuing to become a better version of myself. Mostly this is true of the cycling/fitness arena but also from a wellbeing perspective. One thing I’ve learnt only recently, if I want to compete at life, I need to follow a ManMade routine...
Master Chef 2018 - Venison & cous-cous stuffed peppers
1. Self-care – take 20 minutes a day for yourself
Ditch the phone. Read a book. Take a nap. Walk a mile. Take 10 minutes out for some mindfulness. Whatever your tipple, OWN IT! No distractions, no shame – if you can’t care for yourself, how can you care for others?
2. Chase the sun – my nemesis
Early mornings are the best time to get sh*t done! Whether its 30 minutes of exercise, writing the daily to do list, or walking the dog; it may not feel like it, but getting up early and ticking off the chores brings a true sense of satisfaction.
3. Go balls out! If you’re going to do something, do it well
Whether you're facing that 30% incline on the road bike or running 5k for the first time, what have you got to lose? Yes, you may fail once, twice, even 10 times – but who cares?
"In these situations (and without sounding morbid), I always recall a quote that I read at a loved one’s funeral; ‘Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved piece. But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, screaming; Sh*t, what a ride."
Hard Knott Pass, Highest UK Hill Climb
So, there it is, a shout out to being confident, being your own person, following your heart and believing in yourself.
Be a lion, listen to those around you who matter, don’t allow the opinions of others to cloud your judgment or sway your beliefs.
Remember, goals are important, but the steps taken to achieve those goals are within everyone’s reach - you just need to learn how.
The bacon bits in the salad of life