I've spent all my free time lately building a house.
My daughter has decided she wants to be a michelin star rated chef when she grows up.
And then there's rock climbing.
These three pursuits have far more in common than you might first guess.
See, I knew very little about building a house before I began this project. A tiny bit about carpentry, even less about electric, and absolutely zero about plumbing. What I did know is that it was something I needed and badly wanted to do.
Kaitlynn doesn't know cumin from tumeric (neither do I), and I doubt she could guess which was chicken and which was duck in a blind taste test (neither could I). What she does know is that she loves food (me too!), and she really wants to learn to be a genius cook.
And then there's rock climbing. When I began training, I was clueless. Pullups, pushups, stay on the wall till you want to puke. Or until you do. I didn't understand the roles that strength, power, and technique really played. I didn't know what anaerobic endurance was, and if I did, I wasn't sure how to get it. Stay on the wall till you puke, I guess. What I did know is that I wanted to get better. I needed to get better.
Halfway through this homebuilding project, and I've done nearly all of the plumbing, I finished up the electric today, and my skill with a hammer has at least quintupled (is that a word?). Kaitlynn tried curry for the first time tonight, along with several other indian flavors she'd never sampled. She made risotto a few weeks ago that was absolutely restaurant quality.
I'm learning, as is she. Maybe I'm nowhere near to starting a home remodeling business, and Kaitlynn would have a major meltdown in a real kitchen, but we're both on a path we want to be on. We struggle, we fight, we succeed, and we celebrate. Most important, we do it all again.
No matter your goals in this sport, I urge you to never stop learning. Never believe that you are "there". If you ask me, "there" should be a perpetually moving target. A place you constantly strive for. Soon I'll move into that house (hopefully before winter?!), but I'll ALWAYS have another project. In fact, I have several already lined up. Kaitlynn may very well wear a chefs coat in a famous kitchen someday, but there will forever be a better recipe just on the horizon, waiting for her to discover it.
Make your plan. Execute your plan. If it doesn't work quite right, tear it down and rebuild it. Add a pinch more of this and a dash of that. Struggle. Fight. Succeed. Celebrate.
And most important, do it all again.