Finishing Last: A Breakdown in Emotional Resilience...

Finishing last is never a part of my mindset, but that is exactly what I did last year at a local Stand Up Paddleboard race.  When you are a seasoned racer, this is unheard of.  But when you have finished in first place the past two identical races, finishing last is absolutely mind blowing (and I don't mean like Apple Inc).  Why the loss you ask?  Did I just have a bad day?  Did I not train hard enough?  Was the other guy just that much better?  No.  Something much more complex and insidious and it can happen to any one of us.  The answer?   A complete breakdown in my Spiritual Resilience right before the race.  Let me explain.

The Race that I won in 2013.jpg

Spiritual Resilience goes beyond the things that we do every day.  It is a state of mind where we are constantly striving towards a higher goal that goes beyond just ourselves.  It is the moral compass from which we seek direction.  When you are not on your Spiritual Resilience “game,”  other resiliences are affected.  And last year at a Stand Up Paddleboard race, my physical and emotional resiliences fell short because my Spiritual Resilience was not firing on all cylinders. Read on...

We had a six series Stand Up Paddleboard race to raise money for kids with Autism.  The first two races, I came in first place in my division.  I am not telling you this to brag; only to set you up for the epic breakdown in resilience that I experienced on this last race.  The race began just like the other races, only my thoughts were not on my Spiritual Resilience Mission, they were simply focused on beating my two arch rivals that had shown up for the race (they had not been present at the other two races.) 

Instead of focusing on what was truly important (raising money for Autism research and having fun), I let my emotions run wild (how many times does this happen to you?) in trying to go as fast as humanly possible.  

Because of this unchecked emotional reaction, my heart rate went through the roof and I went into exercise induced atrial fibrillation (a condition that I have had for 13 years and is caused by heart rates that go too high during exercise). 

I directly attribute my fall from first place (I was leading the pack for almost 2 miles of a 4 mile race) to last place on my inability to keep my Spiritual Resilience coupled and aligned with my Emotional Resilience (the activation of the fight or flight response) and Physical Resilience (the release of norepinephrine into the blood stream) in check.  Like tires on a car, I had a "blow out" in my emotional resilience which caused failure.  Note that this can happen in any of the 4 resiliences (physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual).  It just so happens that during this event, it was my emotional resilience that was affected.  In Mission Based Resilience, we learn to balance all four of the resiliences for optimal performance, and learn to listen and calm our bodies in times of stress.  

The moral of the story is this: you must have Spiritual Resilience coupled into everything that you do if you want to perform at a very high level.  You also must have all the 4 resiliences balanced and rolling down the road together.  

The fact that my Spiritual Resilience was not there during the race caused me to lose focus (Mental Resilience) which caused my emotions to run wild (Emotional Resilience) causing my adrenaline to run free (Physical Resilience) and elevate my heart rate to uncontrollable levels during the race.

Developing a Spiritual Resilience Training Plan involves self-reflection, patience, time, and energy.  But in the end, it is truly worth it. 

What race, job, family, life are you attempting to perform better in? 

You don’t want to finish last...

"Lean into it!"

Ed Naggiar