Impossible Future

Triathlons as a Model for Thriving and Surviving: Reframe Your Impossible Future!

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Triathlons as a Model for Thriving and Surviving: Reframe Your Impossible Future!

I was hooked when Simon Whitfield won the gold medal for the Olympic Distance Triathlon (1500m swim, 40km bike, and 10km run) in Sydney, 2000. A Canadian won the very first Olympic triathlon! 8 years later, at the Beijing Olympics, he won silver in a spectacular come-from-behind finish. He is an awesome example of grit, focus, and determination, and an Impossible Future.

I blame the thrill of watching him and other world-class triathletes for what came next. What genuinely interested me about this sport was going to help me become healthier by cross-training; using different body motions and systems to become healthier. It looked fun too.    

I then set my personal Impossible Future ( IF ); get healthier by preparing for an Olympic Distance Age Group race. At times I secretly fantasized about an Ironman at some point – say Lake Placid, Mt Tremblant, or Penticton.  

I had to plan a few steps.  

  1. Where am I now? 
  2. Where do I want to be?
  3. What are the barriers to achieving my Impossible Future?
  4. How can I overcome them and reach my goals?

Part A of the learning process was to leverage strengths and manage weaknesses. I had – biking. I loved that part of the race and focused on doing it even better to “buy" some time and advantage. But I also recognized my weaknesses and worked on them to master them. Why? Because your weakness is not your master. I did get the hang of the 1500m distances- I wanted my Impossible Future and knew this was a key obstacle to face.  

But that was not the only takeaway.  

On my journey to my IF of an Ironman in 2010, I fell off the bike in Tuscon Arizona. I ended up with a potentially dangerous concussion and a broken clavicle. I lost a day of consciousness. I still do not remember most of that day. 7 days later it was determined I had a displaced clavicle fracture that required surgery with a plate and 8 screws. My Ironman Impossible Future vaporized. Gone.  

“Stuff happens” to all of us at some time or another. This setback is small potatoes in the big picture. But it was a dream stalled.   

Part B of the learning process was to "Reframe." Pivot. Shift. It took a coach to say to me – we can refocus and train for another interesting race this year. Another reframed Impossible Future. And with that, 9 months later, I was in an Olympic distance championship race organized by the International Triathlon Union in Budapest Hungary; swimming in the cold (65F/18.3C) Danube River, and biking and running in my parent's home city. A year before, I never imagined I would do an Olympic race in this location. I had reframed my IF and I was incredibly pleased.  


  1. What is your Impossible Future?
  2. What is your plan to achieve your Impossible Future?
  3. Consider the role and impact a coach can have in working toward your Impossible Future be it in business, as a leader, or in your personal endeavors!