The Secret to Winning the Tour de France (and Anything in Life)

July is one of my favorite months of the year.  I can’t get enough of the sunny days that stretch into the evenings, the delicious grilled dinners that my husband makes every night (giving me a break from my normal kitchen duty), and, of course July wouldn’t be complete without … the Tour de France.

21 days of an unfathomable athletic challenge that is met by an unbelievable display of heroic strength and determination from the world’s top cyclist.  I watch the race every night with the same amazement and admiration, and the same question in my head …

How the heck do these guys do this??

Well, the other night, I got an answer to my question.  Fabian Cancellara, a Swiss cycling champion, was interviewed after an absolutely brutal day of racing.  “What does it take to be a good rider?” the commentator asked.  With the nickname Spartacus, I expected Fabian to talk about brut force and relentless training.  But, his answer surprised me.

“It’s how you start your morning … how you go to breakfast … You may open up the window, look out, and see rain.  That’s where it starts.  The first negative thing you think is already energy lost.”

As the words came out of Fabian’s mouth, a smile came over my face.  Yes, Fabian, yes!!  Thank you for reminding me of something I tell myself, and my clients, every single day …

It all starts with your perspective.

And, wow, perspective is a powerful thing.  Your perspective can change your attitude, your experience, your impact, and your results.

So today I offer you an opportunity to take a look at your perspective and choose one that will create the results that you want to see.

First, take a minute here to think about your version of Fabian’s race.  What’s a big personal or professional challenge that you have on your plate?  Maybe you’ve taken on a new responsibility at work, are preparing for a speaking gig, or are ready to land your dream job.

Once you’ve landed on something, bring it into your mind and notice … What thoughts are popping up for you?  Are the messages positive, negative, or neutral?  What are you holding to be true about this challenge?  What stories are you making up about it?  How does thinking about this challenge make you feel?  Does your perspective open up possibilities or create limitations?

Now, let’s explore some other perspectives, or different ways to look at your challenge.  

What would it be like to look at this challenge as a piece of cake?  Or what if it could be really fun?  What if you imagine yourself 20,000 feet in the sky, looking down at this challenge, what does it look like from there?  Or what if you press fast forward and look back on it from 20 years in the future?

And finally, what perspective do you choose?  How do you want to look at this challenge, and what perspective will give you the power to create the attitude, experience, impact, and results that you want?   The choice is yours.  What perspective will get you the maillot jaune?


P.S.:  This weekend I married my yellow jersey winner and the love of my life.  Here’s a picture of us having a blast on our big day :)

Photo credit:  Martha Swann Photography .