July 9, 2009

A lesson from George Hincapie

Professional cyclist George Hincapie writes on Twitter (@ghincapie) today:

"Flatted with 25k to go, came back to group moved to front then crashed with 20k to go. Never been so scared on the bike as I was today."

At 36, Hincapie is a veteran rider of five Olympic Games, 13 Tours de France, dozens of international races, and has several national and world championships to his name.

Yet he still gets scared on the bike.

Sure, today's stage in the Tour de France was rainy and dangerous. Hincapie's injuries in past races include a separated shoulder, fractured wrist and broken ribs. He has good reason to be apprehensive.

But George keeps riding. He keeps getting on the bike and giving it all he's got. He hasn't risen to the position of team captain, won stages and races, and received awards like "Most Aggressive Rider" by letting his fears inhibit him and hold him back.

George faces disappointment regularly as a competitor; two days ago he wrote about being disappointed with his ride -- for about a minute.

No matter how hard, how frightening, how challenging the course, George keeps getting back on the bike.

So you're afraid of getting up in front of an audience. You're afraid of criticism and failure. You're afraid you won't do your best or meet your goals. And sometimes you won't. So what do you do?

How do you face your challenges and disappointments?

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