Mindset: An insight from Stacey
Three days before new years, I had a complete mindset shift. I’m not sure how. I’m not sure why. But it worked, and it has completely changed my racing, training, and general wellbeing here in Belgium. It wasn’t a new years resolution as I don’t really believe in them. It wasn’t even because it was coming into a new year and I felt I needed to change – it just happened, but I am sure glad it did.
To put this in some context:
Prior to this, I had many, many days where I felt really down. I was here to race, and racing wasn’t going well. I was also here to train, and training wasn’t going well. The days were short, dark, and cold, and I felt I was missing out on so much back home. People keep telling me that I’m ‘living the dream’, but it’s hard to believe that when you’re freezing cold, not finishing races, or finishing close to last place in every race.
The problem was, I was only focusing on one thing – cyclocross. And whilst that’s what I’m here to do, I don’t think that’s healthy. If work is all you do, and all you focus on, it consumes you. If university study is all you do, and all you focus on, it consumes you, and if sport is all you do, and all you focus on, it also consumes you, no matter how many times people tell you you’re ‘living the dream’. I think that’s where my mindset shift came from.
I went out to a couple of New Years functions, I spent time with my partner’s family (they’re Belgian), spent time with kids (I’m a primary school teacher and nanny, and love kids), and helped out with renovating and redecorating the house we are staying in.
All of these things gave me something else to focus on
If I had a bad morning training, I could focus on something else for the evening. If I had a bad race, I’d have people to talk to, and joke around with – unrelated to cycling. Whereas, if training or racing was all I had, if I had a bad morning, that would carry on into a bad day, a bad night, and so on.
This mindset shift allowed me to enjoy myself, and when I started doing that, I started to train better, feel better on the bike, and race better. I enjoyed my races, and raced hard, but I felt good. I wanted to train. I wanted to better myself. And if a race didn’t go well, I’d just revert to fun mode, and make the most of it – looking up and laughing with spectators if I had a silly crash or made a mistake.
I looked up and nodded or smiled at spectators when they cheered for me, letting them know that I appreciated it, rather than racing in the usual ‘tunnel vision’ style
When you look up and see what’s going on around you, you realise how truly amazing it is. I get to race with world-class athletes, with thousands of spectators cheering me on, on courses unlike anything we have in Australia, with huge television cameras filming the race live.
It’s easy to look at others, and see how great they have it, or how great they’re doing, but it’s so important to look at yourself, and see all of the great things you’re doing, too.
If you take anything from this, I hope it’s to find something else you enjoy, outside of your one main passion or focus.
Have a fall-back – don’t put all your eggs in one basket, or it will consume you
Photos: Francis Mersy, Aron Huysmans, Kristen Van Gilst, and Stacey Riedel