27th February 2022 is my 4-year brain-iversary.

It’s been 4 years since my vertebral artery dissection and (first) minor stroke.

When I was in hospital I set a goal to do another half-ironman triathlon in 6 months.

Did I reach that goal? Nope.

It’s one of those not-funny-but-kinda-funny moments because there was no way I could be physically recovered and train to the appropriate level in just 6 months.

Am I disappointed by that outcome? Yes and no. 

If I knew how long and hard the recovery journey would be while I was in it, I would have been devastated. I’m actually kinda glad I didn’t know how long it would take to get back to myself again because not knowing protected me from the disappointment.

After my stroke, I couldn’t do regular things like walk 5 meters, remember what day it was, or make a sandwich. My usual daily activities like cycling, coaching CEOs, and playing piano weren’t an option. I couldn’t do anything, and I knew it.

But instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do, I learned to tune into what I could do. The positive psychology I had learned about in my Masters degree came in handy for navigating life at this moment. How’s that for a real life application?

When you have any sort of brain injury (like a stroke), you can’t push harder or just do more–that’s how you stall progress rather than accelerate it. Instead, it requires consistent effort without judgement, building tiny habits one on top of another, and approaching challenges without shame.

It’s about paying attention to the positive stuff rather than getting bogged down in the negatives that you can’t control.

When you adopt this mentality, it can help relieve the pressure in both work and life.

Maybe you aren’t where you want to be in your business yet. That’s okay.

Maybe you aren’t feeling the best about your personal life right now. That’s okay too.

Maybe you set goals for yourself that should have been classified as stretches instead of benchmarks and didn’t reach them. That’s just fine.

Your goals may need adjusting sometimes–that’s not failure. It’s the getting up part that counts.

I’m at the spot in my journey where it’s time to get up again, so to celebrate my 4 year brain-iversary I’m doing a sprint triathlon at the local Mooloolaba beach. It’s a quarter of my original distance and required 8x the recovery time to get here, so I guess that means I hit 1/32nd of my goal.

I’m okay with that.

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