"Be not the slave of your own past.
Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far,
so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power,
with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
For some reason when I came across that quote it spoke volumes to me, much in the same way the "Man In The Glass," poem I posted last year did. But this Emerson quote can be applied so directly to my life, and many others right now that I had thought about it all weekend. As I embark on my second and final year at Darden, search for my post-MBA job in a field far different than the one I had thought I would love, and train for my second Ironman I realized that good or bad, our past does not define what we can accomplish in the future.
Prior to coming to business school I had obtained a Master's in Political Science and truly believed a job in emerging market investments could be a career path I would be passionate about. However, after a summer working in it, I realize that because I have had academic success in the study of political economy does not mean I need to focus my efforts so narrowly. That by being a slave to my academic past I was not being true to myself and would never become professional or personally fulfilled by looking at that industry alone.
Although I had a tremendously successful first year at Darden, I cannot think that the same effort will afford me the same success this year. I can be proud of my past accomplishments, but must realize that past success does not dictate future success. I must continue to broaden my experience, and swim deeper into the Darden community so that my second year surpasses my first year no matter how incredible my first year was.
As I train for my second Ironman, I realize that the struggles I had at IMLP, the learning process I went through with diabetes does not need to be repeated. I can take that information, put it in my back pocket as I plunge into my IMCDA training. With each new struggle, with each new disappointment, with each new experience and with each new triumph I am growing as a triathlete and getting better. Past disappointments do not mean I will have results that do not live up to my (admittedly high) expectations in the future, but give me motivation to train harder than I ever have before. Use the fuel of my past experience as motivation for the future, but never forget to enjoy every second I am training, because I am one of the lucky few who can challenge myself in the way that I do.
In short each new day and each new challenge gives the opportunity to dive deeper into life; and while new experiences are born through the old, they are not defined by the old. With each new opportunity we all have a chance to move forward, to redefine what is possible and to create our own path. The only requirement is the willingness to dive headfirst into the challenge or day, embrace it and enjoy it. That is a lesson I've learned from diabetes and one that has let me gain new knowledge and power in so much that I have faced.