Pride in New Challenges

Written by Ben Rosholt, Wealth Advisor

It was one of my earliest memories. I was standing in a Dayton’s electronics department when I saw something mesmerizing. In the TV screens was the footage from what I would later discover to be the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. I did not understand what I was seeing…only that there where men on bikes going FAST over a landscape I had never seen. Who were these people? What was happening? I am certain I frustrated my Mom greatly that day. I did not want to leave.

I am no more an athlete than I am a chef. Playing sports was something I did when I was younger but I never had the killer instinct to be any good. I once went any entire basketball season without scoring a single basket until the championship game. It’s wasn’t just team sports. I always dreaded the days in gym class when we had to “run the mile” in school. This continued my entire academic life. I remember in high school feeling sorry for the wrestlers that had to run around Moore Lake every afternoon. And the track & field athletes, who ran not as training for their real sport, but ran as the sport itself. Why someone would do that?

After college, a friend of mine asked me to come watch her run a 5K. I was promised brunch following the race, and since I love brunch, I went. The race was part of the Twin Cities Marathon weekend in early October. I arrived at the finish in front of the state capital not knowing what to expect. What I saw surprised me. There were hundreds of people on each side of the road cheering in support of the runners. There was nothing special about these people. Sure, some were fluid and fast. But some were downright clumsy. And the worse the runner looked, the more the crowd cheered them on and the more excited and emotional they were crossing the finish line. They did not care that they had lost the race. They were excited for their personal achievement. I had to give it a try!

Two weeks later I ran my very first 5K. Over the 3.1 mile course, I must have stopped 5 times. My finishing time was only slightly faster than had I walked the entire thing. But I did it and it felt good. There was an awards ceremony after all participants finished and I learned that the winner was traveling to Florida the next week to compete in an Ironman Triathlon. Did I hear that right? How is it that a person who worked for U.S. Bank was competing with professional athletes in a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run? That was the thing I saw on the department store TV! I learned that day that an average, albeit very physically fit, person compete in a triathlon and that there are races here in Minneapolis every weekend. Not only that, but they also come in different sizes. That day I established a new goal….to be a triathlete.

In the years to follow, I competed in many triathlons (Sprint, Olympic and Half-Iron) and won a grand total of zero. The competition was never with the other racers; just with myself. I loved the challenge of testing if I was good enough. Some races when well and felt easy while others were just plain terrible. When I crossed the finish line, I always had an incredible sense of pride.The key to racing a triathlon is not to think about everything that is going to happen that day. You just take it one step at a time. If you can put together enough steps you will run a mile. If you run enough miles, you will finish the race. But if you are worried about the run when you are swimming, you might not finish the swim. For a person like me that has a tendency of getting stuck in my own thoughts, there was a freedom in focusing only on what is right in front of you. While it has been a few years since I raced, I thank that part of my life for teaching me that anything is possible.

I am finding that the recent COVID-19 epidemic  has many parallels to my triathlon journey. I have been aware of video calls for a long time, but I never felt comfortable integrating it into my work with you. What if I can’t get the camera to work well? What if the sound is bad? What if I can’t keep my eyes on the camera? What should be in my background? Should I wear a suit or a t-shirt?All of these questions, while relevant, pale in comparison to if you will take on this challenge with me. Of course, it is not the ideal situation to talk about finances. My preference is and likely always will be to sit at the table with you.

I am so thankful for those of you that have allowed me into your home via Zoom. We have also had technical challenges. Learning a new skill, like training a new muscle, is not fun! But is does get easier. With practice, we can learn to not only embrace virtual meetings but perhaps enjoy them. Wouldn’t that be an achievement!?! Are you willing to give it a try with us? Just remember, you don’t have to be good at it for it to bring satisfaction.

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