“I forgot myself a little.”
That was one of the headlines in the news last week.
The headline came with the announcement that one of the most talented road cyclists in the Netherlands would quit cycling for a while.
If any current Dutch road cyclist ever has the chance to win the most famous road race, the Tour de France, it is Tom Dumoulin.
But Tom decided it was time to start putting himself first.
I read the news article and then watched the video explaining why he had made the decision.
Tom talked about his personality. He explained that as a result of his ambition and his character, he was always focused on ensuring that everyone around him was happy with what he was doing.
“I wanted my team, my coaches, my parents, my friends, my girlfriend to be happy with what I was doing. Over time that pressure started to wear on me.
Then I started to realize that I was always out there to please everyone else but myself,” he explained.
“I forgot myself a little” was the quote that made the headlines.
He explained that his feeling that people were only interested in Tom, the cyclist, and not in Tom, the human being started to get to him.
Grow up, Tom.
That’s the way this world works.
You get handsomely paid for what you do, and of course, most people are only interested in you as a cyclist. You provide them with entertainment and hope.
You’re not doing that when you’re sitting at home.
If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re not alone. Some of his fans feel let down by Tom.
For them, it’s Tom, the cyclist.
That’s how this world works.
As soon as you have reached a certain status in any field, you’re creating expectations.
Expectations that may not always match the ideas you have about yourself.
As long as you realize that it’s not about who you are for many people, but what you bring to the table for them, life is good. You’ll be ok.
It’s a selfish society. And you’re part of it.
The most important question you need to keep answering for yourself is:
What do you want?
When your expectations match those of the people around you, life remains good.
But when those expectations are diverting from your environment, troubles emerge. You’re either doing your environment a favor or yourself.
The choice is yours.
Long term, it’s not really a choice. You may be able to compromise on your own expectations for a while, until gradually you start getting conflicted.
That process goes on for a while.
Then one day, you wake up, and it’s not working for you anymore.
That is precisely the process Tom Dumoulin was describing. He wanted to be Tom Dumoulin without the addition of ‘the cyclist’ added to his name.
So, he decided to quit for a while and figure things out for himself.
The morning after the decision, he woke up happy, he explained. Relieved from the pressure he had felt for a while.
Now he wants to figure out what he wants.
And that starts with who he wants to be.
Good luck Tom.
Your turn: do you know what you want and what matters most to you?
Do more of what makes you happy.