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Just Stay On The Bike: The Practical Guide to Building Wealth In Uncertain Times

Market Emotional Coach Health Emotional Wealthness Financial Awareness

David Ragland
CEO, IRC Wealth

Ok. I’ll admit it. I wanted to quit. I felt like giving up.

After successfully completing 22 IRONMAN® races around the world and after spending 20 years of sacrificing family, friends and relationships to get to the IRONMAN Word Championship in Hawaii, I wanted to quit halfway through the race.

But that is not how the race began.

As I approached the starting line I felt great! I had done my training. I was in great shape. I had slept great the night before the race. I exited the water after a 2.4 mile swim at my expected pace. I grabbed my bike and headed out of the transition area looking forward to the 112 mile bike ride.

Now, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The heat and humidity were going to make it feel like you could fry an egg on the pavement. The winds in Hawaii are legendary for making the riders feel like they are in the middle of a hurricane. But I was ready for it.

At mile 30 I slowly started to fade. While I thought I had done everything right, the reality was competing in three IRONMAN® races in less than 15 months had left my body depleted. As I approached the long climb up to the halfway mark the emotional angst started creeping in.

How could this be happening? Didn’t I do everything my Coach told me to do? Why is this happening to me??

As I turned around at the halfway mark I just wanted to quit. I knew I still had another 50 miles on the bike to go. It was hot, humid, windy and now I didn’t even know if I could make the bike cutoff time. If I didn’t make the cutoff, I knew I would not even be allowed to start the run to the finish line. I saw my dream of finishing the race going up in smoke.

In that moment, I just wanted to get off the bike and admit that I was never going to finish.

Keep It Simple

I was at the bottom of my emotional gas tank. The only good news about being at the bottom was that the only place to go was up.

I reverted to my time-honored mantra. Keep It Simple. Just stay on the bike. Just stay on the bike for one more mile. Just one more pedal stroke.

Over the course of the next three hours (which seemed like days) I confined myself to just focusing on the next mile, the next water stop, getting to the finish line. I would worry about the 26.2 mile marathon run when I got there.

As most of you know, I did finish the bike course. And went on to finish the marathon, finish the race and complete one of my life-long dreams. Now, it is in times like these, I think back to that race.

Our daily routines and our financial plans have been upended in ways that no one saw coming. We wonder how we are going to get through the current confinement and wonder what life will be like on the other side. We wonder what has happened to our financial wealth.

It is in times like this that we become super stressed. We are worried. We wonder what we should be doing because everything feels out of control.

How To Be Ok In Stressful Times

Whether we are on the bike or confined in our homes for the foreseeable future, we have to go back to what works. That is to keep it simple and take control of the things that you can control. You may want to consider some of the following suggestions to help you manage your stress during this period of uncertainty:

  1. Cultivate a positive outlook.
    Approach this time with a positive outlook and complete those projects that you never get around to completing.

  2. Take a step forward on your health.
    Catch up on sleep. Focus on fueling your body with good food and daily exercise such as biking, running, walking or yoga.

  3. Continue to focus on the positive aspects of your personal financial journey:
    You will continue to pay your mortgage this month.
    You are investing in your 401(K) at cheaper prices.
    You will save money because it’s not as easy to spend it right now anyway.

  4. Let the market do what it’s going to do in the short-term.
    Stay focused on your long-term financial goals. Don’t let the short-term stress cause you to get off the bike. Stay the course.

We know that this is a stressful time for us all, so we have reached out to Dr. Wendy Dickinson, Founder & CEO at GROW Counseling, for some great tips on reducing stress. To understand what stress is, how to assess your stress, and how to cope well with stress, check out these short videos from Dr. Dickinson.

Explore Dr. Dickinson's Stress Management Resources →


As always, the IRC team is here for you during this difficult time. If you need us, we are here to help. Want to talk to us? Call us. Want to see our pretty faces? Yes, we can do that too.


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