On Oct. 15, I began and completed (although not as quickly as I had hoped) my first century ride – a 103-mile bike ride through and around Las Vegas. This ride shared some similarities with the educational ride that I began in January 2008. That was when I first enrolled in a Bachelor of Science Program in occupational safety and health with the intention of completing the degree as well as earning the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation. I’m proud to say that just last week, I passed the second and final exam to obtain the CSP designation through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.
Both my century ride and my educational journey were long, difficult and unpredictable, with various unexpected challenges laced throughout the course.
Endurance is Key
At mile 75 of the century ride, I popped a tire. For a novice like me, this was a significant problem; the repair ended up costing me an hour of riding time. Then, around mile 80, my legs and arms began to cramp to such a point that everything within me wanted to get off that bike.
While the nature of the challenges I experienced in my educational and professional goals were different from this physical test, they were equally debilitating. I can point to several occasions where obstacles (financial concerns, fatigue and difficulty) nearly forced me to call it quits.
In both of these rides I faced a moment of truth, the proverbial fork in the road where I had to encourage and commit myself to continue despite the pain.
Crossing the Line
There is nothing like reaching a long-anticipated finish line. After riding 103 miles, nothing compares to the feeling of crossing that line to receive the medal (except maybe ditching the bike at last).
Similarly, upon the completion of my degree and professional designation, I was overcome by the sight of that finish line. I could say “It is done,” but at the end of my educational ride I received not a medal but instead a prize that will keep giving back. In the end, these experiences were well worth all the challenges and then some – even though it definitely did not always feel that way during the process.
Maybe you are facing a challenge, too. Whether it’s professional or personal, remember: You cannot be counted out until you quit or are disqualified, and as long as you don’t throw in the towel during the process, you’re getting closer to the goal all the time. Make that commitment to continue no matter how much it hurts. It will all be worth it one day. Trust me. I speak from experience!
EHS Today guest blogger Jason Townsell, CSP, was named the 2010 Future Leader in EHS. He works as an assistant safety manager/trainer for LA World Airports (LAWA) Airport Development Group.