Growing up, I probably tried every single hobby there is, from gymnastics to flower arranging and piano to ballet. But, I had a habit of quitting. So when I agreed to take up rowing at the age of 12, I set myself a goal: I wasn’t allowed to quit until I achieved something.
It started out great. The club was fantastic and really eased us all into training, but as I got more experienced, the training got tougher. The hours were long and the training intense. On reflection, I now understand why. This wasn’t just a hobby to the trainers and some of the other girls, it was a way to kick-start a professional career. I soon realized we were being trained to compete.
That was the first time I wanted to stop rowing. I could do the training and really enjoyed the rhythm of the river, but I do not have a competitive bone in my body so I was never motivated by the chance of winning. But as I set myself a goal of achieving something significant, I had to follow through.
After a few wintery seasons of training and competing in small races (and frankly hating every minute of it), we were entered into a few regattas and had a busy summer of competitions ahead of us. The training had paid off and we won quite a few. Delighted by the fact I had achieved something and stuck it out, I left the club and joined another club to row at my own leisurely pace.
The experience has taught me to, in my adult life, push through situations and goals I commit to, even when my heart isn’t in it – and I am proud that as a teenager I actually achieved something that I (and my parents) could be proud of.