This October, I am embarking on a trip to Rosarito, Mexico with Hope Sports Foundation to build homes with a group of other fellow Olympians! Two of my rad friends (Rebecca Soni & Kim Vandenberg- who are going to build this month) ran it by Guy to contact me, and the rest is history. So pumped. Anyway, his story was so compelling to me, that I wanted to dive into the driven mind of the elite U.S. cyclist and founder of Hope sports — GUY EAST. (see bio at bottom).
1) Guy, you are a man with a foundation based in your holistic development. Tell me what your PURPOSE in life is now compared to when you were a professional athlete.
As an athlete my purpose in life was to win races and make money. When I started competing I loved riding my bike but when I became a professional I no longer enjoyed riding my bike. My purpose as an athlete was to cross the line first and my existence was based on winning. Now, my purpose is to see the lives of professional athletes changed so that they reach maximum potential in sport and life. Sport is a wonderful thing and I’m competing professionally again with passion but the difference is that I no longer find my identity in my performance, even though I still love to win.
2) Hope Sports Foundation… wow. Props to beginning this incredible movement. What has been the most challenging aspect of creating a business?
The most challenging part of starting Hope Sports was “creating the space” and proving to people that this was a necessary piece to their program and athletes. What we’re doing is counter-cultural in professional sports. Naturally, coaches want athletes to be 100% devoted to achieving peak performance 365 days a year. That means 100% focused on self, diet, recovery, training, etc. But what we’re saying is that that is not necessarily the best way for athletes to have long lasting careers, joyful lives and achieve peak performance. What we’re saying is that once the athletes begins to see outside of the box and begins to live with greater purpose, even while competing, their performance and overall life will improve. That’s not an easy idea to sell to pro teams but it’s true.
3) You are big on how your mind affects your performance, in both life and sport. If you had to define what “Sport Psychology” is in one sentence, what would that be in your eyes?
Sport performance is holistic, mind, body and soul. Those who do not recognize those 3 elements as vital to sport performance fail to reach maximum potential in sport and life.
4) What do you wish you knew as a pro athlete that you know now? Name 3 main things…can be anything personal or professional…
I’m loved regardless of whether I win or loss and regardless of whether I’m skinny or fat.
I’m not any worse or better of a person whether I win or lose
I can keep dreaming and achieving great things after sport. Life after sport is far better than people make it out to be.
5) You traveled the world… where did you go and what place molded you in a way you never thought possible?
I’ve traveled to almost 50 countries, most of that has been for racing and some of that was after I retired when I traveled the world for two years serving the poor with different organizations. I have a heart for the entire Latin region from Mexico to Argentina. I love the Latin cultural and having lived in Mexico for the past 3 years and Argentina before that understanding the Latin way of life has been both challenging and exciting. If I don’t show up on time to a meeting it’s because I’m taking a siesta!
6) Who is your role model, and why?
My parents because they love me for who I am, not what I did. They showed their love me by investing time into my life. They traveled the world following me as I competed in various events. They didn’t care whether I won or lost, they wanted to see me do my best. They were one of the few relationships I had that was based on unconditional love.
7) What books have been the most influential in your life?
The Bible is the most influential book in my life, more specifically Ecclesiastes and Romans. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and the Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl have also left significant thumb prints on my life and I would recommend those books to anyone.
8) Do one thing a day that scares you. Yes or no?
I take a lot of chances and I’m a bold kid. I do a lot of things out of my comfort zone each almost everyday. It’s hard to do uncomfortable things because I never know the outcome but I rarely regret it, although I always make a lot of mistakes which are great opportunities to learn.
9) What is one quote or affirmation statement that you live by, and why?
“A sculptor does not use a ‘manicure set’ to reduce the crude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful. To do His supreme work of grace within you, God will take from your heart everything you love most. Everything you trust in will go from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious treasures used to be!” A.W. Tozer
God takes us, however imperfect we are and shapes us into who he wants us to be as far as we let him work in us. I love this quote and try to constantly remind myself that I am a work in progress and to keep letting God shape and mold me.
10) What would you like to tell the athletic youth of our generation about living a life filled not only with success in sport, but with personal intention and purpose?
If you only pursue success in sport and that is your objective in life you’ll never find contentment. You’ll never fill the void in your life. Winning should stem from your passion for sport. If you think you need to win to feel joy, fulfilled, etc you’ll never get what you’re looking for and suddenly something will happen and one day you’ll lose everything. It’s like a house built of straw, when the storm comes it blows it down but if you build a strong foundation in your life, when the storm comes the house will remain.
Guy is a professional track cyclist who competed on the US National Team and/or professional cycling teams since 2005. In 2009, at the peak of his career Guy saw extreme poverty while racing in Mexico City. Guy began to question his purpose in life and decided to stop racing. He sold all of his possessions and traveled the world serving the poor. After two years of serving the poor Guy decided to return to professional racing but this time combining his desire to compete and his passion to serve. Since 2012 Guy has been organizing service trips for professional and Olympic athletes to serve the poor together in Mexico. He founded Hope Sports which a nonprofit organization with the purpose of uniting athletes to bring hope to the world. Hope Sports grows out of Guy’s vision to see professional athletes live with greater purpose and a heart of service.
Hope Sports partners with Homes of Hope in Baja California, Mexico to build homes for the poor over the course of a weekend. Homes of Hope has built 5000 homes in 16 countries over the past 25 years.
Check out this video so you can get a feel for how incredible this is!