Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The long road to our goals.

       It was late spring 2007 and the stage had been set for a 5 rider, 6000kms, relay-format-cycle across the country in 8 days. We had been diligently training but nothing really long (and by really long I refer to the 7+hr multiple days in the saddle), so the next step was to incorporate that into the routine. The Destination: Mabel Lake, a medium sized lake situated between Salmon Arm and Sicamous in BC's Interior. We would depart on Thursday, attempt to reach Merrit BC @ 250k, overnight and continue to the lake & remaining 250k Friday morning. As luck would have it our new-out-of-the-box carbon fiber bikes arrived a few days prior to the ride and we thought it would be a good opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the hardware. However, as we made our way towards Hope BC the 1st challenge presented itself in the form of a broken derailleur. We would kill valuable time trying to single speed it, until finally giving way to a cycling shop in Hope where we would kill 5hrs and replace not one, but two derailleurs. Once fixed we would try in vain to press on but were forced to upload at the toll booth (approx 190k in and hitch a ride to Kamloops - 140k away). From there we would cycle to the lake, however in our hearts we knew..... we had unfinished business.

Lesson: Don't test out new gear on the front end of any event.  

I would drive that road 10-12 times each year knowing it had got the better of us and it bothered me so much so that 3 years later, with the support of a good riding mate, we would set out to complete the entire ride. This time we had a plan. Food, extra supplies and were making pretty good headway when an errand bike lean ended up breaking a specialized spoke that could not be repaired without a mechanical aid. As we couldn't true the tire and were tackling significant ascents and descents, we one again uploaded and were driven to the next town where we would rent a car and continue to Mabel Lake. This was strike 2.

Lesson: Sometimes S#i!! happens and you just have to deal with it.

Again, for the next 3 years I would drive the same highway, recalling the previous two attempts as my BID (before I die) goal seemed to slip further and further away. I needed to do something, so I sent out the call. The call to competent riders who would (together) power our way across the mountain ranges into the interior. The ride would have a support driver who carried all the supplies and had extras of everything. In my mind this would be the grand finale to a goal unaccomplished! Challenge was, when the time came to ride the weather didn't care about my personal vendetta. It had an idea of it's own and lashed out with a record days rainfall. The crew was great but it got to a point where a) it was not fun and b) it was not safe. Again, we would make it to Hope where the some would turn back and others would continue to Kamloops and ride the remaining 170k.
Once again... another years worth of preparation and efforts had been lost.

                          Lesson: Sensibility must trump EGO if we want to reach our goals.

Enter 2014. The PMS (Personal Mission Statement) was simple; "next level" meaning nothing more than every undertaking for the year must be moving towards a higher level of challenge, adversity & victory. A quick scan of the BID goals would highlight the obvious; a ride requiring completion. There would be no support vehicle, other riders or set schedule. This was going to be 500kms of non supported man vs goal. I would wake up at 4am on Sunday for a 5am departure and while I had a vague idea of time frames, this ride would be a ride vs. a race. Ironically, with that mentality, getting off the bike, taking in the scenery and properly fueling I would arrive ahead of every schedule. By the end of day 1 I entered Kamloops BC, 16.5hrs & 330kms after beginning. A quick (and sound) sleep led to another 6am wake up call & 7am departure for the final 170k leg of the trip.

Where there once was impatience and forging ahead, there was breakfast stops and conversation leading to the desired outcome. Mabel Lake....... SEVEN YEARS LATER!

Lesson: As it relates to life's personal goals, it matters not when they happen as much as that they happen.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

how no child left behind = everyone losing.

through our early education we've decided to teach the misnomer that there are no failures. everyone's equal. for unmotivated kids, this translates into "just show up" and you'll get the passing grade, ribbon or trophy. they know this. for motivated kids, this translates into "why bother busting my ass when the kid next to me is going to receive similar/the same recognition with minimal effort". this flawed logic is following 'our future' through their education life cycle and emerging in the workforce. 

it used to be commonplace for people to bust their butts, go the extra mile and stand out in the workplace. whether it was for the intrinsic sense of pride or the extrinsic bonuses & raises, more than less came prepared to go above & beyond. did a few slip through the cracks? sure. were there greedy leaders who took advantage vs. fairly recognizing and compensating. probably. but more than less, if your leadership is worth the designation they have received, they got it/get it and saw your extra effort.

now. we want & expect to begin work on the hour we're supposed to start, invest the minimum requirement and leave on the dot when we are supposed to finish. no more, no less. team builders - 'are we getting paid for it?' continued education to make us better - 'better be compensated' and the list goes on. it's a sad testament on the times, which in tight times make little sense.

here are five strategies we can employ to ensure we're not all being left behind. 
  1. get rid of this everyone deserves to be a winner mentality we're teaching at early ages. to be clear, those who put in the extra effort deserve to be winners and the world is full of them.
  2. set clear expectations around job descriptions. eg: you're being paid X per hour / per salary which includes AB&C in the off hours.
  3. recognize and reward efforts that extend above and beyond the minimum expectation at every turn. this recognition can be in a variety of forms that doesn't always need to be monetary.  you will reap what you sew.
  4. eradicate naysayers on your team / in your organization quickly & often. people put on their best front initially and then the honeymoon phase ends and the expectation of receiving more, while doing the same begins. 
  5. stop changing what's not broken. survival of the fittest cannot be replaced with flourishing of the apathetic and an expectation of progress. it doesn't make sense to anyone.... except the apathetic.
we need to start leaving people behind if we truly want to get ahead. 

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

When life gives you lemons. make it happen.

Friday 7:30am - 'this years track & field meet is cancelled'
Friday 5:00pm - permit, insurance, equipment, communications plan, volunteers & workback tick
Saturday & Sunday & Monday - hone the plan, spread the word.
Tuesday June 3rd - 1200 kids & families having the time of their lives

click here to see the magic