As a founder, I was asked to say a few words as we discussed the highlights of 2017's season of racing and now looked forward to 2018. As I determined what perspective to bring to the 60-rider strong team, several things coalesced in my head, which I will go through here to frame it all up.
My family and I started 2018 with a vacation down in Costa Rica. For about a decade, my wife and I have been looking for "our place", where we would want to retire once we got to that point in life. While a fun, exciting, adventurous process, a little over a year ago our search took us to Nosara, Costa Rica. We had visited other areas of the country, but once we started walking through the town and across the beach, we both knew our search was over. Fast forward 13 months, and we're on the cusp of breaking ground on a home to be completed by around Halloween.
At first, we will vacation there 2-3 times a year. My wife is a high school teacher, so we will head down as her vacation schedule allows. When we're not using it ourselves, we will rent it out. In a rough handful of years, we will start splitting our time, spending the colder months in Nosara and the warmer months here in Boulder. Maybe we'll eventually live year-round in Nosara. The beauty is that we'll figure it out as we go.
But, the punchline is that when we really started looking for "our place" about 5-6 years ago -- because at first it was just a concept we decided to start considering, discussing, and poking holes in to see how real the concept really was -- we went all-in. In our early- to mid-40s, we decided to start living more for today and less for tomorrow. We're alive today; we may not be tomorrow. We've seen too many people focus on "tomorrow", only to miss out on a lot of living that needs to be done "today" -- either by design or by getting tripped up by booby traps Life can unknowingly toss in your way. Lori and I are passionately protective about living for "today". "Tomorrow" will take care of itself; it always does.
Then, driving to the meeting last night, a song on my iPad came on. I have like 1,500 songs set to shuffle, and just let it play. Music is an important part of Life to me. "As the Crow Flies" by Newsted started playing and I was passively listening to it as I was trying to formulate what the heck I was going to say that would be meaningful to 60 adults at completely different points in their lives and, while on the same team, who extracted different importance and meaning from competitive cycling. All of a sudden, a line in the song pulled me out of my fog -- "I'm not afraid to fail and I'm not afraid to fight." Blammo.
I replayed the song to that particular lyric several more times as I completed the drive to Republic Cycles. "As the Crow Flies" is an idiom, defining the shortest route between two points. The song is very much about seizing the moment, unapologetically so, and to never forsake your dreams.
In addressing the team, I brought all of the above perspectives to bear. I stated that I'm newly 49 and about to hit the 180-turnaround in the TT of Life. And, as I look to the 2018 season, I'm going to embrace "I'm not afraid to fail and I'm not afraid to fight" -- in approaching my own racing goals, in supporting my Masters squad mates in achieving their goals, and in supporting teammates I don't even race with in achieving theirs. This is a mantra I will check in with. Every. Single. Day.
By embracing failure, we more quickly get to success. Of this I am certain. If we fear failure, we hedge. We hold back. We avoid losing ourselves in the pursuit because in doing so we fully expose ourselves to potential negative repercussions -- imagined and real, from inside ourselves and from others. It is easier to hedge and fail because then we have myriad excuses on which to draw to explain away the shortcoming. Scarier is full investment and failure because then there are no excuses behind which to hide. We are fully exposed to whatever the outcome and whatever the feedback -- good, bad and ugly. But, this is the way it has to be.
Because I do go all-in. Being less than your best or trying less than you otherwise could to achieve personal excellence -- in anything -- makes no sense to me. It doesn't compute. So, I challenged each and every teammate to embrace "I'm not afraid to fail and I'm not afraid to fight" however they interpret this and decide to apply it -- to themselves, to the rest of us.
It hit home. When the meeting was over and it was social time, I received a lot of compliments, hugs and handshakes for words well said. I'm just glad it resonated.