It has taken close to 43-years but I finally figured out what I’m passionate about. Significant things happened along the way. Some of them I talk about and some of them I don’t. Fatherhood and the corresponding responsibility of mentoring children prompted many changes in life. Leaving the stability of a very good corporate role with one of the world’s largest companies was viewed by some as a risk and if I’m honest it probably was.
10-years ago none of this was on the radar. Directing mountain bike races? Unlikely. Coaching a High School MTB Team? I didn’t even own a bike. Creating a local (someday regional) Youth Development Program? I’m never home. Blog about all of it? Who the hell is going to care what I have to say? But here we are: All of the above is happening and you’re reading about it.
It hasn’t all been rainbows and unicorns. I’ve witnessed my fair share of disappointments. Observed a fair amount of manipulative and downright bad behavior. Watched people try to take credit for stuff other people have done. Engaged with people on boards who were on the boards to serve a personal agenda ahead of organizational goals. Each of the aforementioned activities or behavior has intensified my commitment to serve the greater good.
Pretty standard stuff, right? Why write about it? More importantly – why would anyone read it? I decided to start sharing for a number of reasons. Here they are in no particular order:
Friends and acquaintances often reach out and thank me for a blog post, or a note I sent them, a text or a talk we had. Believe it or not they even reach out and say thanks for the races. Like you, I worry about their sanity (ha). But they find value in it and often times go so far as to say something I’ve said or something we’ve done has changed their life. That’s one of the reasons I’m doing it. To a handful it seems to matter.
People are receptive to straight talk when it is delivered respectfully and with the right intentions. Most conversations are full of fluff, manipulation, angles and motives. People don’t know how to say what they think (or see) while managing to avoid unproductive conflict. Compounding this is an oversensitivity people seem to have in the presence of someone who says what no one else is willing to talk about. Basically, we’ve lost our ability to disagree in respectful engagement placing an emphasis on compromise and understanding. No one seems to want to compromise! If a post of mine goes out to the world and positively impacts this in some way… it is time well spent.
People want to be challenged. Mind you not everyone wants to be challenged. Some may not like the abrupt and direct style I have in person and/or print. That’s ok! They don’t have to read it. Those who stick around and read the posts tend to enjoy being challenged, appreciate the direct voice and appreciate the sarcasm with which it is shared. Many people, including myself, need a kick in the ass every once in a while. This blog is intended to deliver an occasional kick in the ass (mostly in a fun way).
People need encouragement. With the proper encouragement and support they’ll achieve things they never believed possible. They need someone else to believe in them for a while… while they figure it all out for themselves. I’ve watched this play out at work and the races for the past 5-years. When you challenge people in a way that honors their untapped ability and the person inside them – they will respond in incredible ways. I guarantee it. I hope this blog manages to be an extension of encouragement from me to anyone seeking it.
I have a goal to connect like-minded people. The blog is a way for us to connect. We may not agree on everything. I hope we don’t agree on everything. Disagreement can be productive – it’s all about HOW we choose to handle those disagreements. If we’re lucky we’ll create the beginning of a ripple… a positive ripple.
Last but not least. I’d like to refer to this picture of my son Cable…
I distinctly remember this ride. We rode out on the Grom Trail the day after a pretty bad windstorm. The trails were a mess with trees down everywhere. I knew while loading the bikes on the truck it was gonna be an adventure for my 6-year old. If you’re familiar with the Grom here in Marquette you know we weren’t “in the wilderness” but to Cable… it sure felt like it. The picture of him pushing through the tress not knowing what was on the other side – it’s symbolic of life.
We have an opportunity to help shape youth’s view of the world. We can help them develop the right habits, challenge them, push their comfort zone in fun ways, show them how to smile while embracing hard things! I believe we can better prepare them for the road and life ahead. I am not an advocate of participation medals and coddling. There are ways to develop self-confidence and independent kids while emphasizing respect, discipline and hard work.
When it’s all said and done I’m here serving a greater good. That’s my ultimate goal. Giving people a voice when they need one, kids opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have, being a kick in the ass if you need one, even someone to listen if that’s what you need…
All of this… is #DTHT
Moving forward blog posts will roll out every week on Saturday. See ya next weekend.