Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finding your motivation...

This is an interesting post from my perspective.

In 2007 when I decided to get back into shape, in the process losing 50 lbs and eventually doing 9 Ironman's over a 6 year period, qualifying for Kona, Clearwater and representing my country at the ITU world championships I figured I made it, I'd never go back to the old.

I think the journey of sliding began in 2010. Actually I know it. It was right after I qualified for Kona at 2010 Lake Placid. I didn't say anything to anyone but I felt it then. From there it took a downward spiral and over the last 4 years hung on as much as I could to hanging on to my laurels and still doing at least one Ironman a year to retain my Ironman status.

Mind you after 12 Ironmans, I now have lifetime status in my mind.

I look back to figure out how I slowly lost my motivation and how it brought me to where I am now.

It started with qualifying for Kona. I hit the top. I reached my goal. I look back at how hard I trained from 2007 to the end of 2010 and it was insane hours. It was literally 15 - 20 plus hours a week with no stopping. I can truthfully say I deserved to make it to Kona. In my heart I knew very view people in that race my age trained as hard as I did for that long period of time.

Doing in one year 26 one hundred mile rides plus and over 30 long runs the next day in the Canadian winter says it all. I was committed beyond commitment. I was obsessed.

I know what brought me to that point back then. I needed a challenge, my life was stale. My fitness ego was bruised and I needed to prove to myself I was much more. I also was motivated to show others. Sometimes that proving others wrong is one of the strongest reasons.

Fast forward, it's now January 2015. I'm up about 21 lbs from my qualify for Kona weight. And it's even more than that as I had a lot more muscle then.

What got me here?

1. I accomplished all the goals I set for myself in Triathlon.
2. I proved the nay-sayers wrong.
3. I proved to myself I was better and fixed that wounded ego.
4. I started pursuing a different challenge.

Number 1 and 4 are the biggest things that got me to where I am.

Number one is self explanatory, number four was I started to pursue some unfinished business that I had in business. I've not yet hit the mark of where I wanted to accomplish in business that I had as a young person.

My goal has always been to grow this incredibly successful business. If you asked me at 18 years old I would have told you that in my career I'd build a billion dollar business. Yes that's with a B.

I was on track to do it too, at least by the growth numbers for the first 11 years of my first business. I just had to keep those numbers up for another 12 or so years and it was done. I didn't realize that technology would change and in no time all I created would be gone and I'd be hanging on just to survive where most of my competitors just decided to close their doors. I'm too stubborn to do that.

Instead I did everything I could to pull the plan up before it crashed into the ground, and I did. It was not easy and it was painful both physically and emotionally. I sometime look back and think maybe my competitors were right and I should have closed my doors too. There is no doubt it would have been easier to do so and start something else from scratch.

But I'm too stubborn and pig headed to do that and I hate losing or maybe a better way of saying it, is that I failed. It's like not finishing the race. I guess I felt if I closed up I would have given up.

I was able to get it to a point the company was somewhat valuable and after 20 years sold it and got out feeling that I didn't fail.

So why the detailed background?

We'll it's because after I lost the weight and achieved all my Ironman goals it rekindled a fire in my belly that I lost long ago. It reversed time and I actually felt that I had the energy to pursue my business goals once again, this time with wisdom.

I reset my goals. I didn't care about growing a billion dollar business, but I did think $100 million. I'd love to be part of growing a $100 million business and I started to feel I had the renewed sense of energy, optimism and hutszba to do it.

So this is where the physical slide of item #4 began.

I started Picaboo Yearbooks from scratch, there was just two of us and over the 28 months spent 12 - 16 hours a day, near 7 days a week, eating, sleeping and breathing Picaboo Yearbooks. I remember taking the family on a trip to Europe for the Roth Ironman and by day sightseeing and by night, at least 7 hours a day on skype talking with my team in North America and doing emails.

I remember at the peak of Picaboo between sending and receiving I handled a record 800 plus emails in one day alone.

It was my life and there was no doubt in my mind that I would have that as a $100 million company. In fact, I know in my heart of hearts if I hadn't left I would have accomplished that goal.

I had a great time at Picaboo Yearbooks, surrounded myself with awesome people, worked harder than I ever worked and had the time of my life until the end and will always look back fondly and be proud of what myself and the team did. Very few people on the planet could have accomplished what we accomplished and under the constraints and challenges we faced.

I have some regrets, but in reality they are lessons learned. I learned a lot during that period.

In the process though it put me into a downward spiral from a health and weight standpoint. It also messed up my judgement of what was important, I went down the rabbit hole.

My next phase was immersing myself into my next venture, a social discovery app, which didn't take off as I had hope. The guys I worked with were great, the team did a great job, but the sideline drama outside of working with those guys was an emotional roller coaster. I like adventure, so I was able to cope, but it was entering and learning about a world and human psychology that I didn't know existed.

Having to make the decision to shut down the effort was one of the toughest I had to make. I hate losing. But I learned from previous experiences that perhaps it's better to cut your loses and move one. Which I did. I felt bad for all the hard work and effort all of us put into the app.

With that said it was one hell of a journey and much of it was an awesome adventure.

In the process it was also tough, being away from my family for 90 days, out of my stable home environment, holed up in a Condo I hated with others and being filmed as part of a documentary.

My physical health further declined and my weight increased.

So next venture is Deal Wheel, another app. This time I know I'm onto something great. Very great. It seems like the culmination of all my learnings over the last 25 plus years is translating to a winner. All are market research and testing and customer acceptance and excitement is reaffirming.

The new journey for me is going out for investor money. Something I've never had to do before. It's been both educational and interesting. I have learned more than I can explain.

I am now getting down to the short strokes and have found a partner I respect and is a dream from an experience and strategy standpoint to work with.

Frankly though, I just want to get started. I just want to finalize funding and go for it. I'm an implementer, I make things happen and no one I know can scale a company as fast as me. I'm sure they are out there, I just don't know them. BUT even then, I'd like to see them do it with the limited resources I've had to work with in the past.

Now this all brings me back to motivation and re-igniting mine from a fitness and weight standpoint.

I think I've found it. I'm not going to say what it is. But I found it and it's come from the strangest of place. I don't think it's something anyone could guess in a million years. I've never heard it as a motivator from anyone else before and I plan never to tell anyone what it is, at least for now.

I need to first see if it works.

Today for the first time, I actually thought of maybe signing up for a race. Not an Ironman. Those days are still over. I retired. But a race, perhaps a half Ironman or a marathon or something different than I've ever done before.

The one thing I know is I can't go down the rabbit hole I went down physically, mentally and emotionally since 2011. I learned a lot. My passion is what more often than not gets me in trouble. When I commit, I'm all in. It has it's good side and it has it's bad side.

Saying I'm going to be more balance is not the answer. I've tried so many times and it's just not part of my DNA.

I'm figuring out that motivation and having the right motivation IS the answer. It will balance things out. It's really what balanced things out for me from 2007 to 2010, then I when I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish I lost my so called balance and couldn't find it, until now.

I know I found it because I feel differently about things and it happened IMMEDIATELY after I realized the motivation. I didn't ease into it and I think that's the secret, once you find that motivation you change immediately.

Since I found it, which was last night, when I think of it, I stop myself from snacking. I feel like training. In fact this morning I brought my bike in from the cold garage and moved it downstairs to put on the trainer.

If my hand wasn't broken I'd be ready to swim and do weights.

It's time to reverse the last 4 years and the goal is not to get in Ironman shape, it's to feel GREAT again, from a physical, mental and emotional standpoint. It's to become the BEST person I can be.

I also know that when I get there, I will probably have to look for a new motivation to say there, or perhaps not. What I do know is nothing lasts forever, as unfair as that is. You would think that with all the training I did over the past years that I should get a hall pass for being fit and never gaining a pound. Unfortunately life is a zero sum game. Either you use it or you lose it.

So now my phone is charged, so my music will play my entire run, so it's time to finish this post and get my butt outside for a run.

Here's to finding your motivation.

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