Friday, February 13, 2015

Today was THE moment of truth...

PRE READING CAUTION - "Please pack a lunch before reading"

People talk about the moment of truth. Normally it's in hindsight were someone looks back and says "that time when, that was the moment of truth".

Today I knew TODAY was my moment of truth. I even know the time it started. 10:30 am.

At 10:30 am on a Friday and a pretty good week and meeting last night I thought wouldn't today be a great day to go out and have some beers. You run the thought through your head and it becomes intoxicating.

Your mind starts with imagining Alice and I at a bar, super relaxed and fun atmosphere, the beers coming and a party atmosphere and talk, talk, talk and life just seems better with alcohol.

It was very intoxicating, no pun intended.

As the morning went on with this vision in my head I had the tug of war on my shoulder between the little white angel and the little red devil.

The big deciding factor had to do with my weight. If I was 185 lbs I was out the door and we would have taken the day off. Nope, I didn't do that because I know that if I would have left and did that that I was effectively throwing up the white flag and giving up.

When I say giving up, I mean accepting getting old and fat. I'm not there yet. Maybe I am and I don't even know it, but in my mind I'm not there.

Today I got a newsletter from my old Jesuit high school alumni. In it it has photos of guys that may have been in your class and are at some of the events. I looked at a couple and frankly if I didn't see there names under their pictures I wouldn't have recognized them.

One guy in particular I remember in High School him being older than me but was one of the best athletes on the football team and had girls all over him. I saw a picture of him and there is not one element of him that I recognize, not even a twinkle in his eye. He's a fat middle aged looking guy.

Now don't feel sorry for him. I was reading that he's CEO of this large company in Winnipeg and his salary was $2.2 million last year alone.

Then I see another guy, same deal. This guy I recognized but again, he looked old. He was 51 years old, again, his compensation for last year was $6 million plus which is a huge amount for a Winnipeg company and he's two year older than me.

Why is it when you see a friend succeed a little part of you dies?

Yes it's a joke comment we've all heard before but isn't it true. I remember these guys in high school. In fact I was fortunate enough to go to a high school where a lot of rich kids went and not so rich kids went and where most where over achievers.

My old high school was called St. Paul's high school in Winnipeg. It was a special time in my life. I never felt like I belonged, I got into constant trouble, I got kicked out ....for near 2 years....I surprised them and came back and in the end my only driver was to graduate from there so I could say I graduated from St Paul's. It was for no other reason but for people telling me I couldn't do it.

In fact I didn't even pass the entrance exam, and I tried hard. I just wasn't smart enough to do it. Thankfully my dad and uncle went to St Paul's and they probably felt obligated and figured by letting me it it would bring in some Alumni funds.

So here I am I'm in the 9th grade and I start at this super highly regarded high school. One of my classmates dad was the Premier of the Province and everywhere you turned someones dad was in charge of something or the guy who was in charge of something was a St Paul's graduate.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of time. I liked some of the people, I disliked some of the people.

I also knew this was a special time for me. I was looking under the covers at life. I was seeing future leaders without their masks on. Whatever all of us became when we got into the real world, we all knew each other only as we were young and one's status in life didn't count. You only liked people for who they were, not who there daddy was or how rich they were.

I was one of those kids that lived in more of a middle-upper middle class neighbourhood and to get to school had to take three transit buses with 2 transfers. In -30 C in Winnipeg and starting your journey in the black cold of morning at 6 am as you wait in an bus shelter with no heat for the bus to show up it's not fun. You don't know what cold is until you've lived that life.

Back to my story.

So I see these guys that I went to school with, doing great, but frankly looking pretty bad. But I was kind of jealous too. Not about their money but that they looked so bad that I wished I looked that bad because I would just give up and eat and drink anything I wanted.

It's an awful look, it's the look of "I've successfully transitioned fully out of my youth". It's a look I was on the path to having had I not got back into Ironman at 41 years old and stopping and then reversing.

But in the past year I haven't taken care of myself eating the wrong foods and drinking to much beer. I kind of put myself on the expressway for that "awful look" and the "awful look" is just the first part of it, then comes the "full transition" and you are no longer at all the person you were. It's like the caterpillar becoming a butterfly, but in reverse. Mind you that's up for debate depending what side you are on.

I'm on the side of wanting to be Peter Pan for as long as I can. I want to stay young in mind, heart and spirit. I don't want to be one of those guys that loses their political incorrectness and who's life becomes safe, secure and regular. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just not what I want.

I want to keep striving for more of everything. I see life as a constant challenge. I want to keep growing as a person and to do that I find you need to often be outside of your comfort zone. You have to jump into the pool with both feet, you have to walk the rope without a net. You need to live.

When I see the "awful" look it tells me that if you have the "awful" look that you found your comfort zone and decided to stay there. It's like a bird finding a nice nest, that's warm, has food, and just plopping yourself down and deciding to live the rest of your life from the comfort of your nest.

Would I like the kind of money those guys make? Hell yeah. Who wouldn't. If you made me an offer to have the amount of money those guys have and trade it for learning and growing personally I'd turn it down. Instead I'd propose a third option, work to have all the money you need and never stop growing or learning personally.

So what does all this have to do with moment of truth?

Well today I had a choice to make. I hit a fork in the road. For the past week I've been eating healthy and training. In fact, in the past 5 days I've run over 50 kms. I don't think even during heavy Ironman training I've run 50 km in 5 days.

BUT I knew that if I went for beers I'd set the clock back at least 1 week in just one night. Then I'd wake up feeling like crap tomorrow. Then I might have a beer or two to take the hair off the dog and then if I was lucky I'd do a run on Sunday, maybe Monday and if I managed to get my head back on it, I would have set myself back 2 weeks.

That means that one day of beers would wipe out 2 weeks of progress and if it wiped out two weeks of progress then I wasted those 2 weeks of progress and shouldn't even have started. Because if I hadn't started, then there would be no progress that could be wasted.

Basically I'm saying if I just give up and eat and drink what I want when I want then I'll never lose progress that never started. But if I am going to start eating healthy then I need to stay eating healthy at least until the goal is met.

There is something about getting over the 2 week hump that makes a difference. If I start and eat well for 2 weeks and then I drink and eat badly for one night then effectively I lot those 2 weeks and I'm back to zero. However, if I eat healthy and no beer for 2 months and then I eat unhealthy and have beers I only set myself back 2 weeks, but I still have a good 6 weeks that can't been taken away from me. The only way those other 6 weeks could be taken away from me is if I eat and drink without training for the next 2-3 weeks and if that happens I'm back to FAT ground zero.

So it's 10:30 am and I have the urge to kick back on Friday the 13th. I run all this stuff through my mind and realize this is the moment of truth and not the moment of truth for just setting myself back 2 weeks but the moment of truth about whether I'm about to throw in the towel and not care about food and drink anymore.

Now on the surface this might seem like a simple decision and why not just eat and drink whatever you want? Hell your going to be 50 this year, kick back and enjoy.

The answer is because it's not a decision just about food and drink, it's a decision of the future direction of my life. For what I want to do I can't continue to reset the clock every two weeks. I have some very specific goals I want to do in business and life and having a two week vacation is one thing, but resetting the clock back to where you started every 2 weeks is another.

Constantly resetting won't work. Resetting is keeping me in my comfort zone and I will be able to brag I got that "awful look" going for me.

It wasn't a short battle. Close to two hours before I made a decision and the decision was to just go for a run. It's the coldest day of the year in Toronto. I've ran 4 previous days and a rest day from running would be good, but instead I just started to get dressed into my running clothes.

Eventually I was somehow magically dressed to go for a run outside and really didn't want to face the cold weather but just pushed myself out the door.

There is something about getting out on a run that just puts everything back into perspective and it doesn't take long, maybe a quarter of a mile, sometimes less.

I quickly found myself giving thanks to just being alive. There was just a simple pleasure in breathing the air, the cold on your face, the pores opening and just being out in the world of nature, even though the nature is in a suburban neighbourhood, it still feels like nature. The brightness of the sun, the whiteness of the snow.

These last 4-5 months has had a lot of uncertainty (still does) and an emotional roller coaster. What I've learned is a simple one hour run can change my next 24 hours. Providing I can push myself out the door. Which is the hardest part of the run.

But once I'm out the door....this happens....

I start my run with the feeling of control. That I'm choosing to run. That I made the decision to run. That I choose to be in a positive state of mind at this moment. That I chose to be thankful for all the good things in my life. I chose to breath the fresh air and feel the sun.

Then I get the feeling of perspective. As I run everything seems to shuffle into perspective, effortlessly. Things that were weighing me down, now that I'm running don't seem as big of a problem.

Finally I end the run with optimism. It seems whatever obstacle I'm facing the run has given me the vision on how I'm going to overcome it. It also gives me the "who gives a fuck" attitude and that regardless "I will overcome".

That level of optimism then gives me power and that power then gives me resolve and confidence to stay the course.

And that's what happened today. I went through that moment of truth. I witnessed what it would look like if I went out for a beer.....that' I would be giving up on my dream...That I don't have unlimited time to keep restarting every two weeks, AGAIN and again....and went for a run....

It was a good move, I came back powerful and full of resolve.

My resolve is not just to not give up. My resolve it to become the best I can become in business. I have some unfinished business in business. I never have felt I've realized my true potential, not even close. I've never been in 100% control and have never been able to be the final decision, or set strategy without exhausting battle.

This time around I'm only moving forward with my business with total control. Not that I don't have partners or shareholders. I have those. What I mean is I make the final decisions, period. Only then will I truly know what I can do in business and I personally think it's going to be pretty amazing.

So there is two challenges I face. The first is finding the right business to get into and then raising the money and still maintain decision making control.

Both are hard to do and I've never been closer to making the two happen. Hence I can't restart every 2 weeks.

In my minds eye all I think is no more than 3 years to accomplish every goal I have in business.

Yes you heard it right, 2 - 3 years. It shouldn't take longer. It's like when I got back into triathlons, I went from 50 lbs overweight to Kona Qualifier in around 3 years. There should be no reason I can't do it in business what I did in Triathlon.

And frankly I have to. I don't have much time left. No I'm not dying, at least that I know of. But I am going to be 50 years old this year. At best I have 5 -6 years ahead of me, after that there is no guarantees health wise.

I value time so much it's not even funny. I talk to young business people about how valuable time is and they don't get it. I didn't get it at there age either. When you are young, time is a commodity. All you have is time.

As you get older you realize how fast time has passed by and that time is valuable. That the key is to preserve time and not waste any of your time. It's like your down to your last chips, you have to be selective on what you bet them on.

When I was young in business I just jumped in with both feet and figured I'll figure it out as I go along and in 5 years we'll know if that decision paid off or not.

Now I can't do that. I don't have 5 years to wait to see the results. I need to see results in 5 months or less and I WANT to see results in 5 weeks or sooner.

Unless you have been where I am now or have been there, this concept is very difficult to truly understand. It's the equivalent to hearing new grandparents say how great it is to have grandkids. You academically hear what they are saying but until you have your own grand children you really don't "feel" what they mean.

Same with time. If you don't truly feel how precious time you only know what I'm saying academically. Time is so valuable to me right now it's close to painful. In many ways it's a blessing. It forces me to look at things with a "I can't waste my time" filter, not a "I don't want to waste my time" filter, but a I CAN'T.

There is a quote that Steve Jobs has about time and himself knowing he was going to die from his illness. I TOTALLY get it, deeply.

I'm no Steve Jobs, but what I do have in common with him is I want to do the best work of my life. I still want to be in the game, I still want to compete, I still want to stay young at heart, I don't want to get that "awful look" (Jobs didn't have it) and I want to be very proud of something that was 100% my fault. Win or lose.

And just today something weird happened, for the first time in my business career. I'm letting the universe unfold. I've done this in my personal life my entire life and I've had an awesome personal life, but I've never done it in business.

You have no idea how hard it is and liberating it feels to allow the universe to unfold in an area that you have a preconceived idea of how you think it should unfold.

For now I'm just going to remember that this is Friday the 13th. The number 13 is my favourite number and I accomplished two things today. I didn't give up and with respect to business I'm letting the universe unfold.

Run - 56:30 / 8.18 km


  1. fuck, were you drunk when you wrote this drivel? i read the first couple of paragraphs and then scrolled down to the comment section

  2. Not drunk...will admit it started slow...pushed myself to get started but middle and end was strong...even got posts from others on twitter that "it was nicely written". You snooze you loose.