The Storm

I’m forcing myself to write this all down. I am tired and I’m weary and likely wary as well.  It’s all due to our current calendar and travel schedule, but I need to get it down. Typically I would compose a blog or an entry at the bookends of an exciting event or new project. Typically we would beat our chests and say.. “look at what we’re about to do. We’re so awesome or something. Look at our stupid press release and say…aren’t we awesome for choosing to do this thing that we have not yet completed. We have no idea how it’s going to turn out or if we’ll be successful, but you should know about it.”

Yes. Typically.

Often times after the reality of the full project sets in we are humbled by mediocre results and we’ll softly let the drum beat fade in hopes that most won’t remember last month’s chest thumping.  We tip toe out of the room hoping they forgot about the announcement.

On the other hand we often succeed. We’ll knock a new event out of the park or one of our athletes will shred face with a performance that causes our little PR team (aka my iPhone) to unleash bravado over social channels.  It’s those times that we get all up on the Facebook and show a hero image looking for further social approval, likes and “great job” carbon copy comments.  Like I said, it’s either a pre-project machismo or a post-project celebration.  The before or the after.

But now, for once, I’m writing in the eye of the storm. Soul Focus is fully in it and we’re scratching for every yard. In a span of six weeks we will produce seven events, six of them new. Five of those are part of a nationwide experiential sports marketing project of the sort that we have never led. I probably should not say that to the client now, but we’re pushing tin and it would be really tough to fire us anyways. In that same time span we had an athlete compete valiantly at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. Further, we targeted, negotiated and closed on the purchase of a classic event that may become the cornerstone of our entire business. All in the last month.  It’s freaking crazy town.

So admittedly there is some chest beating in there, but there is also a story of transparency as well. I like others to know that we have nothing to hide. We are proud of what we do, why we do it and that clarity helps us do the right thing in our everyday business. Right now we’re in the thick of it and it’s exhausting, intimidating, exciting, and damn near perfect to know that you don’t really have a choice when you wake up. It’s 4:00am and you gotta go. You have to be on a plane, make quick decisions and execute the layered plan we put into place over the last six-months.

What’s going on like Marvin Gaye.

On October 25th we hosted the 2nd Annual Let’s Go 510 “The East Bay’s 5k/10k.” It’s the final event in 2014 for our Represent Running Series and it went pretty darn well. We made a mistake with some medals and too often we’ll focus on some negatives, but overall it was a great way to start building the storm.  This event tripled in size, we overcame significant political obstacles and literally moved boulders to make it happen.  Seriously a huge tractor was contracted last minute.

We hosted over 150 kids from Running for a Better Oakland.  Entries provided by Gu Energy.  Awesome.

We hosted over 150 kids from Running for a Better Oakland. Entries provided by Gu Energy. Awesome.

On November 2nd our top athlete Nick Arciniaga ran the NYC Marathon and finished 10th after leading for a couple miles in the mid-stages. It’s been an incredibly inspiring year for Nick as he finish 7th at Boston, 8th at Twin Cities and now 10th at the NYC Marathon. Three marathons, three top-tens, and all in one year. Nick is stronger than ever and Under Armour’s support and belief in him through out 2014 has been a big boost.  I love New York…for 4 days.  Not enough surf.

Nick Arciniaga (@ownyourrun) is owning 2014.

Nick Arciniaga (@ownyourrun) is owning 2014.

On November 8th we put our new event partnership with the San Francisco 49ers to good use by hosting the Inaugural 49ers Rush 4.9k Stadium Run and The Challenge football themed obstacle race. All of this took place at the new Levi’s Stadium and my crew crushed it. By far the best inaugural event we have event produced and we had over 3000 first year participants registered in just 6-weeks.  This event will be 10,000 next year.  Total team victory, not to mention we ‘re huge 49ers fans.  There are perks.

49ers Rush meets 49ers Gold Rush.

49ers Rush meets 49ers Gold Rush.

On November 12th we kicked of a new partnership with Hoka One One shoes to revive the 2-Mile High School Postal Nationals. We’ll produce five flagship events around the country encouraging teams to run 2 miles on the track in order to compare their team to any other around the nation. This tradition was huge in the 1950s to the 1980s and we’re pumped to bring it back. The coolest part is teams can run these as time trials or duel meets on their own and report back to “post” their results.  We’ll be celebrating with high school teams across the country for the next month. New Jersey is a really interesting place.  The people are fantastic and they love it there.  Good for them.

Hoka One One 2-Mile High School Postal Nationals New Jersey - Florida

Hoka One One 2-Mile High School Postal Nationals New Jersey – Florida

And lastly we have purchased an event. I’m so excited about it, but I can’t reveal the full story for another week or so.  The tradition will live on and we will honor that history with a mix of tenacity and respect.  Keep an eye on in the coming weeks for the big announcement.

Jacket my wife made for me for the 2015 Represent Running Series.

The jacket my wife made for me for the 2015 Represent Running Series. 

So there you have it.  I worry about the work load because we are not really sleeping, we’re constantly hustling and I was scared that we bit off more than we can chew.  I asked my team, “Are we crazy?”  Their response “We got this boss. Don’t worry about it.”   I guess they would not want it any other way either.  In unison, we say yes.  It’s more fun to get dirty than sit back and let others get on the field.  It requires big stones to take on big projects, but it’s the way we want it.

None of this is possible without a team you can trust, a team that trusts each other, and years of experience.  My team is an amazing group of individuals.  They’re passionate about our projects.  They’re leaders inside our industry and many of them through their personal day jobs. We didn’t get these jobs without a quality resume and you don’t complete this workload without utter dedication from your crew. We’re family and we love each other. No one person wants success more than another. Fostering that environment takes years and it’s times like now when it pays off in moments. It’s all about the moments; the moments for our participants, moments of satisfaction for our clients, and moments of joy for our team to see our vision become reality.

Josh Muxen, Scott Anderson and J.T. Service (me) at the 49ers Rush Finish Line

Josh Muxen, Scott Anderson & myself at the 49ers Rush Finish. 

There is no point to any of this diatribe unless we unearth a lesson or two from the storm. Here is what I am currently feeling:

  • Be brave and take chances. You’re ready so just say yes.
  • Go big. If you are going to do it, do it right and finish the job.
  • Trust in your team and give them everything they need to succeed. You cannot do it alone.
  • There is nothing better than living in the moment. Nothing. Get yourself there.

We’re either in the eye of the storm or we are the storm.  Like most things in life probably a bit of both.  A little of column A, a little of column B.  A touch of gray.