Monday, February 1, 2010

The Climb

OK, the long expected plunge photos are here. I know each of you spent the weekend waiting anxiously to see these pictures - sorry I'm not better looking ;) Also as a shout out to my peeps at headquarters, I am wearing my AGD Foundation shirt.

Yes, I did it. I ran a 5K in the snow and then jumped into a lake - and along the way helped Special Olympics of Kansas by raising $620 (thanks to all who donated). It was a cold day, "the sea was angry my friend", 24 degree air temperature at plunge time. The water was a balmy 27 degrees. Now someone with more physics knowledge than me is going to have to explain how water can get below the freezing point - but I can tell you it was cold ("I WAS IN THE POOL"). It felt every bit of 27degrees.

Now, permit me if you will, a bit of midwestern boasting. There are 2 plunges in the Kansas City metropolitan area so a total of approximately 2,000 people jumped into 27degree water when it was 24 degrees outside. No one got hurt and nothing got cancelled. In Maryland, they had a plunge with 15,000 people on the same day but they cancelled it because the water was 36 degrees and the air temperature 29 and people were getting hypothermia. I'm not saying we're tougher, I'm just sayin. . .well, come on, my daughter plunged last year and the water was 33 degrees.

Come on Maryland, that close to D.C. and you can't stand a little cold water in your face. Or maybe the recent election results have been enough of a cold water plunge for that area of the country. (btw, if you are taking that seriously at all, lighten-up).

Now for the sappy dental-related thoughts from the weekend.

You might not be able to tell from looking at my pictures, but I love to run. I also love to eat but that is another story.

As a business owner, running is my release. It gives me long stretches of time to clear my head and think only about the next step. Now when you run you become intimately familiar with the slope of the terrain upon which you are running. You notice the slightest shift in slope, you find elevation changes that are too subtle for a car passenger to notice but that require you to push just a little harder.

On Saturday, before the plunge, I "ran" in the 5K race. I finished in 33 minutes but the key is that I finished. I set a goal and I saw it through. It really was no different from when I ran 39 miles last January in the Disney Goofy Challenge - I set a goal and I saw it through. Each of those races had the exact same issue, I had to start running by putting one foot in front of the other. Then I had to keep running, period.

Now for the sappy part. I am an artist at heart. I am a musician and music affects my moods remarkably. I use music throughout the day for motivation or for introspection. I have certain music I listen to when I have a stack of bills to pay and certain music I will listen to when I have a difficult case coming up. I also listen to music when I run, not loud, just background noise that actually helps me to focus on the task at hand.

In the race on Saturday I was listening to my daughter's ipod. Now, she is 11 and has excellent taste in music but I am going to use her as the excuse for why I was listening to Miley Cyrus' song "The Climb" in the last 3/4 mile of the race as I was ascending the last little hill of the course. Now, if you haven't heard that song - go out and get it. It is a great song and that young lady is remarkably talented. The lyrics to the chorus say "there's always gonna be another mountain, I'm always gonna want to make it move, there's always gonna be an uphill battle. . .doesn't matter how fast I get there, doesn't matter what's waiting on the other side, it's the climb."

Oh yeah, 38-year-old husky guy plodding up a hill with tears in his eyes as he is reflecting on the climb involved in starting a business. We set goals, we go to seminars on practice management, we go to wealth seminars and retirement planning seminars but the truth is there is no shortcut - starting a business and keeping it going is a mountain that cannot be moved, it must be ascended. During that ascent you are going to notice every change in the slope. It will be easier at times and more challenging at times. You may slide backwards at times. There will always be those who chose not to climb the mountain who drive by and say, "that doesn't look hard but I don't want to climb it when I can drive around the mountain". And that's fine but don't dare try to tell me what the slope feels like when you are in the car, get out and try it yourself.

Ultimately, we climb not because of what is at the top - I can't even see the top. We climb because we want to see if we can.

And so we start.

We put one foot in front of the other and we keep moving. . .

have a great week,


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