Your Voice or Theirs

I woke up one day and I didn’t recognize my life anymore. I mean, I was still doing my thing. Same gig with work, same interests for the most part. That was all still there. But it felt like work and everything else felt boring. Let me back up…

I was living in East Lansing and read an article about Mark Thatcher, the guy that “invented” the Teva sandals that everyone wore in the mid 90’s. He was asked for his thoughts on the best advice for a happy life and his response was “Find something you love to do, then find a way to get paid doing it”. I had that. Not sure how I did but I wound up having it. I had a program that I believed in and I ran it exactly the way I wanted to. I had a race series that I loved. I loved it because I didn’t model it after anything else that anyone out there was already doing. I basically created my own markets. Because I had no big sponsors to answer to, I was able to do things the way I wanted to and I loved it. All of it. Every aspect of Motor City Bootcamp and every aspect of Muddy Watters Trail Series. One day I’d realized that something had happened. It wasn’t some big change that happened overnight, but rather so many small things that added up over the years. I began to make small changes here and there to accommodate people. Make the race a little shorter. Add some exercise at bootcamp to do for the people that couldn’t do what I’d laid out for the programming that day. I let too many outside people’s voices get into my ear and into my head about making tweaks in things that were very specific to how I’d envisioned them to be. It’s a slippery slope and once you make that first significant change, all the other people start to chime in like vultures. Everyone’s got a better way to do it. I wound up trying to accommodate too many people. When I did, I wound up with a product that had way too much of an influence from others. Clients, friends, peers, even my wife. I no longer felt that I had my own individual thing anymore. As selfish as it sounds, the more focused I was on exactly what I wanted it to be was when it was not only the most fulfilling, but also the most successful. I don’t mean successful in terms of finances. Success to me is waking up excited to “work”. I was awake before my alarm on MCB training days. I was at Bloomer the week before the race taking people on “pre runs” because I was so excited to give them a preview of my latest creation. These were MY things and mine alone. I was fortunate to have found a way to share MY things with others and to have it be something that was of value to them. I was being paid to do something I loved, which was what I wanted all along. When I slowly lost that, I began hating my job and hating my races. Last year was the first year that I didn’t host a single event. I thought about folding up shop altogether. I found myself feeling depressed and unable to do anything about it. Which was ridiculous because all of it was my creation. I got away from doing things the way I wanted to do them. Over the course of these last few years of trying to make too many people happy with a product that I no longer saw as my own vision anymore, I’ve gotten back to square one. Having been able to shut down the voices around me either through divorce (from many people and many things), literally and figuratively, and the return of my own stubbornness and the return of a hunger that had been missing for a long time, I feel like my eyes have opened up again to see the same things they saw when I first decided to rule the world. It’s amazing how easy it is to make things so hard. But it’s even easier to go back to the original masterpiece in your head once you can shut it down for a while and reemerge victorious.

All that shit being said, I’m excited to return back to my roots for the 2016 Muddy Watters Trail Series. I’m going back to how we did it year 1, no holds barred. It’s not about setting up something that everyone can do. I don’t want everyone to be ok with it. I want it to be hard and I want you to suffer. That’s the point and that’s ok. Motor City Bootcamp, I’m excited to see you again my friend. I don’t care if it’s more convenient to have an ongoing program  month in and month out. I don’t care if you don’t want to go where the session is held that day because it’s too cold or too far or too… whatever. The sessions were started as group training to simulate a sport specific training camp, 7 weeks on and 1 week off. The weeks were gradually ramped up, each week building on the week before. If you can’t start on day one, wait until the next session. I’m not going to prorate the program to accommodate when it works with your schedule to start your participation in my program.

It’s too easy to listen to the side noise that’s in your ears. Especially when they convince you that their suggestions will make things work more smoothly or attract more people. You’ve got to remind yourself that, if you’re doing it the right way, you won’t need to make an effort to attract anyone at all. Your efforts should be spent on doing whatever you need to do to keep pushing your vision forward, otherwise you’re just working to push someone else’s idea. That’s why I left school in the first place, so I could work for my vision. Not someone else’s.

It feels good to see again.