on Dec.20, 2010, under stick to the pitch
Do you lift the people around you up, or do you bring them down?
“Don’t let the losers bring you down…”
When I was in 10th – 12th grade, I went to the boarding school, The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida … I wasn’t a loser.
I had no time to be a loser.
My roommate, and brother like friend wouldn’t let me…
I was led by the toughest coach in high school swimming who also wouldn’t let me be a loser…
(I am proud to say that my high school swim coach was recently, named the head coach of Team USA’s 2012 Olympic Men’s swim team)
In a word, I was “surrounded” by winners….
Which ultimately, enabled/helped lead me to achieve.
When I went the University of California….I didn’t have the same type of leadership as I had in high school.
I was used to a close, family like team … and my new one was much different to my high school team.
I had a nice guy, style of coach…and practice was easy, very easy.
My personality needed the tough type of coach, or a leader, and to be honest, I felt that I was better than everyone else which led me to take the road more traveled….and act like a loser.
Instead of living up to my talent, I became a clown.
I became a loser.
Unfortunately, my loser behavior surely brought those around me (RPS) down…
It was not until I had my accident, when I had to take a year off university to rehabilitate … that I reflected on who I was, and who I wanted to become.
I didn’t want to be a loser…
So I made a big change, and focused on positive achievement.
Just one negative influence; one negative friend can get in the way of one’s success – just like our influence can either lift up or bring down those around us.
Are you surrounded by winners?
Equally important — are you bringing those around you up…. or are you brining them down?
Today I spoke on the phone with a journalist in Dubai about how the idea to do 7 ironman in 7 day challenge came about – it was over a “friday night dinner” in Portofino, Italy with Jason Gorud…
He and I were enjoying a great dinner right on the port, literally a few feet from the sea … discussing our 40th year challenges (we both turned 40 in 2011) and I jokingly mentioned the idea of doing an ironman on each of the seven emirates in seven days….
Instantly, he raised his wine glass and bet me a box of Monte Cristo ”A” cigars that I couldn’t do it … his way of making sure I go after this challenge…
anyways – after my conversation with the journalist, I thought about this blog entry … so decided to repost it.
Even if you have read this entry before — “don’t just sit back waiting for your life to happen…”
this title says it all
In Tokyo, on a Friday back in October of 1998…
I was the sales director of the Tokyo office.
We had a big week.
The newly, transferred General Manager of the office, an American, Jason Gorud invited me to dinner to celebrate the big week.
He took me to “il Pinolo” which was considered (at the time) the best restaurant in Tokyo.
The restaurant was very small, if I remember correctly, it had only 10 tables.
We sat at the third table in the gorgeous dining room; the best table in the restaurant.
I didn’t know Jason well; he had been in the office for less than one week, but we had several things in common – mainly, we are both from the Midwest in America and we had both lived in Japan for several years.
Up until that dinner, I had never ordered a bottle of wine because I didn’t drink alcohol.
However, after Jason persuaded me with talk about Ernest Hemingway (one of my favorite authors) as well as his favorite novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, “Zorba the Greek,” I agreed to “experience” wine.
Jason ordered a white New Zealand wine, “Cloudy Bay.”
We spent 4-5 hours discussing our aspirations, dreams and goals.
I remember discussions on leading adventurous, Hemingway-esque lives.
I remember Jason talking about…dreaming of living a life like Zorba.
It was a great, memorable dinner.
The following Monday…
Before work began, I went up to Jason’s office and suggested that if the sales for the office broke the previous weeks figure – we should go back to Il Pinolo again. Jason excitedly, agreed.
Like magic, I had another big week and the office beat the previous week’s sales…
what drove me that week was to ensure we went back to Il Pinolo for dinner.
By chance, we sat at the same table and we both instinctively, sat in the same seats as before – Jason to my right.
We stuck to the same ritual as the Friday before – one glass of champagne to start and then one bottle of Cloudy Bay.
Again, we spent the evening dreaming and discussing setting simple goals…
Like the previous Friday night, we were the last table to leave the restaurant.
Over the next 10 months, we turned this end of work week dinner into a prize:
we would work our asses off during the week to be able to go out to dinner on Friday night, eat great food, drink great wine and celebrate life.
But if we slacked off, missed the numbers or generally failed to deliver on the goals we set for ourselves, we would have no FND.
In 10 months, we only missed one FND, and it was very early on so we learned from our mistakes.
Very quickly, Jason started to call the dinner “FND” for “Friday Night Dinner.”
“Ritual” is important to both of us.
Over time we developed certain rituals, which became a sort of rule set:
- we must always wear suits
- the FND must occur at the best, or one of the best rated restaurants in the city the FND takes place.
- Jason always sits to my right
- no guests are allowed, not even wives, friends or family
- one Friday I pay, the next Friday Jason pays (even if the next FND doesnt happen for months)
- one glass of champagne to start
- we limit ourselves to one bottle of wine during the dinner (we dont want to become drunk)
- we document every “Friday Night Dinner” in the same Hermes leather journal
To this day, we still adhere to these ‘rules’ as a way of differentiating an FND from just another nice dinner.
One FND we got into an argument about which restaurant had the better view– “New York Grill” in Tokyo (not our usual FND location, but one of the more iconic restaurants in Tokyo) or “Felix” in Hong Kong….
Both have stunning views, but I bet the airplane tickets that “Felix” in Hong Kong had the better view.
Around midnight, we went straight to the airport (about a 3 hour train ride from Tokyo) and flew early that morning to Hong Kong, booked rooms in The Peninsula (where Felix is located) and enjoyed a Saturday night dinner to judge who was right.
After a great meal and a bottle of Cloudy Bay, we both agreed, the view from “Felix” was not better than the view from “The New York Grill,” thus I lost the bet.
At the time, we were both 27 years old and the internet didn’t dominate our lives like it does today.
You couldn’t just “google” something.
Reflecting back, it didn’t seem crazy or extravagant — debating with your friend on which restaurant has a better view of two amazing cities – one in Tokyo or one in Hong Kong, and then going straight from one restaurant in Tokyo to the airport to catch the first flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong to see who is right ….
….that’s what the FND turned into – pushing ourselves into experiencing life, doing crazy challenges, and most importantly NOT talking about what we were going to do, but challenging each other to make it happen.
Just a few quick examples…
Over an FND, we decided to go to Africa and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Several months later, we summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in a white out snow storm. A few days after the summit, we went on a 5 day safari in the world’s largest, most incredible wild life reserve.
Over a FND, Jason told me he was getting married and asked me to be his best man…
Over a FND, Jason challenged me to swim across the English channel … three months later, I did.
Within a year or so of the original FND, we both moved our separate ways to different countries, and while (individually) we ended up moving on with our lives, the FND ritual still remained important to us.
At least once a year, since 1998, We have organized our schedules to enjoy an FND – recently, several times a year.
Up until now, Jason and I have had an FND in many different countries at some of the most famous restaurants in the world, including, but not limited to restaurants in:
Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Nairobi, Amsterdam, Zurich, Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, Lyon, St Tropez, Monaco, London, Beverly Hills just to name a few….
The FND is not about the dinner, or silly rituals or idle chit chat.
The FND is about consistency, focus and ultimately — achievement.
The FND is our incentive…
An incentive for us to work hard to try and make our lives happen — our incentive to ensure we don’t just sit back and allow life to happen around us.
(we have since taken the FND ritual to a whole new level with the FND trip – trips organized once a year around food, wine and seeing cool shit…
for those interested: http://www.scottragsdale.com/?p=3827)
on Aug.27, 2010, under other
Early this week, I was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and met up with a friend of mine, an American journalist who is based in Riyadh.
We got into a discussion on my blog…
In particular he said he was “inspired” by my English Channel swim challenge, but he felt I was “not properly marketing it.”
“Your writing style can gain a lot of readership – but you have to align yourself to a charity to be able to better market your English channel swim and all the other adventure challenges you are doing….”
I tried to explain…. (we have discussed this in the past so our conversation was not a new one)
I am not doing this swim to market myself.
I don’t give a damn about marketing my blog — marketing my blog would go against everything I stand for in this blog, hence, I do not allow naseba’s communication team to promote, link or market my blog in anyway.
He seemed annoyed by my response….
Once again, he tried to persuade me that I could expand my readership of this blog and gain more media interest for my various endurance challenges if I aligned myself to “a cause.”
By now I was annoyed and frustrated so sorted of shouted: “ I AM aligned to a cause …”
“My cause” is to remind everyone: “but, we have to make our lives happen.”
In my opinion…
Too many people waste their lives on facebook.
Too many people live vicariously through movie stars and pro-athletes.
Too many people sit around and talk about what they are going to do tomorrow…
How many people reading this have a goal or a “dream” yet have done nothing to try and go after achieving this dream?
on May.20, 2010, under ode to...
Within the next couple of days, if everything goes to plan, a 13 year old American boy will summit Mt. Everest.
Take a couple of minutes to read the article … and reflect back to when you were 13; maybe you have a child in his or her early teens (I have a 15 year old step daughter) … can you imagine yourself or your child having the maturity, strength and drive to set a goal of summiting the highest peaks on the 7 continents?
But not just talking about it…actually making it happen.
The article which I pasted above is replete with negativity … some “expert” in the UK claims the 13 year old boy is too young for such an achievement … the “expert” (whom I do not believe has climbed Mt. Everest) goes as far as claiming its “child abuse” by his father to allow him to climb.
This 13 year old boy has summited 6 of the 7 summits … has undergone extensive ice climbing training …. and is proving to be more than just a dreamer with a focus.
His response to all the criticism is very mature– basically, he says he will let his achievement speak for him.
Recently, Jessica Watson, a 16 year old Australian girl completed a 7 month nonstop solo-unassisted sail around the world … 7 months nonstop solo unassisted journey around the world … I have been following her blog for the past 6 months.
During her journey, her boat was knocked completely on its side several times in various storms … she had to personally, all by herself fix just about every major machinery on her boat. And she is just 15-16 years old.
Reflect back to when you were 15-16 years old…. Could you have sailed off by yourself; bravely, sail through storms, navigate your way around the world, fix an engine or water pump, etc? I know I couldn’t have – and I still can’t. (sailing around the world is one of my goals)
We live in a world of obesity, negativity and violence …. victimization … we are bombarded every day by the media basically, telling us “its not our fault …” comforting us that being mediocre is ok.
A 16 year old girl, Jessica Watson successfully sails around the world non stop … and its not headline news?
The first thing the media pointed out is “she might have not sailed far enough…” although she sailed around the world, someone somewhere is challenging her achievement by saying “its not far enough….”
The media could have used Jessica’s achievement, and Jordan’s as a way to positively influence so many young people out there who need positive influence and motivation … but instead the media focuses on the negatives of each one of these teens achievements.
Jessica’s achievement never made headline news in america – I bet Jordan Romero’s summit of Mt Everest will not make front page headline news … but sadly, I guarantee if he fails and doesn’t summit …. it will be headline news worthy.
The 19 headlines on CNN.com Thursday night (when I wrote this) … not one of them is focused on something positive.
The last headline listed today is simply: “Warrant out for Lindsay Lohan.”
Why does Lindsay Lohan’s personal troubles command such attention and focus?
Instead of celebrating the greatness in man, we are reassured by the failures of others.
Where is John Galt?
on Sep.11, 2009, under other
During our monthly management meeting with Sophie, Fabien and Nic, I had an interesting discussion with our group sales director, Nic Watson.
Nic was going over August sales results per team. I noticed an employee who did not hit his target in August, and I commented that I think the guy is very “talented,” but he is not living up to his “talent ….”
Nic asked my definition of someone who is “talented?”
Half heartedly, not really thinking about it, I responded “someone who has that extra ability others do not have…”
To further my point, I mentioned examples of talented employees, but I did not mention LP.
Nic asked why I didnt mention LP …. because he thinks LP must be one of the most talented people in the company.
He explained that in his opinion, somone who is “talented” is someone who is putting into place all the steps necessary to achieve consistency…
Nic mentioned he does not consider someone who has that “extra ability” but does not do what is necessary to use this “extra ability” to be someone who is talented. He added, he considers LP to be very talented because LP puts into place all the steps necessary to be consistent. At the end of the day, consistency is the key.
I am not discussing the semantics of the word “talent” … its more of a discussion to get all of us to reflect on ourselves.
ability vs talent vs achievement.
We all know people who are gifted … who have that extra ability, others do not have. But why is it that a majority of these people do not live up to their ability?
Maybe you are one of these people, who everyone says “could be and should be” great at whatever you do, a sport, a job, a hobby, whatever
… but you are not putting into place the things necessary to achieve consistency to live up to your ability.