Archive for July 14, 2010

It really is amazing sometimes how just when you think you have it all figured out – something happens in the blink of an eye and completely shifts your focus and helps you zero in on the things that are truly important.

When I’m not running, just like the vast majority out there, I have a job that I go to every day. I’m fortunate because I honestly love what I do. I work for a company that prides itself on providing top customer service, treats its employees extraordinarily well and at the end of the day – we truly care about each other both professionally and personally.

We will be turning 20 next year – and although we have grown, and grown very rapidly over the last few years, we try to stay true to our identity and that is to embrace life and never lose our entrepreneurial spirit. It is a testament to our Chairman and owner, and it permeates throughout our organization.

This week we were in Walt Disney World for our Summer Conference. I am blessed with great colleagues who care every bit about our Division as much as I do. We were able to bring 88 remote employees together for a few days of meetings and of course it being Disney World – a healthy dose of fun.

I even had the great honor of chatting with the King Himself – Mickey Mouse during our opening remarks. It was a tremendous few days for all of us.

Joe & Mickey

Early Tuesday I was on my morning run – big surprise there right? – and I was thinking about the group of managers we had assembled, how hard they work, their commitment to hitting our client goals, but how they also needed to focus on their life goals with equal enthusiasm and tenacity.

I was trying to find a way during the closing remarks that I would deliver in 11 hours or so to tie it all together and help send everyone back to the field, ready to kick off their years with great energy and commitment.

Not only was I hoping that they would all be excited about chasing goals this year, I wanted each member of our team to personalize them, make them their own, but not lose sight that the biggest goal for all of us should be to embrace every moment we have.

“Life” is the goal we should all be chasing. A full, rewarding life, where we make sure to cherish the good times and no matter how hard we find ourselves chasing goals, celebrate all of the small victories along the way and stay focused on the things that are most important.

Family and friendships. Honoring commitments and trying to be the best you can be every day. But most of all, to celebrate the gift of life. I have Dom to thank for teaching me that one.

As I was pushing a tempo run at a quick pace at the mile 5 mark on a 6.25 mile run – the heat and humidity in Florida were starting to take their toll. I was trying to hold 7:10 pace in preparation for Thursday night’s 10K race. All of the time on my feet during the conference and at the park the night before was getting to me.

My run was getting difficult. Sometimes it is supposed to get hard I thought. Another great lesson.

Those bumps in the road, those small defeats – even some big ones, like missing your Boston time by 1 minute and 8 seconds are all part of the journey. It’s not about whether you get knocked down or not. It’s about having the courage to get back up and try again. That is what is “magical”.

Just then the sprinklers that line the path where I was running shot up out of the early morning light and started spraying in front of me. Now this is Disney mind you. These were not your normal sprinklers. These were Disney Sprinklers – strong, tall, high-powered – think golf course sprinklers and you’re getting close.

They water started hitting me head to toe – so hard it actually stopped my GPS on my wrist – and it felt awesome. I looked back over my shoulder and they truly had come on exactly where I was on the path. I ran close to 1/4 mile taking in the cool water and immediately felt like I had shed 35 years.

Maybe it was seeing Mickey on Monday morning, or the Electric Parade at the Magic Kingdom later that night. But it made me feel like I was about 8 years old. I spread my arms out, smiled and just enjoyed the moment. My legs were no longer tired, I ran without a care in the world. It was the fastest and best mile of the morning.

It was then that I realized exactly what I had been searching for over the last 40 minutes.

Life is about goals. They are important. They make us push ourselves to improve and to make a difference in not only our own life, but in all of the lives we touch. I think what makes the pursuit of a goal so“Magical” is it’s honesty.

The only one standing between me and my pursuit of that sub 40:oo minute 10K time, or a return to Boston is me. As I strive to be the very best “New-Dad” possible to our soon to be arriving daughter Landry is me.

To be the best Husband, Son, Brother, Friend, Boss or Mentor – it is completely up to me.

Disney truly was a “Magical Place” for me this week as I learned a lesson that I hope to never forget. No matter what goal we are chasing, whether it is personal, professional, athletic or spiritual. The most important thing above all else to remember:

Don’t forget to run through the sprinklers.