Thursday, October 8, 2009

Be inspired every day...maybe twice for good measure

Interesting day today. Admittedly, I have not accomplished much work-wise. We had a rah-rah team building / business plan session this morning at the new Vancouver convention centre (gorgeous by the way!).....four hours into the session I was feeling a little overwhelmed and wishing that the takeaway points were a little more concrete and less glossy.

Play as a team, build relationships, bring your best every day....yeah yeah. This seems obvious. It's not as though many of us (if any) set out to do our worst every day, is it? Aren't these goals ubitiquous and universal in business, and even more so, in life??

The diamond in the rough: Be inspired. I kind of made that one up, but I like it the best. If we are all passionate and inspired by at least one thing every day....wouldn't that enthusiasm become contagious? Wouldn’t we collectively be better because of it?

So I started daydreaming part way through the business planning session (shhhh....don't tell) about what inspires me and how can I share my passion and let it shine through. I can be a bit of a dry-wit, not easily impressed and letting passion shine through is not exactly natural. It's not my fault. I'm German, after all.

However, those who know me well know that I am relentless once I have attached to something - a cause, a goal, a dream. There is no way I could do what I do for a living without being more than a little dogged....and there is no way I could run marathons for FUN without being relentless. So I am going to be relentless about making sure that no day will pass without being inspired. Maybe twice, for good measure.

So I wanted to share my inspiration for today. Alas it is only 13:44 so maybe by the end of the day there will be a second. Bogey doesn't count.

Mid-September, I signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. In order to participate in the ride (from Vancouver to Seattle), each participant is charged with raising a minimum of $2,500 for the BC Cancer Foundation. The inaugural ride in 2009 raised nearly $6.9 million for the cause....this is not an insignificant fundraiser!

Friends cautioned me that the Ride to Conquer Cancer is not a *training* ride and that *riding in the peloton* could impede my Ironman training. That doesn't concern me....I won't be training in the peloton. It’s the lead up to the event that is really key....when you are training for a distance event you need to learn to love to train, and train to train. So if I am going to be training for Ironman through the nasty, cold, wet Vancouver winter anyway, I may as well be doing it at least partially for a fantastic cause. And I won't be training in the peloton :)

So here comes the inspiration bit! Those of you who fundraise will know how difficult it is to approach your friends, family and colleagues begging for support - regardless of the passion you have for your cause! There are so many causes and charities with their hands out and in these economic times it is difficult to be as philanthropic as we would all ideally be. Worse yet, there is a critical disconnect between getting your donation receipt and knowing that it goes to make a DIFFERENCE.

So when I read the news today, I was really motivated. A team of scientists based with the BC Cancer Agency announced that they have made a world's first breakthrough in the understanding of the breast-cancer genome. This achievement not only opens up the possibility of better understanding the disease…but offers hope and possibility in the future treatment and diagnosis of breast cancer. This story really enforced my efforts to date and my enthusiasm for this cause.

Ironman may be about me and challenging my will.....but in training for it, I will make a difference.