The Road To Crockett Park Is Paved With Change

Last week, while in Nashville for meetings, I went for a run on one of my old running trails. This one is special. It starts at the soccer fields at the Brentwood YMCA and goes all the way back to Crockett Park.

You see, when I first started running here it was 2005. I was going through one of the most difficult parts of my life and I needed to find a way to rebuild my life and rediscover who I was and who I really needed to be. Little did I know that this same little route would be the place that helped me start that journey.

Crockett_Park
I ran this route every tuesday and thursday morning for almost two years with the same group of people. At the time, I had only competed in one half marathon and wouldn’t even call myself a runner. But I seemed to really like it and I loved how I felt after a run. My mind was clear. I felt focused. I felt energized and ready to conquer anything that came my way.

It was on this road I took time for me. I took the time to process my life and the direction I wanted to go. It was here where I regained confidence in myself and changed the way I thought about life. It was here where I set goals and met goals. It was here where I learned more about my failures. It was here where I started to redefine me. And yet… I didn’t start out running this route with any of that in mind. I just wanted to run and get healthy.

What I didn’t know about getting healthy was it had less to do with the physical part of my life (although my body changed a lot) but affected the health of my mind and soul more than I could have ever imagined.

It changed me. Forever.

This road was also where I decided to get into swimming which led to triathlon and started the road to Ironman. A journey and accomplishment that took redefining me to a whole other level.

Sometimes we walk into situations thinking one thing and never expect to walk out with a completely different and better outcome than expected. It’s one of those little nuggets in life we get from time to time to inspire us to keep going in the right direction.

When I come back to Nashville and run this route, it’s always filled with great memories. Even the hard stuff I had to work through while running this route ends knowing I’m on the other side of it now.

Have I stopped changing? no. I continue on making small changes here and there. Always looking for places in my life to improve. I still have a long ways to go, a lot of miles to run and will continue to look forward as I go, but I never forget my past and where I’ve come from.

Re-Connecting People To Life

I’d say it’s been a little while since I’ve written on this little blog. I can’t say that I’ve worried about it, but I would say I’ve missed it. A lot.

What I’ve missed most about it is how simple blogging can be. Think about something you want to say and just write about it. Right?

Oh no.

Purse_Life

I mean. It used to be that way for me but then people actually paid attention to what I was writing and they did that thing called COMMENTING!!! They responded and I suddenly felt to pressure to actually use punctuation and grammar sort of and use spell check. Oh the pressure.

SO I wrote and I wrote and I wrote some more. I wrote so much that I became somewhat known for being a blogger! Kind of cool right?

It is.

But then I wanted more. I wanted a more focused blog. I mean why wouldn’t I? I was starting to consult and teach people about all things blogging and social media. That was fun. (still is actually).

But today… I’m done thinking about blogging and ready to get back at it. Not ready to go to the next level. Not ready to focus on any one subject. Just ready to get back at it.

A while back my blog tag line was Connecting People To Life. I changed that line a few times to make it more focused on different subjects. But the reality is, that was too much for me.

So I’m going back to the basics. I’m re-connecting people to life again. Re-connecting me to my life again and writing about it. I’m going back to the basics when blogging was simply just about writing what I experienced in life and hopefully… hopefully, I might be able to encourage a reader to get off the couch and run their first 5K or attempt their first triathlon or buy some new music they hadn’t heard or find an easier way to travel. Heck, I hope they even learn that having a life in social media can be really fun if all they do is play by their own rules.

So… here’s to the future of blogging in my life. Hope you enjoy the read and I enjoy the process again of just writing and re-connecting to life.

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

I’ve come to know this phrase as a daily part of my life.

I used to hear it all the time in my twenties and one day I decided to actually pay attention to what it really means.

So wait a second, I went to college, got a degree and you are trying to tell me it’s not what I know, it’s who I know? Whatever.

Well it’s true. Don’t get me wrong, I think getting a degree is a necessary experience and comes in handy when you least expect it. But what knowledge you have in the business world most times only takes you so far. It’s the relationships you develop along the way that help get to where you need to go with that well earned knowledge.

Friendship

Working in the music industry for the past 20 years has taught me a lot about building and maintaining relationships. The do’s and don’t’s and everything else that comes with it. I’ve made major rookie mistakes when I was younger thinking I was all that and a bag of skittles. I’ve learned along the way that treating people with respect and being authentic is key to getting the job done.

I will be the first to tell you I’m not a detail guy. I’m a big idea guy and a connector at the core. I can get things done when the task at hand calls for it but knowing who to go to get a problem solved and to get a task done is key for me.

Any time I’m talking to people getting started in the music business about how to do well in Nashville. I always tell them this story.

When Big Tent Revival was one the road, along came a recent Belmont University grad named Mike. Mike’s first job in the music industry was being our merchandise guy. He was a great guy. Hard working, looked professional, a great hang and most of all he had an incredible attitude. We became fast friends with Mike. Mike eventually became our road manager. Because he was so good, he got snatched up by Jars Of Clay and eventually landed a job with another management company. Today he manages Casting Crowns.

Why is this important?

Because along the way, Mike and I have worked together with other artists he has managed and the partnership served us both well.

What’s the point?

You treat people who work for you and with you well because one day you might actually need to work for them or work along side them in a completely different capacity. In the music industry, people move around jobs like it’s going out of style. And learning how to treat people well is huge.

Right now, there are a good number of guys who worked for our band in the beginning stages of their careers who went on to start management companies, production companies and handle some very great artists from Matthew West to Taylor Swift.

When you walk into a room where people know you. A good end result is that they know they can trust you and that you are the guy they want to work with when the time comes.

An even better part is that they are actually your friend and would do anything for you because of it.

But be careful, the tricky part is to never use a friendship business gain in a way that makes your friend feel used. I will cover that in another post.

Surviving A Rough Transition

Last week I raced in the Boulder Tri Series Sprint Triathlon. It was a short distance race and I’ve raced in my fair share of them. I was using this race as a gauge to see where I sit physically. The first 5 months of this year where a little tough getting my training in with the birth of my son, Micah, but once the end of May arrived I was able to kick things into full swing.

Transition_Triathlon

I’ve written about transition before as it relates to triathlon and life, so going through this last race had me thinking about how crucial transitions really are in a triathlon.

To catch some of you up concerning triathlons, it is three sports in one race. Swim first, bike second and run third. However, between the swim and bike there is transition one and between the bike and run there is transition two.

I’ve said this in the past. We train in all three sports and get very proficient at all three but spend very little time practicing the transitions. Just like in life. We get really good at doing different stages of our lives, but it’s the transitions we sometimes aren’t as prepared for.

In this last race, even though I did well in the race. I struggled through the transitions and other parts of the race.

Swimming is my best of the three sports and since we got to wear wetsuits I was going to be able to swim even faster, but I failed to remember to cinch up my wetsuit enough to give me enough room in my shoulders to make my swim feel effortless. Instead, I spent the whole swim fighting my wetsuit. I swam slower as a result and was completely worn out as I exited the water into the first transition.

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go. Not only did I not go into the transition well, I was tired coming out of the transition as I left out on my bike.

The bike portion of the race was fine and when I came into the transition area. The bike next to where I’m supposed rack my bike had fallen on my stuff, which meant I had to pick up that guys bike and re-rack it as well as rack my bike. This was costing me time. I had another little hiccup in transition before I got into the run.

In the end, I just shook my head. Sometimes I’m great at transitions and sometimes I’m not.

I feel like my life rolls like this too. I seem like I’m on a good course to transition well from one part of life into another only to figure out I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was.

Being prepared really can make or break the next stage of either a race or life in general. Don’t you think?

I know it’s been this way for me at times. I always want to perform at my best but for whatever reason, sometimes I struggle through it and don’t get settled in the next stage as soon as I could have.

I’m thankful for little reminders like this. It helps me to evaluate what I did wrong in the race and try to correct it in my training and in the next race. It also helps me to keep a focus on what’s going on in my life so that I can stay on top of what I need to be doing.

How have you gotten through transitions well? In a race or in life? Have there been struggles along the way you didn’t expect?

The New American Airlines And Their Merger With US Airways

Most of you who keep up with me on twitter know at least two things are certain about me.

I love traveling and I love flying American Airlines.

Something you won’t pick up from me very often at all is my dislike for other airlines or even bad customer experience from products I use. I think the days of complaining on twitter are not as productive as they once were (there are some exceptions to this) and it does make the complainer look like… a complainer.

New_American_Airlines

Before I go any further I need to say this. No matter who you like to fly… ALL AIRLINES HAVE THEIR SHARE OF PROBLEMS and American certainly has their fair share of them. So there is really no perfect airline, but there are airlines who minimize the negatives well and handle customer service well. @AmericanAir has mastered handling customer service through social media better than any I have seen. Bravo!

Now… all that to say, the thought of my favorite airline merging with my least favorite airline scared the mess out of me. But now my view has completely changed for the positive.

It all started when American Airlines rolled out their new branding and their new planes equipped with updated cabins.

Over the past twelve years I’ve racked up almost 2.5 million flown miles with American with a portion of that internationally. One major area they have been way behind in is their cabins in economy, business and first class for international travel where not what they could be. Don’t get me wrong, flying business class to Europe or Asia is pretty amazing, but still behind the competition.

This is in the process of all being updated. I’ve seen the new look of the cabins and I’m impressed. They have finally stepped up to the international plate and firmly made their place at the table. Domestically, this means upgrades as well which is always a good thing.

I’m also impressed with the new look of the American Airlines brand. The new livery on the planes look awesome and the logo is slick. It feels very contemporary and competitive.

So here’s the part I was really concerned with – The merger with US Airways.

The few times I’ve flown US Airways, the experience was less than impressive. From the checking in process all the way through the flight I never felt like this airline was really trying to win friends and influence travelers. However, I’ve always made it to my destination.

The truth is I’ve never been a fan. Ever. So when I heard they are going to merge… I got a little shaky. “What’s going to happen to my American Airlines!!!”

In the past couple of weeks I found out that US Airways has been operating in a profit. WHAT??? Yep… it’s true. That right there told me that no matter what I don’t like about them, they are doing something right.

Then as recently as yesterday when the merger came through, all the reports I heard and read had these things to say. The labor unions at American are extremely happy with the merger which hopefully means no more sabotaged delays by pilots, mechanics and flight attendants for us! YEAH!

Also this new company merger will retain all the brand of the New American Airlines and the Advantage frequent flyer program stay the same. My guess is the US Airways frequent flyer program will get merged into Americans frequent flyer program. Home office will still be in Dallas and here is the great part for employees of both companies. Because there is minimal overlap of routes, there aren’t expected to be any major layoff’s. At least that is what’s being reported in the news so far.

So, it sounds like a win/win for everyone. Us as travelers and them as a company trying to stay alive and in the game giving us all a big and better travel experience.

I have to say the way this all rolled out in the recent weeks did nothing short of increase my loyalty to American Airlines. Rolling out impressive new branding followed by a very promising merger exceeded every expectation I had for this situation.