What Drives Us: March 2014
March 30, 2014: In the hopes that this dreary winter is now behind us, maybe we should start to convince ourselves that it’s time to dust off that ever-elusive spring mentality. While certain measures are more aggressive than others (it is not tank top and fedora weather quite yet), a few thoughts are provoked while transitioning from one state of mind to another.
For better or worse, a change of seasons has the potential to bring a change in attitude, especially in New England where there is an incessant connection between the weather and our general optimism on life. With spring right around the corner and quite possibly already here, I am hoping the impact it has on our daily routines will be dramatic. Not to say that shifts in mood are entirely dictated by the weather or a few pockets of sunshine, but starting out fresh in a new mindset with a bounce in your step certainly impacts the things you are doing and the people you do it for. Spring has the ability to move us from the dirt path onto a newly paved landscape, and the direction we chose from here transcends into what we are trying to accomplish in the days ahead.
Measuring success is different for everyone, whether the focus is on the intrinsic or extrinsic motivators that drive us; the wheels churning inside can lead towards many different, yet satisfying outcomes. One thing I’ve noticed recently, even the slightest glimpse of warmer weather opens the doorway to more crowded running paths (especially along the East River in Manhattan), and a shift in thinking for me at least into what I want to be getting ready for in Q2 of 2014.
Although I still find value in wearing identifiable cause related gear and more recently a pair of John Stalwarts I want to move into what usually is the theme this time of year, identifiable actions. What I mean by that is those who incorporate their fitness goals to serve a dual purpose. The competitive world of becoming a non-profit partner with a marathon, road race, triathlon or spin-a-thon is an uber-intense environment. The bridge between these events and the participants that drive funds and awareness to the cause are critical to many organizations success. Going deeper than that, by participating, you are joining hundreds and thousands of people who have the same goal of helping others. Being given the chance to use sport as a means to allow your sweat equity to add value to the lives of people in need can be a very rewarding experience.
For those organizations privileged enough to forge these types of partnerships, this is a great opportunity to build an identity by using actions to represent the cause at hand. In the case of The Thomas E. Smith Foundation, it symbolizes a recurring theme in my mind, doing things for those who can’t (at the moment). This summer, we are anxious and excited to join the 42nd Annual Falmouth Road Race as a member of their numbers for non-profits program, with 10 running entries available. Although August is still a good distance away, in order to arrive at that destination most gracefully I feel that it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about it now, especially with this newfound sense of spring mentality. Like wearing a wristband, becoming involved in a specific cause is totally dependent upon what you believe in and whom you do it for. The many non-profits in charge with building these teams need to realize that the return on investment for their organization should extend beyond the dollar amount raised. Equally important is the sense of inclusion provided to the runners and the beneficiaries of their efforts so that the community behind the cause may continue to grow.
With all of this said, whether you run for a charity or for yourself, the thinking can be the same that through many facets of life, we have the ability to have an impact for other people. Fitness is a microcosm to the bigger picture. It’s measurable in the sense that you can see the difference from the starting block to the finish line, and that space in between can either be self-directed or team driven. Whichever the outlet, finding the path to go down now can pay dividends later on. Training represents the work you not only do for yourself, but for the potential benefactors at the other side of the line waiting to see your success. Relating this ideal back to the current transition of season and inspiration, Albert Camus could have said it best, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
This spring, our approach is using this mentality to draw parallels throughout all of our worthy endeavors. We are putting in the work now to reach a new level of success later on. We are excited for our new partnerships with John Stalwart and Livingston Harding, companies that embrace our cause as an opportunity to create shared value through their products and services to our mission. The Look-Up Line continues to gain support and commitments from rinks in 7 different states, and we hope to see that continue to grow each month ahead. Dance for Paralysis is serving to be a wonderful connection to a movement that puts our mission in front of a new audience, and what we will be able to do for others from that is very exciting. Bringing it full circle, our 5th Annual Golf Tournament and The Golf Club at Turner Hill in August will give us the chance to showcase these projects to the people we share them with, our strong supporters. Using the golf tournament as our annual summit helps us put words behind what we are doing, and bringing together the many different platforms that we’ve put out there since late last year.
With so much ahead and good things to come, why not hit the ground running today? Our future success is hinged upon what we do now, but we realize that we are not the only organization faced by this change of season. The plethora of options available to promote identifiable actions is vast, and each has a particular yield of return for the chosen cause and those advocating on its behalf. Whichever you chose, know that it makes a difference for someone, and the motivators driving you to be successful can often times turn into inspiration for others.