Monthly Archives

December 2015

Dam Roadblocks

By | Be Reasonable | No Comments

“Swim, said the Mommy fishy, swim if you can”…….

I loved to run and race. It had become a mental, physical and social outlet for me.

After a car accident, I was injured and worked hard at my recovery every single day. There was no question in my mind – I would not let my injury take away running.

Wrong. I ended up with no choice. A combination of nerve damage, and RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Disorder) shut down my ability to run. It was a Thursday afternoon when my doctor gave me that news. I was devastated. I sat in my car and called around trying to make appointment to see a psychologist. No joke. I was not handling the news well.

Fast forward to Saturday morning – less than 48 hours later I found myself at Block Bikes in my hometown. I had to pivot. I had to MAKE a decision to ACCEPT and then move on. So I can’t run? Fine. And that is how I became a road biker. Hundreds of miles later, I have my sights set on a Century Race (100 miles and 5000+ feet in climbing elevation) in April of 2016.

Roadblocks can be stopping points, or pivot points. It’s up to you.

I can either be “someone who used to run” or “a road biker.” I choose to be a road biker.

…”and they swam, and they swam right over that dam”

JR.Signature.transparent

My Friends Are Cooler Than Your Friends

By | Motivate Others | No Comments

Guilty by association got me in a lot of trouble during my teen years. These days, I am lucky enough to be friends with some pretty freaking amazing peeps. On a regular basis, I get to work out, train and race with some Elite athletes.

None of them seem to mind that I am an imposter – they treat me as if I was one of them, push me out of my comfort zone and help me achieve physical feats I would deem unlikely, if not impossible, on a regular basis. They have taught me that pushing your physical limits has just as much to do with your mental prowess as your physical abilities.

This is my friend Ashley Seeger. She is a crazy cat. She is an Elite Spartan competitor with numerous podium finishes, a 5th place finisher in the World’s Toughest Mudder, has run 50+ miles of obstacles in a 24 hour period and does all kinds of other super insane things. Check her out – running to my house in a full wetsuit, jumping in my pool and then running back home as part of her WTM training.

Here’s the deal. You need cool people around you. You need people who inspire you to be a better you at whatever it is you are doing. If you can’t name at least a handful of people you know personally, and admire for accomplishments that seem out of your reach, you need to start hanging with some new peeps.

In order to be inspiring, you need to be inspired.

Seeing Double – Endurance Racing and Entrepreneurship

By | Have Fun | No Comments

 

I recently completed my first 50 (actually 53) road bike race. It was POURING rain and super cold. After 5 hours of biking in the rain, it’s like there is water in your soul and veins. No joke. How is this like launching a start up? The voices in my head over the course of the race that day reminded me of the same voices in my head in a typical day early in the launch of SoapBox…

Voices in my head

7:00 AM

Start-up: Today is going to be so amazing.

Race: Today is going to be so amazing.

7:30 AM

Start-up voice: Why did I EVER agree to do this?

Race voice: Why did I EVER agree to do this?

8:00 AM

SV: I can totally do this

RV: I can totally do this

8:01 AM

SV: There is no way I can pull this off

RV: There is no way I can pull this off

9:00 AM

SV: I’m a total BadAss

RV: I’m a total BadAss

9:15 AM

SV: You must be f*cking kidding me.

RV: You must be f*cking kidding me.

9:16 AM

SV: You must be f*cking kidding me.

RV: You must be f*cking kidding me.

9:17 AM

SV: You must be f*cking kidding me.

RV: You must be f*cking kidding me.

9:30 AM

SV: Another obstacle?

RV: Another hill?

9:40 AM

SV: I feel invincible

RV: I feel invincible

10:00 AM

SV: I am going the puke

RV: I am going to puke

 

10:30

SV: OMG. I have to pee.

RV: OMG I have to pee.

 

11:00 AM

SV: I haven’t even been able to pee.

RV: I haven’t even been able to pee.

 

11:30 AM

SV: I am freezing

RV: I am freezing

11:35: I am so hot (seriously what is the deal with office thermostats?)

11:35: I am so hot.

11:45 AM

SV: I am NEVER doing this again.

RV: I am NEVER doing this again.

NOON

SV: Let’s bring another new product to market.

RV: When is the next race?

The Birth of the Telltale Ten

By | Create Value | No Comments

 

I LOVE the idea of building companies from scratch and I LOVE people. The company isn’t just products and services – it’s the people.

I am not a believer in drawing the line between our personal and professional lives. I’ve lived that way before and I don’t believe you can do that and be undeniably authentic. I am super excited to share an every day journey of living my principles and surrounding myself with those who do the same.

My path to COO at Soapbox Sample was unexpected, as most happenings in life tend to be. I had retired from the Market Research industry, opened my own business and was NOT interested in exploring new opportunities. Yet…

  • Okay, I’ll have a conversation.
  • Well, that was an interesting conversation.
  • These people seem REALLY cool and SUPER smart.
  • But who in their right mind wants to launch an online panel company in 2012???
  • MAYBE one more conversation.
  • Wow, this is really tempting.
  • We might actually be a good fit.
  • Oh… what about my business Song and Snack and Tea Parties with kids?*

 

They made me an offer, which I delayed responding to while considering my options. Could I do both companies?

  • They noticed I haven’t replied.
  • Phone call from a stakeholder.
  • Sure, I’ll have another conversation – who wouldn’t?
  • Wait… did they just make an offer that I accepted? And we are all super stoked?
  • Yup! I can’t wait to launch a startup!

 

Interestingly enough, “startup” means nothing is started-up yet. Like nothing. No one even works here. Except me… which is a start. Staring at walls trying to think, think, think was not proving productive. Nothing was going to magically appear. What I had was the necessities.

  • Check!
  • Check!
  • Check!
  • Check!

I mainly needed a plan. All good businesses start with a plan, right??? Tasks, timelines, all those good things. I had nothing. Nothing tangible anyways.

I realized the first step was really to focus on what type of company I wanted to build. That’s what I was most excited about anyways. And this is how the Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles for Soapbox was born. I am still the most jazzed about our TellTale 10, which is a simple list of ten things that every member of SoapBox must believe in and live by. You can be smart, skilled and experienced, but if you don’t have, and are not willing, able and genuinely pumped about working for a company that embodies these ten things, then I am sorry (not really sorry), you can’t play with us.

At the risk of offending people, I was not the most excited about Market Research. I wasn’t and I’m still not. Look – I like it okay, it’s kind of cool and more importantly I’m good at it. I’ve been working in this business for 20 years, so yeah, I know a few things. I can solve a few problems here and there.

But that’s not why I accepted this role. I accepted it because I LOVE the idea of building companies from scratch and I LOVE people. The company isn’t just products and services – it’s the people.

As I’m sure you can tell by now, this has absolutely nothing to do with 10 Little Monkeys. I just figured you wouldn’t read a post titled TellTale 10 since you don’t know what that is. Some may call it trickery. It really falls under “Taking Risks.”

* The business, For the Day, was a Children’s Birthday Party and Activity Center. The fact that I had one child apparently was not a clear hint that perhaps it was not the calling which would lead me to ultimate happiness.

Be Emotional

By | Be Genuine | No Comments
 I often hear things like “there is no room for emotions in business.”  Uhhh really? I think not. Emotions are human. We are humans (at least most of us). Emotions are a reflection of passion. Passion drives inspiration. Inspiration drives motivation. Motivation drives success.

I’m not saying we should all walk around like emotional basket cases. While that could provide some good entertainment and basis for gossip, it’s a) not practical and b) could cause the authorities, or worse, HR, to get involved.

 So the next time you feel like crying at work, I dare you to do it.

 I’m curious. Has anyone else (notice the hidden admission here) ever cried at work?