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Going Further, Together


By Jason Buggy, Lucidea senior account executive


“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go together.” I’m pretty sure the saying is an old African proverb. I’ve been thinking a lot about this proverb lately. It’s thrown around so much now that I’ve grown tired of the saying, but, the reality is, it’s true. It’s perfect from beginning to end -- simple, elegant and the difference between “almost” and “most certainly.” 

[Side note: If I know our customer base like I think I do, within the day I won’t be pretty sure about the origin, I’ll be 100% sure. An email will arrive from one of the many brilliant librarians we serve, containing attached references to articles, famous artists and dignitaries that have used the saying, and information about the tribe from which the saying originated. Our customers are the epitome of that proverb. If you have the good fortune to work for an organization that employs an information ninja, you will never have to go it alone when it comes to a project, big or small.]

Where am I going with all this? Well, the marketing folks have come a knockin’ on my door asking for an inspired and insightful blog entry. And I’m writing one because, you see, they make my job easier by providing collateral, case studies and support at trade shows. Quid pro quo!  Here is the challenge though: writing blog posts looks easy…looks, not is. I enjoy it when I’m done, but starting out is a CHORE (much like exercise I suppose). Their blog idea brainstorming session suddenly results in, “hey, why don’t you write a blog about your Tough Mudder experience?” Not your typical information management blog topic and more personal than what you’d normally see on the Inmagic blog, so hang in there with me. Here we go…

A little back story. I turned 40 last September and it scared the daylights out of me. Some of the long-term customers know that I’m married and that my wife and I have a little girl and a little boy, ages four and five. I am also, well -- I was -- very much overweight.  Like, north-of-295-lbs. overweight! If you have children, then you know quite well that once they hit the age of four, they become more agile and coordinated and may join sports teams. I had the ability to chase my kids for a good six seconds before I had to sit down and take a break. And yet, I suddenly found myself coaching the U6 (under six) soccer team. Let the record show, nobody wants to perform CPR on a heaving, huffing, drenched-in-sweat soccer coach/Dad. Fortunately, it never came to that. But, something needed to be done if I wanted to:

A) Have the ability to enjoy physical activities with my kids,
B) Become a better role model for those physical activities, and
C) Too gloomy to put in a work blog…but yes, I thought a lot about longevity, too.

I’ve always been the Monday guy: “I’ll start my diet Monday!” or “I’ll start hitting the gym this Monday!” But I knew I needed to do something drastic if I was really going to get healthy. I needed to sign my name on the dotted line and commit to something, and it had to be more than joining the gym. Again.

So, I did something drastic. In hindsight, crazy might be a more apt description, but it definitely provided an opportunity for me to be the Dad I wanted to be with my family and may have added a few years to the back nine. I signed up for the June 1, 2013 Tough Mudder. For those who don’t know what a Tough Mudder is, I’ll spare you the full details but it involves jumping into a 25-yard dumpster filled with 60 tons of ice and water, running/jogging/walking/crawling up and down 11+ miles of Gunstock Mountain and sprinting through 10,000 volts of electric wires…and 20+ other obstacles. (To learn more, this is a good video to watch.)

Now, signing up was one thing, but training was quite another. Also, who cares if I blow off running or “hitting the gym” for a day or two…unless….unless…I’m part of a group. Yes, I recruited poor unsuspecting friends to join me in the madness, which necessitated signing A DEATH WAIVER. (…Catastrophic injuries are rare; however, we feel that our participants should be aware of the possibility. These injuries can include permanent disabilities, spinal injuries and paralysis, stroke, heart attack, and even death.) Needless to say, we named our team “OVER THE HILL.”

The Tough Mudder taught me a little something about teamwork. It starts out as an obligation and slowly, over time, it becomes dedication. Truth be told, it has been nothing short of a pleasure to be involved in something bigger than just me.

At this point, you might be asking, how does this possibly tie into Lucidea? 

Well, there were components of my training for Tough Mudder that mimicked the new Lucidea work environment (well, kind of). What was known and comfortable as life at Inmagic was changing into the integrated, multi-product Lucidea environment. As much as that’s a good thing, it was different and uncomfortable, but had to be done…I knew I’d get used to it after a while and forget that I had ever lived life a different way.

The different training routines that prepared us for each obstacle started to become a group effort. Reality hit us hard as it became clear that, unless you are an elite athlete, you aren’t getting over that 12-foot wall by yourself (much less Mount Everest). After each training session, we all agreed that we were more demanding of ourselves together than we would have ever been on our own.

The same could be said about Inmagic before combining forces with our fellow brands as Lucidea. We were successful, but we were never going to be able to evolve and grow like we envisioned on our own. In the short term, it’s not easy going from more than 25 years as Inmagic to being part of something bigger. It’s sort of like jumping in a lake in New England in late February: very shocking but necessary to prepare for the real deal “Arctic Enema.” Imagine meeting for the first time the very people you had competed against for the past 25 years and now being on the same team?  It was a lot like an ice bath, minus the stinging. At our first trade show together (obligation), I was very nervous to meet everyone. Fast forward to SLA 2013 and I couldn’t wait to get together with the team in person. What was once an obligation had morphed into a pleasure. Today, I can’t imagine where we would be without the support of the Lucidea family.

Trying something new, whether training for a Tough Mudder or working with a new group of companies, forces you to get out of your comfort zone, until “outside your comfort zone” is your comfort zone!

I’ll leave you with this: It’s Sunday, 5:15 a.m., in the dead of the worst winter I can remember, and my teammates are waiting in a dark parking lot, outside a state reservation, all because I had convinced them it would be a good idea to run up and down a mountain for 12 miles while being tortured with death waiver obstacles. There is no blowing off training now. It is my obligation to be there. After a few months, it quickly transforms from obligation, to dedication, to joy. You go because you want to participate with the group, not because you have to participate. The end result is going a lot farther than you could ever have gone on your own. The same can be said for the old Inmagic and the new Lucidea: we were all really good companies on our own, but I foresee greatness in the coming years together.

It’s funny how the old proverbs are still relevant today. We’ve got our eyes set on a marathon and yes, members of OVER THE HILL will be training for that event as a team.

SOME STATS:
  • Weight loss since signing up for Tough Mudder in November 2012: 53 lbs.
  • Straight run distance in October 2012: less than a quarter mile.
  • July 2013 average weekly miles run: 20

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