By Alan Gard, Golf Warrior and Devoted Dad
Around last Christmas time, I had the book EDGY Conversations: How Ordinary People Can Achieve Outrageous Success by Dan Waldschmidt, recommended to me by someone who had interacted with the author at a corporate event. The book was an entertaining and quick read and covers many of the better leadership lessons. I especially liked how Mr. Waldschmidt boils down his thesis to the acronym EDGY. As I prepare for my Hundred Hole Hike coming up on Monday, I’ve started reflecting on how my participation in the Hike holds up against those four adjectives.
E = Extreme
At least this one is easy. The Hike definitely fits under the category of Extreme…maybe too much so. Despite a lot of outreach by the team at LuMind RDS, we were unable to find anyone interested in joining me in doing a Hike for this cause. But it is the Extreme that makes it interesting. I think we would all be better if we pushed ourselves to our limits for our passions, and if it can help serve a cause at the same time then all the better.
D = Disciplined
My Hike experiences are not a product of an obvious discipline. If I was really disciplined, I’d have been working out regularly for the last several months and sharpening my golf game. Well, I haven’t been to the gym all year and haven’t played my own ball with own clubs in a single round of golf yet this year. Yeah, I’m disciplined! I hope that one of these years I can actually be disciplined in my prep for the Hike to see if that can help me up either the quantity or quality of my play. But in the context of the time I have, I am disciplined in that I sit on an exercise ball for the hours that I spend working at my desk at work. I pace my office frenetically in the many hours I spend on conference calls. And at home I am constantly chasing or lifting one (and frequently more than one) of my three children. So in retrospect I think I am quite disciplined at working all the exercise I can into my natural life rhythms without actually making an official gym visit. And the day of the Hike, I’m pretty disciplined at moving at a brisk pace and plodding along to the goal. I think the fact that I’ve successfully completed two Hikes to date speaks to some discipline in my approach.
G = Giving
This is really a tribute to my many generous donors who continue to support me year after year that my Hike does qualify as Giving. I’m playing golf for a day; yeah, right, that qualifies as Giving. What a sacrifice! But thanks to generous donors the organizations I did this for the last two years have gotten access to funds/donors they wouldn’t have otherwise. And this year there is a solid trajectory to making a difference for a third organization with my three-year fundraising total exceeding $30,000 counting current pledges. For someone who doesn’t have that broad of a network yet, I feel very good about that. Once again, thank you to everyone who has supported me!
Y = Human Factor (you’ll have to take that up with Dan Waldschmidt)
This is the one I struggle with the most. Has my Hike really created human connections? I’ve had several people that have generously donated each year. That must qualify, right? Every year there have been instances of people saying some very thoughtful words to me followed by then making generous donations. Those are definitely moments of human connection. But there is part of me that feels I’ve fallen down on this one. My donors are all people I know. If I was really living the Human Factor, wouldn’t I be connecting to people I don’t already know too? Shouldn’t I be able to get people excited about the cause too? I think my inability to generate donors just because it is a worth cause means that, at best, I have a development opportunity here. And those of us in corporate America know what that really means.
So as I’m walking on Monday, I will be thinking a lot about that Y and whether I’m only living EDG, which we all know is gibberish and doesn’t really have much meaning, and how I can work to earn that Y.
Since all my thoughts relate back to music sooner or later, as I think about that Y on Monday, I’ll be pondering some of the lyrics from a song by that great philosopher, Kermit the Frog, “Rainbow Connection:”
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
Someday, hopefully I will find that connection. But, no offense to Kermit, I hope I don’t see any rainbows on Monday.
Editor’s note: It’s not too late to join Alan in his 100 Hole Hike Challenge. The Hike can be completed at your local course, anytime in the summer or fall. Let’s help Alan fill out the Y-factor by showing your support. And… THANK YOU ALAN, for your Hike, support and inspirational words on the Plus15 blog. We wish you the best on your 100 Hole Hike!