January 25th, 2011 | Posted by john in General - (5 Comments)

Less than two weeks ago, many of you saw the e-mail that the 3-Day for the Cure sent out.  It was titled “Could You be the National Spokesperson for the 3-Day for the Cure?”.  I had to stop for a moment when I read the title for that e-mail.  I had only seen it once before and it was in 2007 when I was walking in my first 3-Day for the Cure.  At the time, they were looking for the national spokesperson that ended up being Jenne Fromme.

This e-mail meant a couple of things:

First, Jenne Fromme who had, for all intents and purposes, helped focus our pinkness for the past four years was no longer going to be up there on stage year after year.  As she has been the only national spokesperson for this event that I have known, I was a little bit sad about this.  I know that she has her reasons for stepping down, I’m sure it will be nice for her to get back to her regular job.  I sincerely hope that she has much success in the years to come, we’ll miss her at the 3-Day, but we will continue on.

The second thing that the e-mail meant was that this time I could actually apply for the job.  As I said, the first time that I saw the call go out for the national spokesperson was my first year walking.  There was no way that I was going to apply when I hadn’t even done the walk yet.  This time I had a number of years doing this.  I love the 3-Day community and I strongly believe in what we are all fighting for.  I felt that while I may not have the best experience in motivational speaking my passion for the cause might just help me to get through.

So I clicked through the link with instructions on how to apply and found that there were a few requirements that they wanted fulfilled.  One of which was an audition video and the other was an application.  The application would not be accepted without a video.  In the video, the 3-Day for the Cure people wanted you to read through a script which was basically an excerpt from the opening and closing ceremonies.  It was a lot to do and the schedule was tight, there were only 12 short days to get everything turned in.  To add to that, I was traveling almost every single one of those 12 days.  Add to all of that the fact that the job would require a significant part of my time for half of the year.  I would either have to find a new job that didn’t mind me being gone for that long or make some significant changes with my current job or somehow make enough money as the national spokesperson to not have to have another job (which I didn’t believe was possible).

Despite all these odds, I was still going to go for it.  I figured that I could read through the script and do some memorization while I was travelling and then do the recording the day before it was due and turn it all in on the day it was due just in time.  Of course, plans don’t always work out like we hope they will.

I got home on the day that the announcement was made and I told my wife that Jenne had stepped down as the spokesperson to which she replied, “Oh, you should apply for that job!”

Well, one hurdle down, or so I thought.  I replied that I was going to but that there would be a lot of stuff to be worked out if I happened to get it because of the time commitment required.  She hadn’t at first realized that this involved going to each of the 3-Day events.  When she realized that she said, “there’s no way you’ll be able to do that.”  I just told her that if it got that far then I would figure out what to do.  I pressed onward.

Travel did not provide as many opportunities to review as I thought it would.  I drove to Dallas, did work, back to Austin for a day and a half which I spent enjoying my family.  Drove back to Dallas, then flew to Orlando.  Each time I thought I would have the opportunity either ended up being nothing or significantly less time for me to review the script.  I flew back to Dallas on the 21st and then had to drive to Austin.  I got in at 1:30 in the morning on the 22nd and went to sleep.  And when I woke up I was still tired.  The focus that I had counted on having to be able to complete the video the day before the deadline was missing.  There was no way I was going to get this done.  By this time, I was pretty bummed.  Aside from the obstacles that seemed like the hardest, I had not even managed to get past the obstacle that I thought would be the easiest:  getting a video of me recorded.

While I was in Orlando a package had come for me from the 3-Day.  I had been really curious about what it was, Kristen had offered to open it for me and send a picture, but I opted to wait until I got home and see it for myself.  I posted about it on Twitter and several of the 3-Day Tweeps really wanted me to have my wife go ahead and open it so that they could see what it was.  I waited and on Saturday I was really glad that I did.  I opened it once I was a little more coherent and here’s what I found:

It’s a framed “flag” with information about when I was top fund raiser last year.  When I opened it I stopped worrying about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to complete the application.  This was sort of like my sign that I needed to keep pushing to raise more funds so that we can kick breast cancer’s butt.  Yeah, it would be pretty cool to be the spokesperson for the 3-Day for the Cure.  I would LOVE to be able to do it, but this isn’t my year.  There were too many obstacles in my way and I wasn’t really willing to concede, not defeat, to reality.  Maybe someday in the future it will be my time, but I’m hoping that time never comes.  Not because I don’t want the job, but because I hope that we find a cure and we won’t need a national spokesperson for the 3-Day for the Cure before that time gets here.


Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive

January 3rd, 2011 | Posted by john in General - (1 Comments)

I was in DisneyWorld a few weeks ago.  I realize that since I focus on the 3-Day for the Cure here this may not sound like it fits with what I usually post, but bear with me.  As in any amusement park, there were lines and lots of them.  The week right before Christmas is a busy one for Disney and this year was no exception.  We went for a ride on one of the safari rides in the Animal Kingdom and the people that sat behind us were not happy.  Every time I heard them they were complaining about something: that we had to stop for an ostrich, that the bus they rode to the park was crappy, that their kids smelled and much more.  It got me to thinking, I know that it’s a marketing thing but here we are in what is called the happiest place on earth, couldn’t we be a little more positive?

No, I’m not going all rose colored glasses on you.  There were a couple of times on the trip that I got tired and tired of dealing with things and snapped at people when I probably shouldn’t have.  I think I was pretty good about realizing when that happened and making amends to the person I had snapped at.  We were at this place that we had spent a decent amount of money to get to and a decent amount of time planning for and I just didn’t see the point of being pissed off the whole time we were there.  Yes, there were things I would have changed if it was in my power, but at that point it wasn’t so there was no need for me to dwell on it.  Staying negative about those things I couldn’t change would just have made my trip less enjoyable not only for me, but my family as well.

This is the part where I turn it around and apply what I’m talking about to the 3-Day, are you ready?  Good.

All of what has been said above about a trip to Disney can be easily said about the 3-Day as well.  I’m sure that if you think about it hard enough you can find several examples on your own, but here’s some of my own that I think can probably be applied to your 3-Day experience:


I distinctly remember the first year that I participated in the 3-Day I was pleasantly surprised in the quality of the food.  A lot of people are going to be taken aback at that statement.  Let me clear it up.  When you’re feeding 2,000 or more people on a fairly tight budget (we’re doing this for charity, not a four star meal) in the middle of a field, there are definitely some questionable things that you could do for the food.  Frankly, I think that for serving that many people in that amount of time in that setting with the goal of raising money for charity the food was great.  That’s a lot of qualifiers I know.

That first year, I was amazed at the number of people I heard grumbling about the food.  As I said in the first paragraph, it wasn’t superb food, but it was definitely a step or two above what I had expected for an “institutional dining” event.  So I was surprised that these people were harping on the food so much.

Skip forward a few years and I unwittingly joined the band.  I mainly joined because of the big C word.  Not cancer, at least not this time.  Change was it.  When they changed the food options in Boston last year I complained a lot more than necessary.  I realize that if you don’t like something sometimes you just need to say something.  You don’t need to say it over and over again.  After a little while, I realized what I was doing and stopped.  When I walked Dallas later in the year I stopped complaining and the food tasted better.  It’s funny how that happened.  I was a little more positive and because of that (at least that’s what I think) the food tasted better.

Fund Raising

Of all the things that you can be negative about, fund raising is probably the easiest to slip into those thoughts.  Let’s face it, $2300 can seem like a lot of money especially if you don’t start early enough.  Here’s some stuff that I have heard (and some that I have maybe said) about the fund raising:

  • It’s just too much money.  I don’t know how they expect us to raise all of this!
  • I don’t have enough time to raise that much money.
  • I don’t feel comfortable asking people to donate $2300!
  • Why do they make us raise so much money?

I don’t have any hard facts, but I would be willing to place a bet that the number one reason that people decide not to sign up for the 3-Day for the Cure is fund raising.  Most people have walked at least a couple of miles in their life.  It’s not hard to go from there to saying that you’ll be able to walk 60.  There are probably a decent amount of people, myself included, who have never done ANY fund raising before signing up for the 3-Day.  I’m not saying that they themselves haven’t donated to something, but donating and asking people for donations are two entirely different things.  It’s also easy to stay negative on the money side because it is the thing that is present the WHOLE time before the walk.  You need to keep fund raising and fund raising and fund raising in order to meet your minimum.  But staying negative about raising the money makes it that much harder to actually raise the money.

So try not to get negative on the fund raising.  That’s the real reason that we’re walking in the 3-Day.  It’s not to prove to the world that we can walk 60 miles.  It’s not to lose weight.  It’s not so that we can hang out with these awesome people for three days and camp in pink tents.  All that stuff is bonus stuff.  We’re all there so that we can kick breast cancer’s butt.  So let’s not complain about the fund raising, let’s embrace it!  I know it’s a lot of money, but you just have to start early and keep plugging away at it until you’ve exceeded that little minimum number.


When you signed up the previous year, you were probably on fantastic terms with your teammates.  I hope that you still will be when your event is up, but I have seen a fair number of teams that seem to have a lot of infighting and end up completely staying away from each other during the walk if they end up doing the walk at all.  It could be any reason:  maybe there was some disagreement about how team fund raising should be distributed.  Maybe someone is mad about how much someone else is training.  Maybe you don’t like how the team captain is managing the team.

Whatever the reason is, I have to plead with you to let it drop.  I know that once the shiny happiness of signing up for the 3-Day has faded that it’s easier to find fault in your teammates, but let’s be honest.  Your negativity in this case can ruin the 3-Day experience for more than just you.  Maybe if it’s you that has the problem with the team, you should consider dropping out of the team to get some perspective.  Notice, I didn’t say drop out of the 3-Day.  We still have a cause to do.  But if people are just annoying you so much, or you them, then maybe it’s time to go your separate ways so that when it comes time to walk in the 3-Day you can be friends instead of bitter enemies.  Definitely try to work things out with your team first.  But if it is apparent that you can’t maintain the positive energy between everyone, that might be the signal to go ahead and go your separate ways for now.  That time away from each other may be just what you need to be able to walk into opening and closing ceremonies together.

Remember, the 3-Day isn’t about eating at 4-star restaurants.  It’s not about complaining to everyone you see about how much money you have to raise.  It’s definitely not about seeing who can win the power struggle in your team.  The 3-Day is about winning the fight against breast cancer.  There’s a lot of good stuff that comes along with fighting that fight, but you have to get your head out of the negative cloud so that you can enjoy it.