As I was cleaning out my nightstand drawer this week I found old journals. I immediately went from cleaning to reading.
It’s funny to me sometimes how life can change so much but also at the same time not change at all.
One entry seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear (again). I wrote it (I believe) in September of 2012 after attending a CAVC (a California Automatic Vending Council) meeting where the motivational speaker was Dan O’Brien, a former decathlete and Olympic gold medalist.
So here are the words from me then that I needed to hear now.
Journal Entry September 2012
During Dan O’Brien’s message to CAVC/AAMC this afternoon he shared a story about the moment that he sees as the turning point of his athletic career.
He went to an event with his peers where he would meet men he held in high esteem, athletes who had already achieved their goals.
During the event, picked out of the crowd by one of these men, he was asked to stand in front of the room and share what his goal in life was.
O’Brien, put on the spot, thought about the question for a moment and then said “well, I want to be a great athlete.”
The man replied “Well then, you might as well quit. You are already a great athlete; you hold records, you’ve won championships. So what do you want?”
O’Brien described this as his ah-ha moment. The moment where the clouds parted, the sun shown down and the angels sang. He didn’t just want to be a great athlete; he wanted to be the world’s greatest athlete.
O’Brien shared many entertaining and inspirational stories today in which life lessons could be gleaned. Here are the take away points from my notes:
To be successful you need to plan to win and to lose
Being an Olympian (like life) is really a competition against yourself (how can I outdo my last race, my last hurdle, my last success?)
In life give yourself 5 seconds to celebrate a success or mourn a failure. 5 seconds and then refocus. This will help your path stay steady and feel like less of a roller coaster ride.
You either need to win or accept losing (although similar to the first point, I think these are different in that the first is an action plan and the last is more of a mindset
One final story he shared, which was inspirational but does not fit neatly in a bullet point format was retelling a conversation he had with his coach right after his closest competitor at the 1996 Olympics threw the javelin 219ft (a distance further than O’Brien had ever thrown before).
The conversation went something like this:
Coach: “Are you nervous?”
O’Brien: “No, if he can do it I can too.”
When it was all said and done O’Brien’s best throw was 219.6ft.
In life it’s easy to get side tracked, or to lose the forest in the trees. These meetings are always a little overwhelming to me. J&J Vending is growing, there have been lots of positive changes in the last few years and although I can see progress I get impatient.
I’m still the newbie on the CAVC board and have lots of questions but I know what I want.
I want to be the one that people come to when they have questions; I want my family’s business to be a model for the industry.
I used to get discouraged when I heard other company’s success stories. I used their success to highlight my shortcomings. However, moving forward I’ll look at things differently, because if they can do it, I can too.
It’s easy to get distracted. To see someone else’s social media reel and think “ugh I should be more like that” or to see another company’s website and think “ugh I wish I had done that.”
I wrote the entry above almost 6 years ago but I still feel those pangs of jealousy, I still feel the desire to compare.
This month a new snack provider has popped up in the Bay and they are crushing it with their marketing campaign. I know I should theoretically be excited for them (their success is our success, in the same way Starbucks made it okay for other coffee shops to charge $5 for a cup of coffee) but I’m not.
I see their marketing emails, I troll their website and I’m annoyed. Annoyed because I know we offer a better service, annoyed because we have more experience and annoyed because I haven’t already marketed the business in a way that potential customers would know that.
I spent the better part of yesterday in a perpetual state of annoyance, bitter at this company but today is a new day. I’ve had far more than 5 seconds to get over it and since I’m not ready to accept losing than I’m going to work at being a better version of myself.
I still have the same dream of being the best, not the biggest vendor in the Bay and if I need to do a little re-branding to get us there then so be it.
So today my encouragement to you is this: whether in life or in business, or both, figure out what you want and then get inspired. Because in the words of O’Brien, “if you have inspiration, you are a powerful force.”
I chose the picture above for my post because it was my attempt at an artsy food photo (don't worry for the re-branding I'll hire an actual photographer). That said these are some of the items we are bringing in for our pantry and micro market customers this August/September:
Sconza Chocolate - Lemoncello & Chocoloate COCONUT Cashews
Sweet Christine's Gluten Free Pastries - Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Brownie
AppleWays - Apple & Strawberry Oatmeal Bars, Blueberry Lemon Crispy Bites
Albanese Gummi Bear Cubs - Flavors included in on pack include: Cherry, Strawberry, Mango, Pineapple, Lemon, Orange, Green Apple, Watermelon, Pink Grapefruit, Lime, Blue Raspberry, Grape