Recently I was involved in an incredible project. A friend thought it would be a good idea to ride from Cape Reinga to Bluff (for all you non NZ readers - that's the top of our country to the bottom) 2100km odd - in a time that beat the current record of 4 days 17 hours and 40 minutes (held by a legend in NZ cycling - Colin Anderson.) I know, its bonkers - and he not only wanted to break the record he wanted to raise money for kids- to give them the opportunities he had as a child.
To say it was an amazing week does not even wrap around the sides of it. It was emotional, incredible uplifting and inspirational. And actually that doesn't even touch the sides, I am having trouble distilling into words what happened and to capture the essence of this week - however one of the most surprising things for me was the level of engagement, not because I don't think Craig or the event deserved it - they did, it was the short time that it took for the momentum to build (we only had 4 days lets face it!) and avalanche us.
What was my role in this epic adventure? I had the easy part - I sat on a seat, a comfy one - not a triangle bit of rock leather that Craig sat on for 4 days - I was at home, with my head in the screen posting about the ride on Facebook, putting up the stuff the amazing support crew sent me, and answering the many messages and comments as people came along for the ride with him and his team. The photos and stories made me laugh and cry all day. There was stuff that didn't make Facebook - you have to remember the crew were sleep derived too. I want to take nothing away from what this was, a monumental undertaking and a gigantean ride, Craig's ride was superstar stuff, the man has some seriously special athletic ability, the support crew were superheroes too, their commitment and energy and selfless-ness was humbling- oh and they were really funny. The level of engagement from followers still stops my breath. I could reel off stats but they are pretty boring, I will tell you a story instead.
On the fourth day (just to clarify this is not a bible story) I was lucky enough to be taken to Bluff by the very generous Mark Davis from Harcourts Marlborough (he deserves this shout out) to be at the finish when Craig and the crew crossed the line. (yes I know how lucky was I)
Lots of people were asking through social media why the ride wasn't making TV. We tried - without having direct contacts in TV land everything we sent fell on deaf ears, so I sent a post out saying as much, and asking for help - if anyone knew anyone could they help or if they could just bombard TV land with requests. I got on the plane. 2 hours (yes you can fly for 2 hours in this country and still be in NZ) later I turned on my phone and watched it almost have a conniption in front of me. TV land had been bombarded and had reacted.
For me that was one of the most poignant parts of the whole week, what Craig and his team did on that road was simply incredible and an achievement only 4 others before him have conquered - but this reaction after 4 days of Social Media, well was just amazing, we asked and they responded in force, something I will be forever grateful, thankful and quite frankly in awe of.
I've tried to break it down since -why, how and what actually happened. Yes it was an incredible story, it was relatable, it certainly was inspirational, it was very real, aspirational, yep it was gutsy, courageous, mental (the good kind) and a completely bonkers kind of event that just kind of grabbed people so much that they rallied support in a 2 hour time frame - I can't pin it to one word, and I am still grappling with it to understand it. But what I know is - it happened and the backdraft of it was huge.
What if you could have the kind of response in your community, in your business - how would it affect/effect you? How would that feel and how would it make a difference?
Wouldn't it be amazing to feel that supported? - a tribe of people that BELIEVE in what you doing, that will do anything to support your cause - its rhetorical - of course it would - but how do you get it?
It comes down to this - do something you believe in with your whole being. Don't let others stand in your way, or let them talk smack to you to dissuade you. If you believe in it whole bodily - and take the steps to make it happen - the rest will follow. Doing things for the right reasons, not for ego, but ones that align with your values, this touches people. Simple aye? - actually no, it takes guts and sweat, and grit and work, sometimes tears, determination but most of all belief. And then courage to take that first step and more courage to keep on going - and then one day you ask, or look behind you....