Why Running is Life

1: Yesterday we launched a brand new offering called Running Is Life

We’ve been working on it for seven months.  In my experience, doing something brand new is a bit of emotional roller coaster.  There are definitely highs, moments when it feels like we are destined for success.  Other times, it seems like nothing is working.

Overall, the word I would use to describe the process is humbling. 

Two days before the launch I woke up at 3 am.  My mind was racing.  I thought about a series of decisions we had made.  Wrong decisions, I decided.  

After tossing and turning for about an hour, I decided to get up and start the day.  I was in a dark mood.  Pushups and situps are first up on my morning routine.  I didn’t feel like doing them.  At all.  

I did them.  But I wasn’t happy about it.  

Next up is my gratitude journal.  This wasn’t a typical entry.  More like a stream of conscious rant.  Next, I worked on a Rise With Drew post.  My sour mood seemed to fade a bit.  Then, Carey got up.  We did our Bible study and I finally starting to feel like me again.

One of the many benefits of a morning routine it creates space to be intentional about the day ahead.  How do I want to show up?  Choosing vs. reacting.  

2: As the leader of our company and the point person for the Running Is Life initiative, I realize my attitude is contagious: If I’m down and in a dark mood, it influences others.  I decided to be to be upbeat and positive.  To lean into this day. 

I looked at our Kickstarter website where the product launch was getting ready to happen.  It looked better than I had convinced myself at 3 am.  I reached out to my colleagues on the team.  They were getting stuff done.  Crossing items off the list.  They were excited for the launch.  So was I.  

Over the past two-and-a-half years, we’ve benefited from the biggest innovation in our company’s history: the Oral History Project.  Since we collected our first story in June of 2019, we’ve now interviewed and captured the collegiate experience of more than 500,000 alumni.  Incredible.

Why has this innovation worked?

For starters, there is tremendous overlap between the Oral History Project and our classic directory business.  Same clients: universities, service organizations, and high schools.  Same contract signer.  Same alumni or membership we interact with every day.  Even the final product is similar: a print and/or digital publication and branded apparel.

Now, what’s inside the publication is completely different.  Our core business is all about data.  Biographical and contact information.  Where people live and work.  By contrast, the Oral History Project is all about people’s stories. 

Learning how to capture these stories, lay them out, and publish them are all new capabilities we’ve had to develop.

Our new initiative Running is Life benefits from our new story capture and publishing capabilities.  What’s different here is from whom we are collecting the stories.  Our educational and service organization clients send us a list of their alumni or membership.  We market to that list.  

With Running is Life, we are creating the list of people we will market to using social media and event marketing.  And, instead of selling on the phone, we’re experimenting with selling using digital marketing.  All new. 

Our goal with this initiative (and with our business generally) is to show up as learners, not knowers.  We are running experiments.  Seeing what happens.  Reflecting on the lessons learned.  Then, applying those lessons and running another experiment.  Watching what happens.  Reflecting on the lessons learned.  Rinse and repeat.  

The goal is to keep learning.  To keep getting better.  Getting better at getting better.

3. If you love running or know someone who is passionate about running, please check out our Running is Life Kickstarter Campaign.  We’re in the “soft launch” period so your order is especially important as we want to create some *action* on the site before starting our social media marketing next week.

We’d be honored to include your running story in the book — where it can live among hundreds of other powerful stories that show how and why “running is life.”
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Reflection:  Think back on an experience where I was creating something new.  How would I describe that experience?  What did I like about it?  What didn’t I like about it?  Do I want to do it again?  Should I do it again?

Action:  Journal about my answers to the questions above.

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