Put Down the Remote: Being Productive While Quarantined

We are in a unique time and life today seems a lot different than it did just a few short weeks or months ago. One of those changes is that the entire country – almost overnight – made a push for folks to work from home.

While I normally work from home throughout the week, also having my wife at home was a glimpse into what many are going through right now – trying to work from home for the first time. This can be a difficult transition and it is not made easier when people may also have to take care of kids or other factors that take up their time.

However, this ‘new normal’ will likely be here to stay throughout the rest of March, April, and likely May – at least. Since we all have to figure out how to make it work, I thought about what we can do to make the most of our time. There are alternatives to solely focusing on watching every video on the internet…

  • Education: There are a number of free resources for taking classes online – even more within the last week. This is a great opportunity to learn something new. Anyone want to go to Harvard?
  • Certifications: This could also be a way to look into something that will give you the edge. It could be a great opportunity to find the right certification for you.
  • Resume: Even if you are not currently looking for a job or think you will be in the near future, there is no downside to having an up-to-date resume. The same goes for making sure your LinkedIn profile is in top-notch shape.
  • Fitness: Take care of yourself! I will try not to get on a soapbox here, but nothing is stopping (most) anyone from taking a walk or run outside. Can’t get to the gym? You Are Your Own Gym is the way to go.
  • Spirituality: This will mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. However you view spirituality, take a moment to get centered, be thankful for what you have, and focus on what is most important.
  • Friends: We can all take the time to email, text, call, video call, FaceTime, group chat, online hangout, or whatever your flavor may be. This will be just as fulfilling to you as the person or people you connect with.

It is time to put down the remote and get some work done…

What are some ways you have tried to be productive during the quarantine?

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The Race is On: Creating the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey

Part II of my interview with Race178 President and Reno-Tahoe Odyssey Race Director, Eric Lerude.

RTO-logo-2015Starting any business will have its own unique set of challenges. There are many factors that need to be put in place in order to enhance the possibilities for success. One of the most difficult is when there is a requirement for a high volume of customers on day one. That is what Eric Lerude set out to do when he created the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey (RTO), a 178 mile relay race around Reno and Lake Tahoe.

Eric formed Race178 as the overarching business that would put on the RTO and other events. You can read about how the first race came to be by clicking over to part I of my interview. The RTO was born from a desire to showcase the beauty of the Reno-Tahoe area though an experience focused on a healthy lifestyle. Thousands of dollars are infused into the local economy with teams coming from all over the country, and even some from abroad, for the two-day event. In addition, donations are made each year to local charities, including the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation and the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway.

About to enter its 11th year, the RTO will have the self-imposed cap of 250 teams, over 3000 runners, traversing the course. However, not all of the events that Race178 has put on have continued with such success. As Eric puts it, “Life is a journey and you won’t have a straight dotted line to success. RTO TimelineYour path has some left and right turns, which can be good things.” By looking at the graph, there have been several races that have come and gone. The Arizona and Southern Odyssey’s were not able to attract a consistent following and were discontinued. Several other races, including a few abroad, were investigated, but there were clear indications that success would be unlikely. With each race and investigation, new lessons were learned and wise business decisions were made in order to prevent overextending Race178.

The success for the first RTO in 2005 was not just something that happened. A tremendous amount of effort was placed on getting the original 36 teams. Eric attended trade shows, went to running stores and applied for grants to help the race become a reality. “You have to put yourself out there and take some chances along the way. Only when you have started going down the path can you see the next opportunity.” Case in point, Eric told me the story of how attending one of those trade shows is where he met his future partner in the American Odyssey, held in Washington D.C.

There were several other valuable lessons Eric shared with me, which are below.

  • Trial and error was a big part of starting out.
    • Learn from the good ones and the bad ones.
  • You have to be authentic and like what you are doing.
  • It is all about customer service. Being able to genuinely connect with customers.
  • Grow your business in a measured way.
    • Deliver on what you know you can deliver.
    • Always under promise and over deliver.
    • Start simple and add the bells and whistles later.
  • Personally respond to emails.
  • If there are issues, try to be in the customer solutions business.
  • Deliver on the product and have customers make sales for you through social media.
    • We haven’t spent much on advertising because word-of-mouth has grown RTO organically.

In today’s world, running events are part of a very competitive industry, with a large amount of 5ks, mud runs, color runs and countless others. Despite this, Eric’s Race178 has created a model that has allowed for great success; focusing on the customer and providing a quality product.  Race178 now oversees the two Odyssey runs mentioned above, plus the Leprechaun Run, Reno 10 Miler, Journal Jog and Run with the Girls 5K. Eric has distinguished himself in the running community and the future is wide open for other events that may become part of the fold.

Visit their website to learn more about each event Race178 puts on. And, make sure you put next year’s RTO on your calendar to sign up before it fills up.

Image Credit – Graph created by author

Course Correction: Changing Careers

Part I of my interview with Race178 President and Reno-Tahoe Odyssey Race Director, Eric Lerude.

Race178One of the most important, and sometimes most difficult, decisions in our lives is determining what career path to choose. In our teens this decision first makes an appearance when we decide where to attend college and what major to pursue. Then we go after our first job in our early 20’s and by the time we are 30 we have almost a decade of experience. With every passing year, the risk of making changes becomes greater and greater; not only for the career, but also factoring in elements like a spouse and kids.

This was the decision Eric Lerude made in 2005. Having majored in finance and then passing the bar following law school graduation, Eric was a well-established attorney with 15 years of experience. However, having selected law school under the assumption that being a lawyer was a good job, he never found an intense sense of satisfaction from his work. That changed in August of 2003 when Eric ran the Hood to Coast relay race in Oregon. He had started running at a high level and this race was an opportunity to explore a new area. It ended up being the “ah ha” moment that changed his life.

Flying home, thoughts went through Eric’s mind about how he could create a similar experience that would showcase the city he was born and raised in, and loved – Reno. This was the moment of birth for what would become the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey (RTO), a 178 mile relay race around the city and lake (The full story of the RTO is in Part II). Suddenly, a new level of passion came over Eric like never before. This energy pushed him to spend the hours outside of his full-time job to pursue this new adventure.

Shortly thereafter, the moment came when Eric had to make the big decision; continue full-time as an attorney or take the risk and more full force into being a race director. This was an easy decision, especially with the complete support of his family. After hundreds of hours acquiring permits, working with the city, applying for grants, marketing, creating a business and doing a little bit of law work on the side, the first Reno-Tahoe Odyssey was ready to go.

10 RTO’s later and the 11th coming up soon, Eric’s transition has not only been successful, but tremendously rewarding. It is easy to see and hear the immense passion Eric has for his new career. Being able to authentically connect with others, centered on living a healthy lifestyle, generates even more passion and drive. Looking back, Eric shared the lessons he learned.

  1. In making a career change, ensure it is what you have a passion for.
  2. Leverage the knowledge and experience you have gained as much as possible.
  3. Support from those around you is an important element that can make the difference.
  4. And the most important lesson, “There is no magic pill.” Changing careers requires a tremendous amount of work and effort. Take advantage of classes, advisors and/or consultants who can help to make this transition easier. You don’t have to do it alone.

Making a career change should not be done lightly and only after many discussions with family, friends, mentors and professionals who understand the path you are looking to take. While there can be great risk, I feel that passion and dedication towards a goal is a potent combination for achieving success. Eric used his passion to achieve his goal and is now planning the 11th RTO, along with several other races he now coordinates. The lesson I took away from my conversation with Eric is to go after what drives you, using your passion and dedication to help find success.

Check out the Race178 website to see all the races Eric puts on and think about signing up for one!

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Mind, Body and Business

When looking at success, it is easy to focus on getting a good job, the big promotion or a new client. However, to me, success is built off of the idea of maintaining balance. Too often work and business are put at the forefront of our priorities, disregarding family and health. Without these, however, I don’t believe true business success can be obtained. And, over time, it is bound to catch up with you in a negative way.

In my opinion, without health, you truly have nothing. For that reason, it must be set as a top priority. What that doesn’t mean is that it has to take up a large amount of your time. Excuses are easy to come by regarding health – not enough time or not enough energy. For energy, I believe that is a matter of simply having the motivation to get started, but the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes. For time, that usually comes from a lack of creativity. And, as someone once told me, “If you are too busy for your health, then you are just too busy.”

What I have found as the easiest and most time conserving workout program out there is You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren. Developed as a strength training program for special operations forces, it is a simple guide that takes between 20 and 40 minutes from the comfort of your own home; 4 or 5 days a week. The book clearly lays out what exercises to do and how to do them. There are versions for both men and women. No commute time to the gym and each exercise can be completed with what you likely already have in your home.

If you need to actually gogym-546138_1280 to a gym, then there are usually plenty to choose from in every city. And, chances are, you will pass one on the way to work. Or, you can simply go out and run; it’s free, easy and comes with a healthy dose of fresh air. Basically, it comes down to what will be easiest for you and can keep you motivated to stick with it.

Get up, work out and you will be energized for the day, plus feel fantastic from taking care of yourself. Research shows that exercise will make you more productive at work and improve cognitive performance. Combined with eating wisely and getting enough sleep, this can be one of the best decisions you make. These things aren’t dismissed because people don’t know it is important, it is simply a matter of making the choice to live better. That doesn’t mean having to be a triathlete, but feeling better today and potentially adding years to life is worth making the positive decisions to improve your health. And, it has the added benefit of improving your performance and abilities at work, which should help with getting the good job, big promotion or new client.

What would it take for you to get started? If you tweet at me (button below), I will follow-up and try to get you motivated!

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