Today’s post is NSFW (or at least for some workplaces). The title is an indicator of the main thrust of today’s message, so act accordingly. But without the S-word, the post gets lost in translation. OK, so much for the caveats…now enjoy.
So there Paul and I were – doing our best to finish the Detroit Free Press International Marathon (we walked the half marathon for the second year in a row).
We are told that this is one of the few marathons in the world that crosses country lines. The course starts in downtown Detroit, goes over the Ambassador Bridge to Windsor, Ontario, and then returns to the U.S. via “The Tunnel” – the mile-long highway that runs under the Detroit River.
It’s a dynamic course, loaded with great eye candy and charm. Last Sunday, we were treated to a perfect day weather-wise, as a cast of 24,000 participated in a variety of walks and runs.
One of the coolest things about the marathon is the number of enthusiastic volunteers on both sides of the Detroit River that show up to clean up the paper cups and discarded clothes, and to cheer on the runners and walkers. Many people make it a party, inviting friends and families to hang out on a Sunday morning in October, encourage the runners, make signs, and play inspiring music (yes, “Eye of the Tiger” and the theme from “Rocky” are often blaring).
But when you cross back into the U.S. at about the 8 mile point, the reality of the burden hits you, and the fact that you have another 5 or so miles to go begins to sink in. Even on a nice day, it’s a heavy task.
And then we saw her.
Standing alone on a curb on Jefferson Avenue she was quietly holding up this sign. There was no one else around her – just a woman with a message. I spoke with other runners and walkers after the event was over, and they all remembered the sign, often chatting with her and taking her picture. She might have created it for a boyfriend, partner or friend, but it had an impact on many of us who needed a little inspiration at that point in the race.
Do Epic Shit!
And if you think about it, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do, whether it’s on a beautiful Sunday in October in downtown Detroit – or in our jobs, our careers, and our lives?
It was a reminder about thinking and dreaming big. And pushing ourselves to not settle for the mundane and the average, but to strive to do things that are meaningful and have impact.
So often in the past few years, the hopes, dreams, and goals of many broadcasters have been sanded down by the harsh realities of staff cutbacks, budget slashing, and other realities that have become an all too familiar part of many stations. And radio as an industry has suffered as a result, often relegated to the third string of media outlets by a fickle public always in search of what’s new and hot.
Today, programmers often don’t bother to ask for or even discuss marketing their brands, knowing (or thinking they know) what the answer will be. The result is that when your ambitions are modest, your goals – and your results – will end up being modest, too. If there’s anything about the last several years in radio that have eaten at me, it’s the acceptance of mediocrity by so many.
None of us got into radio to be average. We all wanted to make our marks in this business.
So if you’ve worked in radio for a couple of decades or more, ask yourself whether you’ve made some epic waves. And if not, there’s still time to dream and act big.
And if you’re a relative newcomer to radio, congratulations on your choice of professions. The bad economy, coupled with changing media usage habits, has discouraged many about the future course of the business. Don’t listen to the doomsayers tell you that you cannot make a difference. Read that sign again and imagine what you can do to make that mega-impact on the business.
Sometimes, it takes a little personal reminder like this to give us that extra push to finish a marathon – whether it’s the ones who walk and run or the ones that define our lives and careers.
You heard her – Do Epic Shit!