Only human

Posted August 13, 2014 by davidgoad
Categories: Communication, General

jonathan_RobinI’m grieving the tragic loss of Robin Williams and it reminds me of the time I met his idol and mentor, Jonathan Winters. You young whippersnappers may not remember Mr. Winters, but he had a frenetic, multiple-personality delivery style that inspired the young Robin to let go and play so hard on stage.

I was an extra in a Noble Roman’s Pizza commercial in Indianapolis in the late 70’s, and Jonathan was the celebrity spokesperson. He came in to the restaurant smiling and shaking hands. He was a comedy god to me, and it was so cool to be in his presence. We all sat at our tables pretending to talk and eat pizza while he delivered his lines to the camera.

Everything was all light-hearted and fun until Jonathan started having trouble with his final line. He kept dropping key words and transposing letters. “When a Roble Noman’s pizza truck comes up to your door…”

Time is money on a video set. The director was getting impatient and the star was becoming agitated. They even collected all of our silverware so the clanking wouldn’t be a distraction. Jonathan got frustrated to the point he had to leave for 20 minutes to collect himself.

They eventually got the shot after about 15 takes, but that scene changed my outlook on celebrities. We usually see their final, polished performances up on the screen, but rarely see the outtakes and struggles they go through. And I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, the comedy god is human.”

Like his mentor, Robin Williams was also human. He was extremely talented and generous and hard-working… but still human. He made us laugh for so many years and will never be forgotten for that work, but he also had an internal struggle we did not see. I can’t imagine the pain he must have felt to not be able to make it through one more day. I just can’t. I suppose being loved by millions does not ensure being loved by oneself.

The only silver lining I can see in this tragedy is the discussion on depression circulating throughout the socialsphere right now. Perhaps someone else’s struggle will NOT end in tragedy. Perhaps another human soul will reach out for help before it’s too late.

If you think you might be that soul, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for some free and confidential help. And above all my friend, hang in there… you are loved, and you matter.

Dig Deep, David

Posted July 30, 2014 by davidgoad
Categories: Motivation

Jeff and David Finish Line 2b smallI occasionally talk to myself and sing out loud during endurance events. Some of my fellow racers smile and I admit some just stare at me. At mile 136 of the Iron Man 140.6, I just didn’t care. The winding mountain roads of Lake Placid are a lonely place to run in the dark. I ran through the field of walking zombies because I did not want to finish after midnight.

My brother Jeff had coached me when I passed the MMRF tent, “Stay smooth and just keep moving. Like a metronome! Keep moving!” I had fatigue and pain all over my body, but nothing that felt like an injury. “Dig deep, David,” I repeated over and over in time with my short cadence.

I flashed back to the adversity of that morning. How they pulled many swimmers, including me, out of the lake due to lightning strikes. How I had to run barefoot in my wetsuit on rough asphalt for a quarter mile to the changing tent. How I rode the first 20 miles of the bike course in a driving rainstorm, and rode my wet brakes down long hills with my teeth chattering and a trash bag as a makeshift rain jacket.

I talked to myself quite a bit throughout the race, including “You signed up for this,” and “Remember why you are here.” I sang “Born to Be Wild” at the top of my lungs as I pedaled uphill. I stopped at every aid station in the last 4 miles, drinking warm chicken broth and doing leg stretches to prevent cramping. Every volunteer who shouted encouragement to me made a difference, and I kept moving forward.

I rounded the final corner and heard the announcer enthusiastically proclaim those famous words “David Goad… You… Are… An Ironman!” After I threw my hands in the air, I looked up to see my brother Jeff holding my medal for me. That hug, and that moment, was worth all the hard work, all the pain, and all the deep digging I did to finish.

I witnessed a lot of humans with a higher purpose on that course Sunday. I swam, pedaled and ran next to athletes who were disabled, injured or “way too old to be doing this,” but they never stopped moving forward. And I’m so thankful I did not stop digging before I got to that treasure at the finish line.

This will be my final word on my Ironman journey. Thank you for giving to the cause that is finding a cure for my brother. Anything is possible… and love is the most powerful force in the universe. I appreciate yours.

Donation link is still live

Accepting exceptions

Posted July 14, 2014 by davidgoad
Categories: General, Motivation

lakeplacidThere’s an exception to every rule, right? You can tell yourself you’re not going to eat THAT, and that you’re going to put in ALL the miles, but life and lack of willpower just get in the way sometimes, don’t they? You have to make a few exceptions in any plan. It’s inevitable.

Here we are… 2 weeks before the Ironman and I’ve been training for 6 months. I knew that if I missed too many workouts or quit early on any of them, I would not have the conditioning needed for 16 hours of swim/bike/run in Lake Placid. But guess what? Life got in the way. I had to work late. I had to travel. It was raining. I was too tired. In other words, I had to make some exceptions.

What happened next is what mattered most for me. I jumped right back on the train after falling off each time. I didn’t kick myself for the exception or add extra miles to the next workout. I just accepted what happened and started up again where I left off.  I’ve learned that a good habit takes 30 days to establish, but a bad habit can take hold immediately… if I let it.

I made my Iron Man objectives clear from the start: I’m going to prove to myself that anything is possible at any age, and raise money to find a Multiple Myeloma cure in my brother Jeff’s lifetime. With a higher purpose like that, no minor exception is going to get in my way. Accepting the exceptions and doing the work has now brought me to an exceptional starting line. And I am ready.

Please donate a few dollars HERE if you can to support our mission. It’s great to have so many of you exceptional friends riding along with us!

Unforced Perspective

Posted May 28, 2014 by davidgoad
Categories: Communication, General, Motivation

unforced_perspective2Things are not always what they seem. And to all young people reading this, regardless of your upbringing or environment… I’m telling you social status is a myth. The kids you label popular are mere humans with the same dreams, doubts and insecurities that you are feeling. That’s right, everyone has to struggle with something. It’s just not always readily visible.

I was NOT a “popular” kid in school. I went to a large high school with 1100 in my senior class, and felt fairly anonymous in the big scheme of things. What I DID have were several good friends who I trusted and who helped me feel like I belonged. When I needed someone to talk to, I reached out for it.

I have since reconnected with many of the so-called popular kids on Facebook and had conversations that revealed this truth:  Everybody hurts… it’s what you do about the pain that matters. I also know now that someday you will look back on your gigantic problems and realize they were relatively small in hindsight.

There is no permanent peace in a pill or a bottle. Reach out and talk to someone when you’re down. Join a team or club or volunteer for something that gives your life purpose. There are more people who love and care about you than you could ever imagine. Trust me… things are not always what they seem.

Please share this with another young adult if you find it valuable. Peace.

Best day ever

Posted May 4, 2014 by davidgoad
Categories: Motivation

David_Jerry2I was asked recently, “What was your best day ever in your job?” I gave an answer without hesitation. It was the day I hosted a live TV show at Cisco with 4 panelists, taking questions from an online audience along with a teleprompter and a director talking in my ear. I had conducted plenty of webinars before, but never attempted a show in a real studio with this level of lights, camera and action.

It was my best day ever because I pulled it off. And because I said yes to something that was way out of my comfort zone. If you follow this blog, you know I’ve been saying yes to hard things for over 6 years now. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but never let any of them embarrass me into giving up or retreating back to the status quo.

How would you answer the question? What was your best day? The first thing that just popped into your mind was something that gave you joy. And it’s probably an obvious clue to what you should be doing more of. Some folks like to quietly unravel puzzles that no one else can solve. Some like developing talent, or building things or closing a big deal.

Me? I like to put on a show… a show with a purpose. Ever since my Kindergarten teacher had to call my mother because I refused to relinquish the stage during Show and Tell, I’ve shown signs of courage in front of an audience. I love to inform, entertain and inspire. I love the interaction, the laughter and the moments of pensive silence. I love it when just one person tells me afterwards that I made a difference for them. That’s why I will continue to seek opportunities to do this.

I hope you’re doing the same, looking for what gives you joy in your work. If you can’t think of a best day ever, or even a pretty good day, it might be time to open yourself up to change. I know you have to feed your family, but to be your best… I believe you also have to feed your spirit.

Guest Blog by Jeff Goad: What Makes a True Hero?

Posted March 25, 2014 by davidgoad
Categories: Motivation

brothers_in_arms2(EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m not really comfortable with the label, but Jeff asked me to publish this as is.)

At least once a week we see a news story featuring someone who has pulled a stranger from a wrecked car or helped a neighbor escape his smoldering house. In other stories we see first responders saving citizens in their chosen line of duty. The reporters are eager to use the “hero” tag, and sometimes it is deserved. However, sometimes our heroes are family or friends who are right in front of us.  In my world, what makes a true hero is someone willing to act selflessly without really knowing the outcome. Someone whose focus and commitment is so genuine that they frequently will admit afterward that they really can’t believe their actions. Some heroes are motivated purely by love and a determination to beat the odds. My brother Dave is a true hero!

He has undoubtedly touched many of you in various ways with his blog stories, and perhaps inspired you to overcome an obstacle in your life. Just days after I told him of my cancer diagnosis, he signed up for a marathon to raise money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. His act inspired me and helped me to recover more quickly by launching my own marathon campaign. Dave’s perpetual motivation and timely calls kept my spirits up during dark periods of rehab and training. He always said yes to requests for help and put his sizable positive energy force to work in every imaginable facet I could think of. He verbally tugged and nudged and encouraged me to exceed my own expectations about what life could be surviving and thriving with cancer. We have run side by side in the Chicago and New York City marathons and raised meaningful money for the MMRF. Many of you have been a big part of helping us reach those goals.

However, things really launched into an Everest-like realm when Dave decided to register for the Lake Placid Ironman triathlon.  An Ironman? To me, that was running into the burning building. “What were you thinking?” I asked him. “This is not a marathon. Do you realize how much training and time it will take to do this?”

He wasn’t thinking about that, he was thinking about what he could do to save me, his big brother. Dave is a true hero. His sacrifices are quite substantial in this pursuit of the most demanding multi-sport individual challenge in the world. His friends are his running shoes, his bike and his wet suit. I will be with him in Lake Placid at the end of July as his crew chief, to make sure his equipment is ready and in the right place. I will also be at the finish line waiting with open arms to congratulate him on this truly amazing feat.

Please help Dave achieve his fundraising goal while he pursues the greatest athletic challenge of his life. You can donate here.

My brother Dave is “my” true hero!

- Jeffery M. Goad

P.S. For those who have asked how I’m doing now, I am considered in “maintenance remission,” not that there really is a true remission. My last blood test had my KFL at 5.03, a new low number for me! (Normal is .3 to 1.7.) When I was diagnosed, it was 1400. So I am 99.64%, almost 100%! I am grateful for the new drugs and treatments developed by MMRF. Your donations make a difference!

Doing the work now

Posted March 15, 2014 by davidgoad
Categories: General, Motivation

swim“1 – 2 – 3 – 4 breathe. And 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 breathe. My shoulders can’t take this! Remember to kick or my legs will sink. Chin down, don’t look up. Rotate to breathe. Why is my foot cramping and how will I rub it in the middle of a lake?” This was the talk track in my brain as I reached a new milestone in the indoor pool last night. 3900 yards in 1 hour 45 minutes! Just 300 yards shy of what I need to do for the Ironman in July.

I’ve got four more months to train. Why push myself so hard now?

Marathon? Done it. Century ride? Done it. Swim 2.4 miles? Never done it. Before I jump into Lake Placid I need to know that I am capable, not just believe that I am capable. The concept is simple… do the work now and it will pay off later.

I learned this from my brother Jeff, who coached me through my first marathon over 4 years ago. He taught me that there is no substitute for doing the work. He also taught me about the run/walk method and incremental improvement; about making adjustments and varying my stride to use different muscles; about the importance of breathing and relaxation. And most importantly, by watching him go through treatment for Multiple Myeloma and kick it’s ass, he taught me about perseverance.

This Ironman is a huge step up from anything I’ve done before. I’m asking so much more of myself because I’m asking more of my friends to give to the MMRF. Many of you have already given to support the research that has saved my brother’s life. If you can afford to give more, please do. If you can’t, please share this story with your friends. Either way I am grateful.

If we do the work now, it will pay off later for so many. Click here to give, and write in any amount you choose. Thank you… it will be good to have you on our team!


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