Wrap your head around it

Posted October 13, 2014 by davidgoad
Categories: General, Motivation

Finish-LineSince I finished my first full Iron Man in July, I have received compliments from several friends. Many are athletes who are far stronger than me at running, cycling and swimming. However, there is something intimidating about putting all three sports together that strikes fear into their strong hearts.

One particular friend (I’ll call him Joe) told me, “I just can’t wrap my head around 140 miles and all three sports in one day.”

I responded with all honesty and no hesitation, “I know you can do it, Joe. I know for a fact you can do it because I know how strong you are. Just put in the work and go for it.”

I know Joe can do it because I learned something about myself over the last 5 years. I’ve said it several times…I’m not anyone special and I’m not a natural athlete. I just dare to do a little more than most people my age, and I put in the work. And when things get tough, I have my fundraising purpose to pull me through.

Most of you have stretched yourselves to some extent in your life on different risks and challenges. And each time you overcame the odds it was because you made the commitment, made it public and put in the work. This formula is consistently the same for all achievements. It’s just a matter of scale.

So if you don’t think you can wrap your head around a package as big as the Ironman, start with smaller packages and wrap them one at a time. At some point you will be able to wrap them all together and discover something amazing about yourself… that truly, you can do anything.

Please comment if one of my posts helped get you started on your fitness journey. And please let us all know how you are doing today. We are in this together my friends, and I can’t wait to see you cross that next finish line!

These are the brakes

Posted October 5, 2014 by davidgoad
Categories: General

Snowboarder crashed in the snowI stood on the edge of the black diamond run looking down at the snow-frosted rocks and towering pine trees, intimidated by the difficult terrain on that long run to the lodge. I had recently converted to snowboarding from the comfort of two skis, and earlier that morning this 40-something dude was by far the oldest human in that beginner’s class full of 14-year olds.

I wiped the fog from my goggles and looked down the steep hill again. My knees were shaking, and not from the cold. It used to be so easy to traverse on two planks, work my way down the hill and stop on a dime when I wanted to. This funky snowboard required a whole different body motion and balance to stop (gracefully.) I could always just sit down or snow plow with my face, but those aren’t recommended by the instructor.

I suppose any sport propelled by the forces of nature — skiing, downhill cycling, toboggan, hang gliding — all have the same inherent challenge. It’s the challenge of how to stop after your thrill ride without ending up in the hospital.  I mean, how many of you could drive a huge hunk of metal at 70mph without the confidence that your brakes would work when you stepped on them?

It’s the same with any challenge you take on in your life, including new projects and career moves. Motivators tell you to commit… just go, go, go! Point your snowboard downhill and figure it out along the way. But wouldn’t it be helpful to set a few “stop and assess” waypoints along the way? Put on the brakes a few times to pick your best route down the hill before you start careening out of control?

That morning I learned to snowboard, I spent 4 hours working on only one thing: how to come to a stop. And as soon as I mastered stopping, nothing could keep me from starting.

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.


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