The 10 Worst Facebookers of the Last Decade

October 2013 will mark the ten year anniversary of Facebook. It has truly been a revolutionizing concept and now represents over 25% of all internet traffic worldwide. Over the last ten years we have seen all types of fads and fashions from liking pictures of people with diseases in hopes of saving them, major corporations getting Facebook pages while having no clue how to use them, all the way to the meme revolution. With all the good comes the bad, and with the end of 2012 approaching it’s time to codify the 10 worst Facebookers of the last decade. Here’s to 2013 and a more tolerable Facebook community. By the way, while you read this if you think you are one of the ten, you probably are and we hope you stop it. Here goes…

1. The Inspirational Guru

We all have this friend, they think they are Facebook’s version of John C. Maxwell. Every morning at the exact same time you can absolutely count on a motivational quote in your news feed. It’s usually a famous Gandhi quote that your friend conveniently forgets to give credit for. They have zero leadership experience, are not a life coach and probably haven’t graduated college yet they have taken it upon themselves to be your guiding light through social media. If you are a life coach, then fine keep motivating us; if you’re not, stop it because you have no credibility. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you’re right.”

2. The Depressed

This person was recently in a relationship and swore they found the love of their life but for some crazy reason it didn’t work out. Now they’ve taken to the internet to dump all of their personal emotions on us in hopes that someone gives them attention or maybe their Ex will see and come running back to them. Usually this person is marked by a cycle of actions/statements after the breakup: First comes extreme relief, like they are so excited to be free and so thankful they’ve been shown the light. This phase will be known by rogue statements like, “Whew! Glad that’s over! Finally…” When we all know deep down that’s exactly the opposite of what they really feel. After a couple of days this relief phase turns to grief, looking something like, “Missing someone right now…” or “Never thought it would be this hard…” It is an awkward situation for some, especially if you are friends with both of the people involved to see these very personal feelings floating about on display for everyone. It’s like a reality TV show starring your friends, unfolding in real-time. Lastly, the grief phase will turn to anger and you will see things like, “Always knew it would end up this way..” or “Of course! How could I have been so dumb to be with you?!!” After these stages the person will not be seen on Facebook for 3-4 months where they will actually go through the real healing process or can be found in your local shitty bar with their head on the table and a Rolling Rock beer in their hand. We wish you the best!

3. The Gym Rat

One of my favorites, usually an oversized, overly enthusiastic, rage monster whose only priority in life is to be the biggest person in the room at all times. They will post statuses like, “Gym time!”, “Time to kill some Biceps!” or “Leg day is the worst bro!” After their workouts you can bet on a self-pic being posted as they stand in their gym’s locker room only wearing their Under-Armor shorts. Keep it in the gym bros!

gym-dudes-in-bathroom-flexing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. The Future Politician

Oh god, not this guy. Here we go again, 2012 with its hotly contested election brought a wave of political commentators to Facebook representing everyone from Obama to Ron Paul to Roseanne Barr. This person is relentless. Everyday is a new article, picture, meme, study or graph proving why their candidate is the only possible option in the election. They are usually very sensitive, highly pretentious, and are quick to unfriend you if you disagree with them. They also believe the country is in dire straights and you individually are the key to saving it. They fail to realize that most of the country doesn’t care. To all the political people out there, go run for office for god’s sake.

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5. The Foodie

This guy or gal recently discovered Instagram and over 84% of their posts are pictures of meals they’re having. They are not a real food critic and are usually not eating anything or anywhere interesting. Most posts will look like, “Kevin made grilled chicken, broccoli, and potatoes! Yummy!” accompanied by a picture of the plate. Like none of us have ever ate that exact same meal, really?! Sometimes, they will pick a fancy filter to use and take a picture of an exotic/fruity drink they just ordered with a status of “The Good Life!” or “YOLO!” Seriously, we all eat three meals a day and unless you’re at Ruth Chris Steakhouse for your birthday celebration dinner, just keep your food on the table and not the internet.

emo-scene-hipster-youre-not-the-only-person-who-ate-food-today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. The New Parent

Obviously, this person has a new-born. Now don’t get me wrong, I think children are great and life is a beautiful thing but just because your baby farted doesn’t warrant a status update. It used to be that baby pictures had their own book reserved for family and close friends. Now this parent has access to the World! And watch out because everything their baby does is getting posted, every outfit, every picture, and any event concerning their baby. God forbid you make an observation about this because your head will be electronically ripped off. “How dare you?! My baby is precious and the best baby of all babies! EVER!” Facebook has created a worldwide baby competition, get ready…

Scared baby against crazy mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. The New Couple

After reading the title, I’m sure you can pin this person as well as I’m about to. These two probably met on Facebook and are now “Madly in LOVE!”(with three smiley faces). Every date is accompanied by a picture at TGI Fridays that says, “Date Night with my love!” and awww how cute they tagged their better half in the pic! OMG! These two will write a status about each other and then actually comment on the other’s status, “Thanks Babe! You’re the bestest! I’m in the other room but can’t wait to see you!” Their entire relationship plays out over Facebook. 98% of these relationships end in the process I outlined in person 2 “The Depressed”. Image

8. The Dog Whisperer

Now I love dogs and cats but this person takes it to whole new level. You will get a daily pic of their dog eating, laying, sitting, looking out the window, at the park, in the car, with the ball in his mouth, chasing the ball, tired of the ball, etc. This person also has coordinated dog sweaters for every holiday of the year. They will even against the dog’s will place it in front of the Christmas tree for portraits to share, “Awww! Look at Mr. Pugsly all bundled in his Xmas sweater! So handsome!” Just like the parent with the baby, this person’s dog is the BEST, not up for debate. Image

9. The Mirror Pic Taker

Usually a girl but could be a guy. They remind me of that Willy Wonka meme, “Oh you’re a model? What’s your agency? Instagram?!” This person is so vein that every time they get ready to go out they grace us with the picture to prove it. The pic is taken in their bathroom, hair did, make up done, cleavage showing and duck face is the pose of choice. Tag line of “Girls night at the Drynk! Call me Maybe!” Some of the same girlfriends who are going out with her that night are the comments on the pic, “pretty lady”, “Get ready girl!” and sometimes the random bro will comment, “Damn girl, lookin good! Hit me up..” For some unknown reason she gets the most likes. This girl either has confidence issues, is an attention whore, or maybe just knows how good she looks and has to broadcast it, which we still can’t stand.

mirror-girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. The Play by Play Announcer

This person is quite possibly the biggest offender of Facebook etiquette. They average over 7 statuses a day pertaining to nothing important but act like we are all waiting with baited breath as to what’s happening with their day. When they wake up, “Just woke up! Got my coffee and off to work!” And so on and so on. “Just took out the trash, ugh!” or “Just choked on my water! lol” If they don’t give us the real-time play by play they will wait to get home and post the whole day’s events in one long status: “Woke up late, but still got coffee, yess! Went shopping for groceries, was packed. Ran some errands, traffic was crazy. Finally home relaxing on the couch having a glass of wine. Ahhh and maybe bed at a decent hour!” Seriously, we don’t want to be mean but stop it.

I am sure you all have your own list of ten but these are mine, feel free to add yours below or comment on which was your favorite. Below is a list of honorable mentions. Maybe 2013 we can make Facebook a better place! And if you were one of the ten, don’t worry we still want to be your friend just take it easy for us okay?!

Honorable Mentions:

11) The Hashtagger – #hashtagsonfacebookdontwork #stopit

12) The Random One – Posts a one sentence status that only they and one other person will understand.

13) The Nerd – Every status is actually really interesting and cool but nobody reads them(See Higgs Boson Particle).

14) The Meme Enthusiast – Every status is a meme.

15) The ESPN Broadcaster – Posts statuses about sporting events happening live, “Did anyone just see that!!??”

16) The Lyric Lover – Every status is two sentences of a popular song on the radio. “I am on a 24 hour champagne diet, spilling while I’m sipping. I encourage you to try it…” That was Drake, see? It didn’t work.

17) The Promoted Posts – Companies who spend money to get a “promoted post”. We already drink Miller Lite, stop it.

18) The Profile Picker – Changes their profile pic every three days.

By Christopher Sankey

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Getting Someone’s Attention

We all have a need for attention. Whether it be through a physical touch, verbal praise or just mentally knowing someone is interested in you. I know this sounds like a dating post but I assure you its not, I am far from the expert in that field as some of you know.

With the surge of social media, attention is a rare commdodity in todays society. Everybody is vying for your attention. Companies and their commercials(think Super Bowl), the various social media sites(If you’re like me they all have my attention, twitter, klout, facebook, google+..), politicians all telling you want they think you want to hear, news networks and the list goes on.

All of these groups understand the more attention they grab, the stronger the influence they have. Please “like” our page on Facebook! Sound familiar? If you’re like me, it seems like everyday I’m getting a new request to like something I know nothing about. But this transformation in society begs the question, “What does this mean for me?” …

ADAPT OR BE DESTROYED

Survival of the fittest. Adaption is the key to success during time of change and stress. And if ever the job market has changed and stressed, it’s Now. So how have you changed? Adapted? How fit are you to grab the attention you want?

As the job seeker, you are seeking attention of the people who have what you want, the job, career, pay raise etc. So, in the new economy if we want to beat it, we have to adapt and evolve. Assume the old rules and ways are obsolete. Companies have stopped reading resume’s online, no more paper applications and no more newspaper ads.

What do you do? 3 New ways to grab Attention…

1. Hit the Pavement – This tip isn’t really new, it’s just rarely ever used now a days. With everyone putting their resume’s online and applying to the companies job archives you rarely see this tip in action. Pick your top 5 companies that you have already submitted a resume’ or application to and just show up a few days later. Be dressed to the nines, smile and ask “Is the hiring manager here?” It’s even better if you have the name of the person and then I would advise asking for them by their first name. Because very few people if any take the time to come in person and you already know the name, the receptionist will most likely assume you know the manager and get them for you. Now you have a wonderful opportunity to make a great first impresssion and show how much more dedicated, persistent and creative you are than the others. I can’t tell you how many times this has worked for me.

2. It’s all about Value – Many people use the word “networking” but few actually connect on this concept. People think that getting business cards or exchanging contact info is networking and it’s not. It’s literally one of many steps in the process. For those of you that have exchanged contact info with people that are connected or ones that you would like to work with you need to follow up with them and use this. For those of you that haven’t start right away. The next time you get introduced to someone or get a business card, strike a conversation up about their business, ask questions and figure out what they value most in their business or the biggest problem they’re having and help them solve it before you ask for anything. How do you solve it? Do research, send them a contact of someone you know who can help them, email them an article you found and say “Thought you’d like this, hope you’re well.” And when the time is right ask them for help or an interview or whatever it may be.

3. The Video Resume’ – This is the future of resumes. If you do it now, you WILL be a head of the curve. Make a video of yourself and you are pretty much explaining exactly what’s on your resume’. Start with your personal info, smile, show how personable you are and then move into your experience and what you look forward to doing. Send it in an email, a facebook message, post it to your LinkedIn profile etc.

“The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water moulds itself to the pitcher.” – Chinese proverb

 

If you found this helpful, Please Share for us on Facebook and Twitter, I greatly appreciate it.

By Christopher Sankey

@DMSank

 

Don’t Make This Interview Mistake.

“A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.” -Oscar Wilde

It is true that interviewing for anything is an art. Maybe you’ve recently seen politicians being interviewed and you can visibly see them dancing around questions or successfully and usually unsuccessfully trying to spin their answers. The ones who do it well have mastered their craft.

Great interviews no matter what the field are often achieved through subtlety. There is always an objective to be achieved, an impression someone wants to portray, a position they are trying to convince people to take or in the job seekers case…actually that’s a good point, what is the true objective of someone being interviewed for a job? Obviously, to get the job but that’s where most of you go wrong, you never move past that determination and dig deeper.

The true question to ask ourselves is “What do we have to do to get the employer to take Action and pull the trigger?”

Do you know the answer? Luckily, I do.

The art of the interview and the subtlety of the process is a formula. I will encourage you to define exactly how these parts pertain to you individually and leave that up to your judgement.

WARNING: Some of the material may seem basic and common sense but I don’t think you are surprised about how many people lack common sense or commit the major mistake of having knowledge without implementing, which is useless.

Secret(meaning not so secret but most people fail to do) Interview Recipe:

1. Great Beginnings – Eye contact, firm handshake, smile and in a clear, confident voice say “Nice to meet you, thanks for taking the time to meet with me today.”

2. The Personality – Most people are confused as to how much personality they should reveal in an interview. They are worried about being too dry or overly personable and looking unprofessional. Ask yourself these questions and find the balance

  • Am I coming off as confident or cocky?
  • Did I show a sense of humor or did I look goofy?
  • Was I well-mannered or brown-nosing?
  • Was I being positive or did I seem fake?
  • Did I strive for excellence or try to look perfect?
  • Did I prove I am well-rounded?
  • Was I professional or up tight?

Most of us know the difference between all of these and could cite examples of how to execute each but the distinguished is in how subtle you handle each situation.

3. Bringing it Home – At the end of the interview, it is important no matter how well you think it went to finish strong. End with a combination of : Thanking them again, stating you enjoyed the process and look forward to impacting the organization. It is also advised to ask “What is the next step?”

Think about these concepts, rehearse you answers with a focus on being subtle and most important when the time comes implement and execute.

Michelangelo said it best, “A man paints with his brains not with his hands.”

If this was helpful in anyway, I ask you pass it along and share with others. There is no better way to impact each other and change our situation than to help.

By Christopher Sankey   @DMSank

LOVE THE JOB YOU HAVE WHILE YOU CREATE THE JOB OF YOUR DREAMS

A mentor of mine, Hal Elrod, has a motto “Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams.” I think we can all agree that is a great motto to live by. With 2012 being an election year and so much talk of our nations unemployment rate and the need for job creation, it made me think about my situation as well as those of many of my peers.

The Problem

Most people see getting a job in this economy as difficult and when they finally get a job it’s not the job they want. In result, they whine and complain about how they don’t like their job and give a half-ass effort at that job. My question is: Who determines whether they like their job or not? They do.

When you don’t like your job, what will your attitude be waking up for work? What will your attitude be at work? What will your attitude be going to sleep thinking about the next day? Let me explain a simple model…

Your Thoughts/Mindset/Attitude determine your Actions which determine your Results.

In this case, if you have a negative attitude about work, the actions that follow will include: going to bed late and waking up later, minimal effort towards tasks, lack of team work and self-isolation, all of which will cause poor results and a poor level of satisfaction from work.

The Solution

If you determine whether you like your job or not, then it is a simple matter of choice. Choose to “Love the job you have while you create the job of your dreams.”

There is a saying that most of you are probably familiar with. The saying is “The grass is always greener on the other side.” A lot of people will respond to that and say “water your own damn lawn.” I say, “water your own damn lawn but when you’re done make sure you plant a flower in your dream garden.”

Don’t be mistaken. The answer isn’t to settle. The answer is to make the most out of what you have AND create your next opportunity that will lead you closer to your dream job. There is so much to miss if you aren’t embracing the position you are in; so many habits, so many lessons, and so many connections.

When you “lead without a title” as Robin Sharma preaches you find satisfaction in your job and create opportunities that get you closer to exactly what you want. If you aren’t looking you wont find. Start looking for opportunities to hone your skills and create a following. It may be difficult to find a job, but every company has a need for leaders.

Don’t WAIT for the dream job, CREATE the dream job.

Written by: Ray Reed

Look out for a follow-up post on “Creating your Dream Job”

and stay tuned for http://www.collegedropouts.org

Sex, Drugs and Jobs.

In the last post I spoke of the difference in taking an Active approach to finding the job you want versus being passive, waiting and hoping. I referenced specific examples of how you can be active in your methods. Today, I will backup a majority of what the last post was about with facts and numbers and show you how important it is to truly be Active in your search. Welcome to advanced job finding methods 101…

In a recent book, I came across the best and worst methods to find a job and was fascinated by the results. The reality is the way we normally look for jobs is not the way employers normally look for us. This is where the sex comes in, wait for it….Much like men and women are on completely different wavelengths, in order for us to communicate and even be civil at times we have to see it from the opposite person’s point of view and thus the end result, sex. If not, no sex. Okay, so point is if we want to find that wonderful connection with an employer we have to see it from their eyes.

Ask yourself, “If I were an employer how would I want to fill any openings?”

Would you want to troll through the internet reading millions of resume’s?? No way.

Would you want to spend thousands of dollars on ads in the newspaper?? No.

Would you want to hire and pay a staffing firm who doesn’t really know what your business needs are to find future employees?? Definitely not.

What’s crazy is the last three scenarios are the most popular methods for people who are looking for jobs, they are also the least effective. Why are they most popular if they are the least successful? Two reasons, first they are the easiest most convenient ways of searching. It is natural for us to want something with as little resources expended as possible. We know what we want and we don’t want to work to get it, fair enough. Second, these are the methods we are taught that are supposed to work. So we naturally just follow the leader without research and thus all of these avenues are saturated with tens of millions of applicants pushing employers even further away from using them.

It really is a battle of two parties, you and the employer, both wanting each other but having to do as little as possible to get each other. Sounds like a pretty dysfunctional relationship. And that’s why the job market is plagued with fear, confusion, frustration, despair and more. What we have to realize is the employers have the power(job),so they get the luxury of being passive where you as the seeker have to be Active in your approach.

So how would you want it to happen if you were the owner or hiring manager of a company? Well its a pretty easy answer. I imagine one of my best employees walking into my office saying, “Hey boss, you know that opening you have? I have the perfect person for it.” Reality is I trust this employee, they get results and now I don’t have to advertise(spend unnecessary money) and waste time.

Ok, now that we have you thinking in the mind of the employer, ask yourself “What are other things I would want to see or methods to use regarding the hiring process?”

Here are the most preferred methods of hiring for companies:

1. Inside promotion – Someone they have already seen work, they know the person knows the job which equates to almost zero risk and zero cost of advertising. Your move: Internship or settle for a part-time position and work your butt off. I have a friend Brian who did this, he worked an internship for a couple of months, at the end they didn’t have any openings and he went home. As soon as something opened up, he was the first they called.

2. Proof – Bringing in someone who has or is actual tangible proof of exact experience relating to skills needed. For example, if the company is hiring for painters someone who has a portfolio of work is in a pretty good position. Your move: Consider the job you want and skills related and get an entry-level position that will prepare you for the field. If you already have experience lets say in sales bring your past customer list or awards and show the interviewer.

3. Personal Referral – An employee recommends a friend or colleague to the job as mentioned above. Your move: Ask your network of friends and family who in their company has the authority to hire and ask them to personally recommend you to the job or hand deliver your resume’.

Remember just because you haven’t found the job you want doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Keep looking and now you have some tools and directions to put you on the path you want. Active vs. Passive.

Oh yea don’t forget, Drugs can prevent you from getting the job you want…

Coming soon : www.collegedropouts.org

Activate Your Opportunity

As I slide my way through facebook feeds of my friends I can’t help but notice the common trend of comments about the job market. It seems as if most of my friends can’t find work or are incredibly disappointed with their jobs. I have friends who have graduated from university that are working for minimal wages or aren’t even working.

Now I know what you’re thinking, that this is going to be some rant about America’s problems and how the economy is the reason for all of our negative situations. Wrong. The economy obviously needs work but that’s not what this is about.

This is about you. This is about what you are doing, what you are thinking and the key word being Active.

The entire idea of the economy being the reason for our situation is really debilitating. There really is a problem with letting something so arbitrary have so much control over our lives. It represents a passive attitude toward life. I would ask to all those who have posted about their negative working status, how many times have you posted in a job board? Sent your resume’ to a company? Picked up the phone and followed up? Asked a friend or family member when they can give your resume’ to someone they work with? How many job sites are you currently registered with? Do you actively try and grow yourself as much as you complain or post about how bad it is? For as many times as you have advertised your dissatisfaction have you done something that could change it?

Now I know things truly are hard so I’m not trying to say that people haven’t tried or they don’t care but there is a major difference between doing what is expected and doing what is necessary. Doing what is expected only possibly gets you a job in a good economy. Doing what is necessary will help you unlock the job market in any economy. As I have mentioned before I am not a graduate, I don’t even have an Associates degree and I currently have three potential companies that I could work for right now with the dialing of one phone call all paying above $40,000 with benefits. How many Americans would turn that down right now?

Thus what is the difference between expected and necessary?

Expected  vs. Necessary

-Having a resume’ or having a clean, professional resume’ with highlighted information pertaining to the job you want.

-Putting in applications or seeking those who make the hiring decisions and demanding to be put in front of them and personally introducing yourself and handing the application to them.

-Filling out electronic application and waiting for a call/email or filling out electronic application and calling minutes after submitting to ask “What is the next step?”

-Talking to people saying “I need a job.” or asking specific targeted people you know are working “Who do you know that can help me get a job?” or “Who could you pass my resume’ to?”

-Going on job boards and applying for positions or going on the job board, apply for the position and do personal research on the company and hiring managers and calling them personally to let them know you are interested.

-Having references or having references who are specifically prepped for who is calling and why along with key points about you and your experience that will relate to the job you are interviewing for.

-Looking professional or Dressing like the boss’s boss.

All of the latter examples represent Active approaches to finding work versus the passive approach that we are taught to think will work. Only those that decide to take that extra step are going to be the ones who will stand out. Ask yourself, “Am I doing what is expected or what is necessary for what I want?”

Those that do the expected get the expected…unemployment.

Those that do what is necessary get what they want.

Half the man…

Half the Man I Want to Be.

I stood on the beach, gripped the sand with my toes, cold water dripping off my body. The MC boomed into the microphone “One Minute!” I secured my goggles jumped in the air, shook my arms out one last time and set the timer on my watch. Heart rate over 100 beats per minute and we hadn’t even started yet. The anxiety and excitement in the air was like a physical presence reminding me of what I was about to embark on. The MC starts the countdown, “Ten…nine…eight…seven…” I look my buddy Mark dead in the eye and tell him “Run your own race”, he responds with “No way!”(1) And Boom the gun was off and fifty of the most physically fit men between the ages 25-29 were sprinting into a lake for a 1.2 mile swim at seven in the morning.

Let me back up, four months earlier my friend Mark had approached me about training for a Half-Ironman. As a novice triathlete, I quickly agreed and was eager to tackle the new distance. The race comprised of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride finished by a 13.1 run. I had gotten started in the triathlon life from a previous relationship. At the time my girlfriend Allison, had told me she had done a triathlon. Naturally, I said to myself if she can do it, I can do it. So I committed to my first race. The first time I got in the pool, I couldn’t even swim a lap or 25 yards. When I rode my basic road bike I averaged around 15MPH and my runs were not what they used to be in high school. But I stuck with it and two years later here I was training for the biggest race of my life. Over the course of four months Mark and I had put in at least 200 hours of training ranging from early morning runs to late night swims, our longest day was a 67 mile ride in the dead heat of Florida between 11-3pm. We had put in the hours and we were ready. Or so we thought…

I dashed into the water until my legs couldn’t take me any further and broke into my easy flowing freestyle stroke. I kept telling myself to calm down and take it easy, it was going to be a long race. My plan was to hang with Mark during the entire swim but I was fairly sure after the first minute he had taken a significant lead with the front group, okay on to plan B. I settled into my breathing rhythm: three strokes breathe right; three strokes breathe left and silently thanked Allison for that tip that had changed my swimming career.(2) I worked my way through the traffic of swimmers; it felt as if I saw more human in the water than actual water in the lake, there were people everywhere. Nearing the half way point I saw a man swimming on his back inching his way to the finish and I thought to myself “Why is he swimming like that? He could go so much faster if he did it the right way.”(3) I pressed on, jumped out of the water after the first lap, did a little turn and back into the lake for lap number two. The second lap was hard and in the last five minutes I thought “I can’t wait to get on my bike.” After thirty-five minutes of straight swimming, out of the water I went, dashed up the hill towards the bike transition area. My uncle Chris was waiting for me at the edge of the lake cheering me on, I could hear his voice in my head but I couldn’t comprehend the words he was saying, it just felt good to hear a familiar voice and have support(4) but now the real race began. With swim cap and goggles off, I threw my bike shoes on, glasses and helmet on my head and grabbed my secret weapon fuel, pop tarts and headed out.

I feared the 56 mile bike was going to be the hardest part of the race; it was my weakest link of the three. I started out on the course which took me all through parts of Miami I had never seen; residential sub-divisions, farm lands and back roads with nothing. I hoped and prayed the wind would work in my favor. I passed as many people that passed me and made sure to ride within myself for the first hour. About half way through is where I had the idea to write this story, it gets lonely riding a bike on your own for three hours not speaking to anyone. The inspiration came twenty miles in when I approached a turn I saw a police officer and two racers on the side of the road, there had been a crash. As I passed, I saw a middle aged woman with blood dripping off her face remount her bike; she wasn’t finished, at least not yet. It was at that moment when I realized this triathlon was almost an exact replica of the life we live. How many times in my life had I heard “It’s not how many times we fall down but how many times we get back up.”?(5) And here she was, getting back up. Along the way, I made sure to say hello to people I passed and looked at all the cool bikes that passed me. Surprisingly, forty miles in my legs were feeling great and I was on pace to have the best race of my career. Right on cue I reached into my back pocket to eat and fuel myself for the run with my secret weapon pop tarts but they were gone. I checked my left pocket, nothing. They must have fallen out on the ride somewhere. With not many options and needing calories, I decided to load up on Gatorade for extra sugar to get me through. With five miles to go, I noticed a man on the side of the road with a flat and one of the pros had pulled over to help him change it. (6) Here was a professional triathlete, someone who gets paid to race and win that decided it was more important to stop and help others than pursue his own personal goals. I was inspired and thus another example of the human spirit. I cruised into the final mile, standing up on my pedals stretching out my legs and getting ready for the half-marathon run. I checked my computer and saw I had averaged 19.7MPH for the entire distance, the best ride of my career.(7) As I approached the transition area there were families with signs supporting their loved ones and random people yelled inspiring things to me as I passed. As soon as I hopped off my bike I knew there was a problem, my legs felt tight, really tight especially my hamstring. I jogged my bike to the rack, switched to my running shoes, took of my helmet and decided to stretch for a couple seconds and get focused.

I started running and my worry was confirmed, it was going to be the longest 13.1 miles of my life. At this point I was ahead of my goal time and knew if I could maintain 8:05min/mile I would finish in a great time. Seven minutes in I had to stop, my left hamstring seized up and I literally could not run. Walking and stretching, with the temperature rising in to the mid 80’s it was the first time during the entire race that I was questioning why I had signed up.(8) I pressed on to the first aid station where I ate a whole orange and banana, four electrolyte tablets, Gatorade and water and started running again. It worked out to where I could run seven minutes until my hamstring would tighten up and then would walk one or two. This continued for the final 12 miles, seven minutes of running followed by one or two walking. The entire run course was designed to take us through the Miami Zoo, we ran by lions and elephants and families who were just there for the day. Random people cheered for random people they didn’t know. Hundreds of other competitors were on the course at this point all just trying to finish. As people saw me stretching, the veteran racers knew exactly what I was going through and offered me advice and salt tablets. The volunteer workers poured ice down the back of my shorts so I could ice my hamstring while I ran. All of this was done in an effort to get one man across the finish line and accomplish something he had never done. As I started the second lap of the run, I passed Mark’s parents who were sitting on the side and they cheered and waved me on. When I passed them I couldn’t help but think about my parents and how proud they would be when I told them I finished.(9) Even with all the pain in my legs, the hunger in my stomach and thought of not hitting my time goal, I knew I was going to finish and I couldn’t help feeling good. Fifty minutes later I was within one mile of the finish; I could hear the crowd in the distance cheering on finishers, the feel good music seeping into my brain. My pace quickened, the pain fell away, I was running at a seven minute mile pace after 69.5 miles of racing, and I felt invincible. Turning the corner I could see the finish line. With 200 yards to go I noticed a guy in front of me with the number 25 on his calf, that meant he was in my age group, I opened up into a full sprint for the last 50 yards passing him seconds before the finish line.(10) I was done. A medal draped over my head, recovery drink in my hand and gasping for precious oxygen. I walked around looking for a familiar face but saw none. I collapsed onto the ground and just laid there. It was over, four months of training and five hours and forty minutes later I had completed a half-ironman. After collecting my gear and limping to my car alone, I sat there and broke into tears. Maybe it was the fact of being alone, the physical pain, the mental anguish and struggle of the last six hours or a combination of all three. But in that moment I realized my emotion was a product of the wonderful idea that it wasn’t about whom I was now that I had finished but what I had become and experienced along the way.

I saw many things during the race, wonderful examples of athletics, endurance and strength but most inspiring, were the examples of compassion, thoughtfulness, volunteering and perseverance. Some of the sentences are highlighted in bold and those represent lessons that I learned or observed along the way. I encourage you to see how they relate to everyday life; some are more surprising than others. Go to the bold and read the sentence, the number after it is defined below. I thank everyone for their support and kind words throughout this process. Special thanks to Mark Courchane as a great training partner. It has now been a month since the race and I am back at it again, training for the Rome marathon in March and more triathlons in 2012. The lessons I learned on November 13 2011 will stick with me forever, I completed half the distance of a full IRONMAN and I keep training, racing, living, learning, loving and growing because I’ve realized I’m only half the man I want to be…

Lessons:

1)      Different Strokes for Different Folks – everyone has a strategy that works best for them. My strategy was to run my own race and not worry about others or their times; staying in a good mental state would enable me to perform my best and not waste energy too early. Mark on the other hand, played an all or nothing game plan, trying to squeeze an amazing performance out of pressure and adrenaline and it worked for him, he finished 4th out of 50. Find what works for you and implement your strategy in all aspects of life.

2)      The Ex-girlfriend – Allison was a college swimmer and a great athlete who taught me how to swim the right way. You never know why people are in your life or how long they will be. The thought that she got me started in the sport reminded me to value who you have in your life and always know you learn something from anybody.

3)      The Ironman – That guy who was swimming on his back, then one who I thought was slow, yea him, well he had no arms. I realized this once I looked at the pictures, it was the only way he could finish the swim. Never underestimate someone’s spirit and courage. Life happens, keep living and be thankful you have all your limbs.

4)      Family – Even though I knew I would finish the race before going in, I still wanted family there. It is indescribable how powerful a familiar voice is in a time of great hardship and stress. Thank you Uncle Chris.

5)      Adversity – A middle aged woman doing something less than 99.5% of people her age will never attempt or finish would not let a little pain and blood stop her from her goal. What is your plan for adversity? Do we sit and worry about how bad it is or do we get right back on track and finish? Adversity is as tough as we make it. What a story she has to tell now.

6)      Helping Hand – Sometimes people need help, if you can, be the helper. Aside from the satisfaction you will get through your good will, the World needs examples to pay it forward. I guarantee the next time that man sees a person needing a tire change he will remember the pro who took time to help him in the middle of the race.

7)      Don’t underestimate yourself – You never know what you’re capable of. Believe in yourself, many times the mind will raise your body’s ability to perform in certain situations. Expect to have great results. Don’t limit yourself to small, realistic thinking. How realistic was the idea of a PC before it was invented and now it is how I am communicating this story.

8)      Doubt – Doubt is normal, especially in the face of adversity or hardship. To question is natural, it is logic at its purest. Remember that when emotion is high, logic is low. Do not be impulsive, think things through and execute whatever the best course of action is.

9)      Powerful thought – There wasn’t anything I wanted more than to see my Mom and Dad at the finish line. Since a little kid I have wanted to make them proud, probably because how thankful I am for how they’ve raised me. They both live far away so it couldn’t happen but I used that thought throughout the race to drive me. Constantly asking myself, “If they were here right now, would I want them to see me walking?” and that would pick me up. Channel positive and powerful thoughts to drive action.

10)  Competition/Finishing – I believe there is a competitor in all of us, find your game, profession, sport or passion and watch how you flourish. When you compete, your game is automatically elevated, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but either way a better performance is elicited and that’s the goal. Finishing is an amazing feeling, during your hardship ask yourself “How good am I going to feel once I have accomplished this..?” and let that feeling take over. Once you’ve felt it, store it in the bank for future motivation and usage.

“Be the change you wish to see in the World.”

–      Gandhi

 

By Christopher Sankey

Follow me on Twitter @DMSank

12/13/2011