untitled - running

I run because I can. Because when I do, there’s always the chance to be extraordinary. A chance to start unknown and to finish unforgettable. A chance to overcome all obstacles, to fight through pain and suffering to test your emotional limits and boundaries, to experiment with the potential of the human body and discover just how far you can push yourself.

Laura Weisberger – 16 year old cross country and track runner in her Running Times article “That’s Why I Run

Photo credit: Gustavo Minas

photo credit: alles-schlumpf

When people ask me what I write about, I usually say something like “I write about overcoming fear and making things happen.” The other day, I got a great follow up question: “So what are you afraid of?”

That sparked some thought for me. For all this talk about conquering fear, I haven’t written enough about my own insecurities, mostly exhorting to others. So in the name of open, honest blogging, here’s my Fear List:

  • horror movies
  • disappointing my parents
  • not living a life of significance
  • encountering a tough moral decision and not doing the right thing
  • flashing lights in my rear view mirror
  • not fully satisfying romantic partners in bed
  • hurting my knee again
  • not meeting someone special
  • getting trapped in an unhappy marriage
  • losing the trust/respect of my little sister
  • losing the trust/respect of my cofounders
  • Ridejoy failing/deadpooling
  • losing my memories (photos/videos/blog/journals)
  • not being understood
  • not taking full advantage of my youth
  • not living up to my full potential

Looking at that list, I realize I am generally doing the things I want to do in life, despite these fears, and that where I can, I am actively working to prevent these fears from coming to pass.

For instance, I am pursuing a really important idea with Ridejoy and I try to work hard (and smart) everyday. I make time to meet new people and I always wear my knee brace when I run. I backup my hard drive and I seek to communicate as clearly and compellingly as possible.

But these fears still exist, and it is worth acknowledging them.

So now it’s your turn. What are you afraid? Share your Fear List in the comments.

Randy Pang Echo Peak

Randy Pang, my cofounder at Ridejoy, on the summit of Echo Peaks in Yosemite.

Having perspective is powerful.

When you ask for advice from a mentor or advisor, you are reaping the benefits of their perspective. They have a different (often higher) vantage point from which to see the situation and offer suggestions. But how do you get that perspective?

I recently ran two trail races that had a lot of uphill climbs. Trudging up those steep hills was no fun. We were sweating and grinding forward on a path that seemed to go up indefinitely.

When we finally reached the top, we were rewarded with incredible views of the surrounding area. You could see out for miles, across enormous swaths of of the Bay Area.

We got to enjoy this beautiful vantage point for most of the race and it was glorious.

It has occurred to me that to get great perspective, to get sound judgement and a better sense of what you ought to do in a given situation, you need to climb mountains.

These mountains can be literal, like the ones in my trail race, or metaphorical ones: dealing with tough challenges, making progress and pushing ahead:

  • Working on a startup
  • Raising a child
  • Launching a new product
  • Shooting a documentary
  • Recovering from an addiction
  • Traveling to foreign lands.

These things are hard, scary and sometimes dangerous. But it’s the struggle (and eventual success) that gives you wisdom.

A parent, a veteran entrepreneur, a seasoned traveler – these people have hard-earned perspective that came from their facing the steep hills of their lives and forging ahead. Sometimes they slipped back a little or had to stop and rest. But they always kept their eyes on the path, rallied and continued onward. Because that’s what it takes.

So remember:

If you want perspective, you’ve got to climb mountains.


trail runningPhoto Credit: lululemon athletica

I ran two races in the last three weeks. The first was the Mercury Mine 12k race in San Jose (when everyone else in the Bay Area was at Bay to Breakers) and then last Sunday I ran the Lake Chabot Half Marathon in San Jose. Both were super hilly trail runs (hence the photo – I don’t have any good shots of the courses) and made for some interesting experiences.

Mercury Mines 12k – May 20

I was originally slatted to run this race (official race site) in April but strong rain showers moved the date to May 20th (sort of an early birthday present to myself). I ran the race with a friend, Jared Tame, who got into running about six months ago and runs a startup called Bloch, which teaches people how to program. The race started out easy going but about a mile in, there was just an absolutely massive hill. You can see it in the elevation profile: We started running it but about 30 seconds in realized that everyone in the pack was walking. A middle-aged woman walked past us and was like “Yeah, just walk it. That’s the smart thing to do, even pros walk big hills on trail races. Save your energy for the downhill.” After walking for what seemed like forever, we finally clear the peak.

We were not even two miles in. Continue reading