Last week I helped for the third straight year at an investment conference called ‘Capital Camp” in Columbia, Missouri. My friend Clayton works year-round to plan the event, and I come to assist with event logistics as well as getting the opportunity to lead attendees on morning and afternoon group runs throughout the three days of the event. It’s perhaps a bit of a misnomer to call it a “conference,” because as one of the co-founders of the event likes to say, it’s really a “food and wine festival” for investors. Great food, great speakers, great activities, and great conversation.
Every year I come away from the event thinking a lot about the amazing people I meet and the memorable conversations I have while I’m there. This year, one of these conversations took place at our hotel on the first night of the event. A group of us were chatting in the lobby when one of the attendees asked me “What do you do?” I told him I was a professional ultrarunner, running coach, race director and motivational speaker, which led to a funny barrage of questions culminating with him saying “This is the most interesting conversation I’m going to have all week!” This happens to me every year, because while I’m not an attendee of the event, I mingle with everyone and the assumption is that I’m a part of the investment world. So, when it turns out I’m a unicorn and not a part of their world, it leads to some fun discussions.
Inevitably when I’m having these conversations, there comes a point when someone says, “How did you even get into something like this?” It’s a reasonable question and one that is logical to ask, but as I reflected on the question, it dawned on me that any disciple in life is this way! Say you’re a real-estate agent, and you’ve been helping clients find homes for twenty years. At one point in your life, you probably had no idea how that process worked or maybe even zero interest in becoming a real-estate agent! Yet, here you are, twenty years down the line, a professional in the industry with worlds of experience. The same is true for me as it relates to ultrarunning. When I was in college, I played baseball and didn’t particularly enjoy running. If you had asked me back then if I wanted to be an ultrarunner, the answer would have been a hard “no!” Yet, here I am years later, having built my life around this sport and more passionate about it than I ever could have imagined. It started with an interest in pushing past my perceived limits, and then years of hard work compounded and led me to where I am today. The combination of passion and motivation over time is powerful. The results aren’t immediate, but they are undeniable.
Life is funny like that. Passions and professions come into our lives at different times. Sometimes the timing isn’t right, and we must come back to it at another point in time. Sometimes the timing will never be right, and that thing is just not for you. But that’s the fun of it! We’re all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for, and something that seems impossible now might become a normal part of our life later. It all starts with the desire to do something and the fire to keep you going down that path. If you stay the course and work hard, years from now people will be asking you “how do you do what you do?”